There was a time when celeb Chefs were on pretty well every UK television programme to a point where one feared they would end up reading the News and..even, in an extreme case, training as pilots or cabin crew with EasyJet to get even more publicity by appearing in that truly bizarre programme – on Sky – ‘Airline’.
Thankfully… the British obsession with watching cookery programmes and then going out to eat or nipping down to Iceland, M&S, Sainsbury, Tesco to buy pre-prepared Boeuf Buggeroff et al, might just be coming to an end. I really do not want to see another Chef swanning about front of house in a restaurant, on TV, in a chemistry laboratory, or even driving a minicab. It is time for ‘Cook’ to get back in the kitchen and stop prattling on about ‘cooking things off’… and looking smug on Ready, Steady Cook and actually do some cooking for their customers who… perhaps naively, expect to eat food cooked by the celeb chef who founded the restaurant.
I put to you this postulate: If a ‘person in need of legal advice’ briefed a famous Silk and then found that ‘famous Silk’ had told his ‘sous-barrister’ to handle it… would that be fair? One cannot imagine such a situation ever arising in our ‘beautiful Game’ – yet Chefs get away with it all the time.
I went to High Road Brasserie in Chiswick this morning. I was wearing motorbike leathers – simply because I was riding a motorbike and my usual breakfast establishments were closed. The fact that my usual establishments were closed was not the reason I decided to put my leathers on. I simply felt that I should look the part…in case I bumped into King Herod, ruining Christmas for the children of West London, or handing out tax returns, or Good King Wenceslas – and…anything is possible in Chiswick since ‘High Road House’ opened on the high street.
I looked at the breakfast menu at High Road Brasserie (Chef Impey pictured above with tomatoes on the ‘vine’ – even Sainsburys sell them like that now.) Good value, I am sure… but…when I saw the people sitting in there, at 9.15 this morning, and the ‘faux Parisien’ staff in their black and white outfits, with aprons, I thought… ‘Sod it’… I might not see another White Christmas (Apparently most Brits only see eight of these in a lifetime) and I really do not need to have breakfast in a trendy Chiswick brasserie simply because I was hungry. The truth is… I was worried about committing a solecism by actually wanting to eat something… and… I had the feeling that entering this hallowed establishment with those thoughts in mind, this morning, was not appropriate. [The Heinz tomato sauce and HP sauce bottles on each table - looked like a 'homage' to Damien Hurst but may have had a utility beyond the ken of some diners, unused to smearing sauce over their Oeufs Benedict]
Of course, I accept that many people who go to this establishment do actually eat… but… having been interested in Law for nearly 30 years… I always like to think about the mens rea and actus reus. I felt that I did not have either this morning.
I went, in the end, to Cafe Rouge and poured so much pepper on my scrambled eggs that I made the dish inedible. ‘C’est la vie’… but, having been to a detention centre in Perthshire (13 – 18 years old) which provided excellent teaching, the odd Scotland Rugby Captain, and other luminaries – and truly appalling food (things may well have changed) – I coped.
I wish you a Merry Christmas… I have noticed. by the time stamp facility on this software, … that it is now Christmas Day. I will return during the day… to other matters.
Astonishing thought this may seem, to some viewers, I am sitting in my Staterooms with an avuncular old gentleman from Lapland wearing red robes, which reminded me of the higher judiciary, who landed on my roof half an hour ago to drop off a couple of bottles of Rioja. Unfortunately my chimney has been bricked over… which was causing him some difficulty, so I let him in through the door to my roof garden. Nice Chap. Told me that he was looking forward to watching the 4th Test tomorrow night when his work was done. He’s just about to leave.