Wednesday, October 25, 2006

U-turn as Blanc backs own reality restaurant TV show

The Guardian

By Matthew Taylor

When the French chef Raymond Blanc unleashed a scathing attack on those star-struck colleagues prepared to swap the kitchen for the television studio it seemed clear where his priorities lay.
The 55-year-old did not name names but said chefs who appeared on television shows degraded the profession and provided "sensational rubbish" for "morons" adding: "We have 8 million morons watching these programmes. The brains of the British have gone soft."
But yesterday as he launched his new reality television show, The Restaurant, it appeared all such concerns had disappeared. "To set up a business, especially a restaurant business, and make a success of it is one of the hardest things in the world," he said. "I look forward to sharing my experience and expertise with like-minded people who are eager to enter this crazy but irresistible world and achieve the dream for themselves."


Monday, October 23, 2006

Leader: In praise of ... Serge Hochar

The Guardian, Leader article

Barring an infestation of phylloxera, the worst calamity that winemakers in most places have to worry about is unsuitable weather. Naturally, these perils also matter to Serge Hochar, winemaker of the justly celebrated Chateau Musar. But Mr Hochar routinely has to contend with an additional hazard that happily afflicts few of his peers. For Chateau Musar's vineyards lie in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, between Beirut and Damascus, which means they have repeatedly found themselves in or near some of the world's most violent conflicts. Battles raged around the vineyard throughout the 1983 grape harvesting season, while in 1989 Mr Hochar's home and the Chateau Musar winery suffered direct hits from shelling, and his wine cellars served regularly as bomb shelters for local people. Yet through it all Mr Hochar has continued to produce often spectacular amounts of one of the world's more improbable fine wines. Remarkably, he missed only two vintages during Lebanon's 15-year civil war. This year he has triumphed over adversity again. In spite of the Israeli invasion in the summer, which struck just as early picking had begun at Chateau Musar, and which necessitated a nerve-jangling five-hour lorry trip to carry the grapes from the vineyards to the winery, the harvest has once again been safely gathered. Winemaking has taken place for 5,000 years in Lebanon and not even the Middle East conflict can stop the remarkable Mr Hochar from keeping that tradition alive.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Times, body & soul, p.15

By Fiona Sims

The two chefs behind the success of Nobu are launching a cookery book with healthy recipes from the restaurant’s repertoire.
East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet? Rubbish! Kipling didn’t know what he was talking about. But, to be fair, he died 60 years before the opening of Nobu, the super-glamorous (and sometimes infamous) Japanese restaurant in Park Lane, West London, and so he never tasted the creations of the owner Nobuyuki Matsuhisa (known as Nobu) and his head chef and right-hand man Mark Edwards.


EU cheese ban is 'attack' on British dairy industry

The Times, p. 11

By David Charter, Valerie Elliott and Russell Jenkins

BRITAIN’S £5.6 billion dairy industry was facing serious food safety questions yesterday after European officials discovered cheese polluted with antibiotics, dyes and detergents and announced a series of emergency inspections.
The Government was forced to defend its health and safety tests for milk and insisted that dairy products were safe for consumption, but the European Commission gave warning that Britain must change its approach to guarantee hygiene standards.
A row that began as a dispute over sharp practice at a Lancashire cheesemakers escalated during the day to threaten the reputation of the entire dairy industry and raised the spectre of another food scare after the disastrous foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 and the beef ban over “mad cow” disease.