£110 for a cheese sandwich…

Nope, not a typo…

A cheese show in Somerset is hoping to set the record for the world’s most expensive cheese sandwich.

The Frome Cheese Show claims to be the oldest in the country. And organisers hope its cheese sandwich, costing £110.59, is the world’s most expensive.

It was created by Bath-based chef Martin Blunos and is made with cheddar blended with white truffles and sprinkled with gold dust.

Via BBC News

It’s not just burgers…

Enjoyed reading this article from the BBC News Magazine on American food.

Forget greasy burgers, a growing enthusiasm for good local food in the US is getting the nation salivating, says Simon Schama.

Interesting read.

Why do we flock to all-you-can-eat restaurants?

BBC News Magazine reports on the all-you-can-eat restaurant chain Taybarns

With a “34-metre long food counter” Taybarns is all about quantity. It offers an array of food. Choose from a chip shop, carvery, pizza, pasta, even what appears to be a new hybrid-cuisine, Texican.

Its menu boasts: “Enjoy as much as you like, as many times as you like. All for one fixed price!”

Egg and Chips with a nice mug of tea

Why do we flock to all-you-can-eat restaurants?

A good question.

Personally I do go to them, but often not through choice, but because others take me there…

Having said that the all you can eat buffet at the Hilton Hotels I have stayed in have been pretty good. But there you pay £27 rather than the £7.99 at Taybarns.

I agree though with the final comment.

“The American model bothers me. We want big portions, rubbish food. What we actually need is higher quality and people eating less.”

Photo source.

The secrets behind our processed food

Fascnating series from the BBC on how they make processed food, demonstrated by Jimmy Doherty doing it at home without the factory.

The organic, home-made food trend may have grown rapidly in the past decade, but in the recession many have returned to cheaper, processed produce. Yet few of us know how such everyday foods are made.

As household budgets have been cut, shoppers have been seeking out bargains in preference to pricey alternatives. For example, sales of organic vegetables slumped 19% in the past year.

But if the British palate has been readjusting to cheaper, often processed foods, few shoppers know much about how such produce is created. Suffolk-based farmer Jimmy Doherty has been working to overcome this consumer blind spot, finding out for a new BBC TV series how science and ingenuity combine to produce good quality food on such a mass scale.

So, what are the processes some of the most common convenience foods go through before they reach our supermarket trolleys? 

Read more.

McSacre Bleu

We may be up in arms about a McDonalds in the Louvre but it would appear that the French are not!

The French press has been kept busy this week – not with the news, but with news about the news.

The news was that McDonald’s is to open a fast-food restaurant in the Louvre. The news about the news was the way this was reported in the foreign – English-speaking – press.

The news itself did not especially interest French editors. It got a few paragraphs on the economy pages of Le Figaro, and a column in Le Parisien.

The news about the news was a different story. Within a matter of hours, this tale of cultural desecration a la francaise had travelled the world.

Read more.

Floyd No More

Keith Floyd who died today was a real inspiration, and in many ways inspired me to cook and cook better.

When in the 1980s cookery programmes were boring and staid, his outdoor, open,  flash style made the programme a joy to watch. As a teenager with no real interest in cooking, I changed my mind as his flambouyant style made for really entertaining television.

I remember I was inspired to try Thai food after watching Floyd.

Even now many years later I still enjoy watching Floyd cook and often catch his programmes on Freeview.

Cooking has lost a hero.

Leaving tips

Though regardless of whether I pay by card or cash, and I have had good service, then I will leave whoever served me a cash tip.

However stories like this in the Observer really annoy me.

Fresh evidence that one of the country’s biggest restaurant chains is using scare tactics to deter waiters from asking for tips in cash has been uncovered by the Observer

Employees of Tragus – which owns Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Strada – have come under pressure to ensure service charges are paid by card, and at least one waitress has told the Observer that they are being threatened with dismissal if they do not generate enough card tips. Some have been told that undercover staff posing as diners will check that gratuities are not being pocketed. Cash tips go directly to staff, but those paid by card go to the company.

Waiting staff are underpaid, overworked and easily replaced. However they are the key to a good restaurant.

No one ever goes to a restaurant to just eat food, you go for the whole dining experience, and that experience includes good customer service.

It doesn’t matter if the food is excellent, if the service is awful, you won’t go again and importantly you will tell others how awful it was too.