For People with an APPETITE for LIFE!

Welcome to THE MAIN INGREDIENT a place where Food News, Food Politics, Food Culture, Food Fashion & Food Humour meet. Each week you can preview topical foodie matter from my 'Gourmet Lifestyle' radio show called (wait for it) THE MAIN INGREDIENT. Food for the belly & the brain, I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me. Regards Kel

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Books for Evil Cooks!

Having recently spent a couple of days on planes and in and out of terminals trying to get home to Australia, I decided it would be as good a time as any to catch up on my reading and googled the latest foodie publications. Here’s an intriguing book that I couldn’t get my hands on for the trip but absolutely tickled my fancy ‘The Axis of Evil Cookbook’. When they're not actively attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction, 'Axis of Evil' countries such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea are busy enjoying their region's finest dishes. And their 'Axis of Somewhat Evil' cohorts, such as Cuba and Syria, are at it too. With over one hundred recipes, from soups and salads to meat dishes and desserts, this unique cookbook includes snapshots of each country as well as profiles of famous leaders. Regional recipes appear alongside dictators' favourite dishes - from Kim Jong-Il's ruthless appetite for shark fin soup to Saddam's celebrated rack of fresh roasted gazelle. Full of cultural anecdotes, political insight and delectable recipes, 'The Axis of Evil Cookbook' is an intriguing and forbidden treat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Designer Rice!

The Washington Post recently featured an article on the Japanese and their changing relationship with rice. It seems that if you are Japanese the days of eating rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner are fast becoming a distant memory, especially for the younger generation. Their national rice bowl is increasingly seen to be less full with trendy Western delicacies becoming the norm such as croissants, spaghetti, baguettes and French fries. The devastating effect on the Japanese rice industry of late has farmers and retailers racking their brains for new ways to entice people back to their beloved rice before it’s too late.

Keep an eye open for a new range of ‘Designer Rices’ that will no doubt eventually work their way into our already bursting gourmet product isles. In reality these designer rices are unmilled grains that when added in small amounts to a rice cooker turn traditional white rice pink or purple. An exciting concept for some people I guess, although I have to admit for me there is nothing nicer than a fluffy bowl of pristine white steamed rice, but I guess desperate measures are needed as per capita rice consumption in Japan has fallen to half of what it was in the late 1960’s. There are also new offerings for the health conscious in the form of sprouted rice, high-fiber mixtures such as oat rice and brown rice that have been steeped in water until sprouts emerge. Japanese bakers are also being invited to help boost rice consumption by baking tasty creations that are made from rice flour.

Of course the current trend for western style food has done more than just affect the rice industry in Japan. In 1988, 18.9 percent of Japanese children were considered obese, according to a survey. By 2005, the percentage had risen to 24.3. Unfortunately for the Japanese as rice becomes a thing of the past….. The Japanese waistlines go West!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

House Bottled Water at $2.50!

Here’s something a tad worrying…. With recent studies on the harmful toxins in plastic bottles casting a shadow over the bottled designer water industry and even glass bottled water being hit by ecologists for the long term damage the bottles inflict upon the planet, an industrious restaurateur over in Los Angeles came up with the idea of selling all-you-can-drink ‘house-bottled’ water at $2.50 a pop. Now my initial reaction to this idea was one of furious indignation! How very dare they? Make us pay for tap water in a fancy bottle?

However……. I’m afraid I jumped the gun as further research on my part has shown that the owners of ‘Grace and BLD’ in Los Angeles have invested in a specialised water-filtration system to do away with expensive, wasteful bottled water and the charge for the new ‘house bottled water’ has been implemented to compensate for the costly purchase and maintenance of the new water filtration system.

Having thought a little more about this i’ve realised that serving bottled water is indeed a wasteful practise as the plastic or glass containers are manufactured, transported and then often end up trashed and dumped in land fills rather than being recycled. Not to mention the old cancer causing chemicals that are reported to leak into the water from the bottles that are plastic.

So! Perhaps this bottled house water idea isn’t such a bad one? Setting up such a filtration system can be expensive, but it does offer customers an affordable and fresh tasting alternative to bottled water. Meanwhile the owners of ‘Grace and BLD’ restaurant in Los Angeles have had such a negative response to their idea of charging patrons for their house bottled water that they now offer it for free.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Are you a NORKER?

You know once upon a time it was a sign of social status to be able to successfully negotiate your way thru a huge line up of cutlery at a dinner party wasn’t it? You know the old salad fork, soup spoon, fish knife, dessert spoon & butter knife. But sadly it seems those days are almost gone. The KNORK is apparently what we humans are increasingly using in place of the traditional knife and fork to shovel food into our gobs. A fork with a serrated edge that can conveniently double as a knife. A TV Dinner was always something I associated with those ready made meals of the 60's (remember the old 'Vesta' curries?) but apparently we are now more than ever a tv dinner generation and we have absolutely no use for most of the items in our cutlery drawer, preferring to eat with our hands or shovel it in with the all purpose Nork. Plus! The 'NORK' has the added benefit of allowing us to be able to eat with one hand and keep the other on the all important remote control.

Now if you, like me, are at all concerned at our rapidly diminishing cutlery skills then you will be further dismayed to hear that one in ten young adults find even the 'NORK' an encumbrance, saying they regularly eat their evening meal using only their hands. A survey of 7,684 people by supermarket chain Sainsbury's has suggested that the busy lifestyles of working families have led to a wider reliance on 'finger food' with more than one in seven adults eating breakfast with their hands, and almost half of them tucking into a sandwich or wrap for lunch. To make matters worse around 5 per cent continue the habit when they get home, snacking solely on bitesize foods such as mezze and tapas. Now I LOVE fingerfood but I am a little concerned to discover that our current passion for little nibbly bits is challeging the traditional table setting of knife, fork and spoon. Apparently only just three per cent of those surveyed admit to using a full set of cutlery for breakfast. Ian Jarmarkier, the head of Sainsbury's Food and Innovation Centre, says this is a fascinating insight into how we eat now. 'It shows that the way that we eat food is evolving to match our changing, busy lifestyles. Although convenience eating these days by no means implies a trade-down in nutritional quality.' Yes but ahhhhhhh...... I did so love a good fork on the table!

ORTHOREXIA: An Obsession with Healthy Eating

In the wake of all of this publicity about what we should and shouldn't eat, here’s an eating disorder that might not look so bad at first glance. People who fuel their bodies with only organic foods and meticulously count calories, and are obsessed with exercise are now being called ORTHOREXICS. Some doctors are saying Orthorexia CAN become dangerous “when food becomes a source not just of nutrition, but of virtue or self-worth, when eating ‘bad’ food implies that one is a bad person, and when the diet becomes a source of either self-esteem or, conversely, guilt and self-loathing So if you are doing all of that you are officially Orthorexic!

Symptoms of the disorder:

You spend more than three hours a day thinking about healthy food.

You plan your day’s menu more than 24 hours ahead of time.

You take more pleasure from the “virtuous” aspect of your food than from actually eating it. You Are increasingly rigid and self-critical about your eating.

You base your self-esteem on eating “healthy” foods, and have a lower opinion of people who do not.

You eat healthily to the avoidance of all those foods that you’ve always enjoyed.

You so limit what you can eat that you can dine “correctly” only at home, spending less and less time with friends and family.

You derive a sense of self-control from eating “properly.”

Finally a name for those irritatingly disciplined people who meet you for a drink and will only order a mineral water and refuse to eat anything from the cheese board! Not something I need ever worry about then.

Research, Research, Research

Earlier this week the British public were rudely awakened to horrifying news from the World Cancer Research Fund saying that they now have enough evidence to strongly recommend that all processed meats whether they have been smoked, cured, salted or preserved with chemicals be banished from our diets FOREVER! No more bacon butties, no more ham ‘n’ eggs, sausage and mash a thing of the past? Their report has taken 5 years to compile and says processed meats are a convincing cause of colorectal cancer. What’s worse there is no level of intake that can "confidently" be shown not to raise the cancer risk. Processed meats are also thought to bring about an increased risk of cancers of the oesophagus, lung, stomach and prostate. The World Cancer Research Fund says in its headline summary: "Evidence shows that salt and salt-preserved foods probably cause stomach cancer." Meanwhile of course the meat industry tells us it’s all a load of bull (Ha!) and being blown way out of proportion. Just days later the results of a study at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough inform us that although we have been told for years, decades in fact, that salt can cause strokes and heart attacks, they have found “no conclusive proof that eating less salt will be of any benefit to us". Now I don’t know about you but I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by all of this bloody research. In the past few months we’ve discovered that eating grapefruit can increase the risk of developing breast cancer, having more than a glass of wine a day can contribute to oral cancer, even orange juice has taken a bashing. Then there’s processed baby food, bbq’d meat, bottled water, celery, they’ve all been hit by the food police of late and the list is becoming endless. I’ts getting to the stage where it’s becoming impossible to fill the shopping trolley! Meanwhile yet another study tells us that our life expectancy continues to increase by several years a decade, DESPITE our decadent eating habits. Surely we all realise by now that the key to a healthy life is good nutrition & regular exercise? Don’t tell me the occasional bacon, lettuce and tomato sarni is going to be the end of the world as we know it? Could this all be a part of the British Governments supposed plan to turn their country completely vegetarian?

Meanwhile, as the British frazzled their brains over the prospect of their beloved bacon and sausages being banned from their breakfast tables yet MORE exciting news from a different set of scientists, the perfect excuse for heading to the pub after work and something that will probably cause a national holiday in Australia. The LATEST research has shown that a glass of BEER is far better at rehydrating the body after exercise than water. Researchers suspect that the sugars, salts and bubbles in a pint may help people absorb fluids more quickly. This amazing bit of news was discovered at Granada University here in Spain. So there WILL be life after bacon after all?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nigella's a Porker?

The Daily Mail rather unkindly points out this week that TV chef Nigella Lawson seems to be getting bigger every day, and they're not talking about her celebrity status. I for one have always rather admired Nigellas refusal to cover up her comfy curves. Besides she's always the first one to admit that she loves to eat! Apparently hundreds of comments have been posted by viewers of Nigellas latest TV extravaganza 'Nigella Express' on internet forums and the BBC's official Points of View website claiming her fondness for decadent and indulgent creations is starting to show on the old hips. One viewer even goes so far as to call her "A Porker". Another viewer asks the question: "What sort of an example is she with her weight and appetite for high calorie sweets and cream?" Now you see i hardly think the point of Nigella's latest cooking show is to prove that eating high calorie foods and indulging yourself with sweet treats is a way of maintaining our figures. So what if she allows herself to pile on a few pounds? Thats her decision isn't it? At no time in any of the episodes so far have i noticed Ms Lawson encouraging us to dig in as a sure fire way to lose weight. So she's looking a little more voluptous these days. We're all adults, we know the consequences of our choices. At least we still have some!

Finger Food Fun?

Sorry but i do think certain people are starting to take this whole 'Finger Food Fun' thing a little too far. Just have a look at this ridiculous invention that supposedly allows us to forget the old "Don't Eat With Your Fingers" mantra. A set of plastic cutlery that encourages us to take eating with our fingers to a whole new level! A knife, fork and spoon that fit comfortably on the end of any of your fingers (you get to choose) and reportedly make eating with your fingers more fun. Aren't they forgetting that one of the 'fun' things about eating finger food is being able to lick your fingers?

And sorry to do this but to make the situation even worse i've found these little beauties as well! Apparently designed for that terrifying situation where you are presented a buffet option and dont feel it would be polite to use your fingers. Give me a break!

Huge Hotpot Created with Tiny Spoons!

Here we go with yet another WORLDS BIGGEST attempt. This time it's a 'Lancashire Hotpot' big enough to feed 800 people that has been cooked up as part of an attempt to make the largest dish of its kind in the world. Soldiers from Weeton Barracks and chefs from Lancaster and Morecambe College used 75lb (34kg) of local Bowland lamb in the regional speciality, alongside 75lb of onions and just over 190lb of potatoes. The huge hot pot was unveiled by celebrity chef Loyd Grossman at the opening of this years Taste Lancashire festival. Note the tiny utensils the record chasing chefs are using to create their rather unappetising hotpot. Surelythis recipe calls for something a tad bigger?

So much for the Cod

Despite our best attempts as concerned consumers when visiting the fish market the reformed EU common fisheries policy (CFP) is failing to prevent overfishing five years after it was implemented. A frankly disheartening midterm report from the environmental charity WWF suggests thata look at the progress of the reformed policy halfway through its mandate, finds that it is failing in its primary purpose "to achieve the sustainable management of European fish stocks". WWF argues that the necessary reductions in quotas for cod have not gone ahead and they want the sustainable management of fish to be managed within a wider marine portfolio. They’ve been campaigning for a UK Marine Act that would protect marine wildlife and the marine ecosystem. Less that 1% of our seabed is currently afforded high levels of protection.

Desiring? Or Indifferent?

Im one of those girls for whom chocolate just doesn't do it at all. Other women look at me in disbelief whenever i cautiously divulge this bizzarre information. They just dont understand how a person can be unmoved by the prospect of Chocolate Cake, Cookies, Fudge, Mousse, Sauce....You know what i mean. Now finally it seems i can justify my aversion to chocolate as a new study suggests that it all has to do with your particular balance of stomach bacteria. Scientists at the Nestlé Research Center have discovered that chocoholics have different strains of digestive microbes than those who claim they aren't in the least seduced by chocolate. In the current study, 22 healthy men were identified as either “chocolate desiring” or “chocolate indifferent” based on a chocolate preference questionnaire. In a double-blind cross-over study design, subjects followed a one week standard diet including chocolate and a placebo. Samples of blood and urine were collected for metabolic analysis. Specific post-prandial lipoprotein profiles and gut microflora biomarkers in subjects revealed a metabolic signature for the “chocolate desiring” group. …Get all of that? And why MEN?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mushroom Lovers Rejoice

Those of you living here in Spain that just happen to be Mushroom lovers take note: Several HUGE mushi's, the biggest of which weighed in at nearly two stone (that’s 12kg) have been found in an oak forest near the town of Orihuela del Tremendal in Teruel province. The gigantic mushrooms are the result of excellent climatological conditions and the over abundant rainfall we've had during the month of September. Time to get picking. They'd make one hell of a mushroom omelette!


I’m sure many of you have been watching Raymond Blancs THE RESTAURANT on BBC 2, and of course its now time for Chef Blanc to put his money where his mouth was and back the series winners Jeremy and Jane Hooper and their concept EIGHT IN THE COUNTRY into a fully fledged restaurant. Located in Oxfordshire the eatery will open next month with a little help from series judge Lee Cash and of course overseen by Raymond himself. Blanc has commented that the winning couple were fixated with becoming restaurateurs, he also felt that they were the most passionate about their vision and what it meant to them to win ‘The Restaurant’. Jeremy and Jane were in competition with eight other couples to be crowned the winners of the TV reality show. It will be interesting to see how they cope with taking a reality TV restaurant into the real world.

Family meals have more than a PINCH of salt!

Research results out yesterday that are quite SHOCKING. Especially for any parents out there. A pressure group in the UK run by independent health specialists has investigated some of the bigger fast food chains and their family meal, in particular the kiddie meals, and the results are enough to make you really THINK about ordering that fast food fix this weekend. Some menu choices have been found to contain FOUR TIMES the maximum level of salt recommended for youngsters. And dare I say it... Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken have emerged as the worst culprits. Eating a family pizza for 4 meal deal could result in EACH member of the family eating an alarming 12.3 grams of salt. That’s more than twice the recommended maximum of 6g for an adult and almost two and a half times the 5g limit for a child aged seven to ten. If your kids are under 6 its more than FOUR times their recommended 3g per day. KFC comes in at a little less, with a Deluxe Boneless Box shared between four containing up to 5.2g of salt per person. Scarey stuff indeed!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Greek the new Italian?

At the beginning of the year I was asked to put forward my food trends for 2007 and one of the tastes on the top of my list was ‘Greek Cuisine’. Of course Spanish cuisine has been enjoying huge popularity overseas for years now thanks to the work of our fabulous Spanish new wave chefs many of them inspired by El Bulli and Spanish gastronomic guru Ferran Adria. But despite the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ inspiring a resurgence of plate smashing, Greek cuisine and restaurants have remained within the minority unless you happen to live in Greece. Until this year that is! New York magazine has declared Greek food this years top trend and an interest in Greek everything has exploded. Restaurants, Recipes, Cookbooks, you name it, if its Greek it’s HOT! Tourism to Greece as a foodie destination is quickly growing and there are now a multitude of Greek cooking schools that cater for the ‘gastro tourist’ who now requires not only snapshots but also recipes to return home with.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fly Me To The Moon

If your idea of a fabulous long weekend is checking into a hotel to admire the view and enjoy some room service then a must for your list of possible establishments must be the ‘Galactic Suite Space Hotel’ although you’ll have to wait until 2012 to check in. Xavier Claramunt a Barcelona based architect is promising a 3 night stay in his space hotel, 300 miles in orbit for a mere 3 million Euro. Claramunt says he believes that there are at least 40,000 of us here on earth that can actually afford his luxury getaway. Perhaps not the most relaxing long weekend experience though as guests will use Velcro suits to crawl around their pod style hotel rooms by sticking themselves to the walls a la Spiderman. Showering will also be a challenge to say the least as guests will have to enter a spa room filled with floating bubbles of water. No news yet as to the galactic goodies on the roomservice menu, but Oh My God…. Just think of the view. Guests will be able to watch the sun rise 15 times per day! Although I cant help worrying about the zero gravity toilets… To make your reservation send an email to

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Plastic is not so Fantastic

Ahhhh..... Research, Research Research. So much of it being done and so much of it being available to us these days its getting hard to know which study results to take seriously. Once upon a time the future looked bright in the world of ‘plastics’ but as more and more designer drinks and miracle waters hit the beverage market in their prettily branded plastic bottles you may want to think about the recent results of yet another study that were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. A research team at Duke University have found that exposure to bisphenol A, a chemical widely used in the manufacture of plastic bottles and food containers, can alter genes in fetal mice. A couple of scarey things happened to the poor mice. Apart from the exposed rodents becoming prone to obesity, diabetes, and cancer as adult mice, their fur also turned bright yellow! The study did not examine the effects of the chemical in humans who consume food and beverages stored in plastic so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Master Porridge Maker of the World

If you love your porridge and want to taste the best porridge in the world you’ll now have to make the journey to Scotland. Maria Soep from Kilchrenan, Argyll has walked away with the coveted Golden Spurtle, or stirrer, at a competition where a dozen cooks from across the UK had gathered for a tense porridge cook-off where the appearance, consistency and taste of their oats were evaluated. The reigning porridge champ, now officially titled 'Master Porridge Maker of the World' claims that pinhead oats bought from Oban on Scotland's west coast are the secret behind her success. Aside from that she says don’t forget to soak them overnight, added a bit of salt and some good water.

Spanish Health The Best In Europe

News from this week. The health of the Spanish people is among the best of Europeans according to a new study of the Academy of Healthy Ageing. The Mediterranean diet and the Spanish quality of life mean that the average life expectancy in Spain is now 70 years for men and 75.3 for women. The numbers are beaten only by the Italians at 71 and 76 years. The report says that that in the Mediterranean Countries not only do people live longer, they enjoy a better quality of life than others in the E.U. So for those of us enjoying the expat lifestyle, fingers crossed that a little of this will rub of on us! However there IS a bad side to the numbers. The low birth rate here, coupled with the long life expectancy, will make Spain one of the countries with the OLDEST population in the world.

Chef Shortage?

Whilst British cuisine continues to gather a growing reputation for world-class cuisine, it is facing a shortage of skilled chefs, according to reports from the BBC. Chefs of ethnic origin are the most in demand, and some experts are now calling for fast-track immigration of foreign-trained, expert chefs to help deal with the problem. However restaurant industry experts argue that it’s the pay and working conditions that need to be improved to attract more skilled chefs towards the industry in general and with the multitude of celebrity chefs now hitting our TV screens the hospitality industry could also be suffering due to the unrealistic portrait that chefs paint of their profession. Peter Harden co-editor of Harden's restaurant guides says "It does seem so sexy on TV, but it's a lie isn't it? You are spending your entire life in a hot, stainless steel box. All the glamour is on the other side of the kitchen door."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sausage Roll 101

News today that Britain is experiencing a nationwide craving for sausage rolls. Due to the recent onslaught of rain, a yearning for comfort food and a £3 million national advertising campaign for sausage rolls featuring Paddy McGuinness of Phoenix Nights fame, sausage roll sales have surged. Ahhhhhh..... The sausage roll. As an Aussie, for me a sausage roll brings back memories of mum pulling huge trays of the things out of the oven (homemade of course) to serve at almost every special occasion. ACDC even wrote a song about them. “It’s a long way to the shop when you wanna sausage roll” No wait!....... It was actually “It’s along way to the top if you wanna rock and roll” but most of us sang the sausage roll version as kids. I suppose it was the Brits that took the sausage roll down under in the first place, but how did the original concept of the sausage roll come about I wonder? A quick google brings up a very amusing theory on Uncyclopedia. Something about an English lord back in 1647 who was understandably starving after battling the forces of evil back then, and rode into the nearest farm demanding to be fed pork pies. Unfortunately the farmers wife was a terrible cook and hadn’t mastered the art of the pork pie. She had however mastered the art of rolling pastry crudely around minced pig meat, but I won’t tell you what else they say she added to the dubious mix. If anyone out there has any more credible info on the history of the good old sausage roll, feel free to comment. Meanwhile I’ll leave you with a fabulous sausage quote from Otto von Bismark a Prussian and German statesman of the 19th century: "To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making." Also given as "People who enjoy sausage and respect the law should not watch either being made" Judging by the list of ingredients in the farmers wifes sausage roll mix I'd say that quote goes just as well with sausage rolls!

Beauty Gordon!

British chef Gordon Ramsay must be feeling mighty confident these days. He has just conquered New York to become the holder of the MOST Michelin stars in the world. The chef's New York eaterie 'Gordon Ramsay at The London' has been awarded two stars, making his overall Michelin stars tally a whopping 12! The honors come after the restaurant was slammed when it first opened back in January this year with food critics gaily throwing around descriptions of Ramseys food as 'overcooked', 'rubbery', 'leathery' and 'a distinct disappointment'. His Gordoness says "It is a great honour to have received two stars from the Michelin Guide in our first year. To achieve such recognition means a huge amount and I am very proud of chef de cuisine Josh Emett, the maitre d' Jean- Baptiste Requein and our very talented team."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How To Cook Your Life

Move over 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' Here comes Zen and the Art of a Good Meal! We have german filmmaker Doris Dorrie to thank for the latest food movie to hit our screens and judging by the trailer its definitely a movie that will give you some food for thought. A documentary film featuring Zen master, cook, baker and cookbook author Edward Espe Brown as he explores the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism as they apply to the preparation of food as well as life itself. Truly a movie for passionate cooks ‘HowTo Cook Your Life’ really brings home that old saying ‘You are what you eat’. Catch the trailer on

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Cheese

How the hell did I miss this? It's Moldy Cheese Day! Only problem is I’m not sure if it’s a national thing in America or an International event, but who cares? I LOVE cheese. The great thing about Moldy Cheese Day is that it gives me an excuse to give you some interesting cheese facts. Did you know that eating cheese just before bedtime can not only aid a good nights sleep but the type of cheese you choose will affect the type of dreams that you have? A few years ago and in-depth cheese and dreams study was carried out by the British Cheese Board and the study results were quite astonishing. Many people still believe that eating cheese before bedtime will give them nightmares when in fact of the 200 volunteers who participated in the week-long study, 72% slept well every night, 67% remembered their dreams and none recorded experiencing nightmares after eating a 20g piece of cheese half an hour before going to sleep. Cheese contains an amino acid called tryptophan which has been shown to reduce stress and induce sleep so perhaps a late night cheesy snack is not such a bad idea after all. Although you might like to choose your bedtime cheese carefully. 85% of females who ate Stilton had some of the most unusual dreams of the whole study. 65% of people eating Cheddar dreamt about celebrities, over 65% of participants eating Red Leicester revisited their schooldays, all female participants who ate British Brie had nice relaxing dreams whereas male participants had cryptic dreams, two thirds of all those who ate Lancashire had a dream about work and over half of Cheshire eaters had a dreamless sleep. The Cheese and Dreams study was the first study of its kind and the study results suggest that eating cheese before going to bed could turn sleep into a whole new adventure!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Chillout in Dubai

Dubai isn't usually a city known for restraint, but having spent over 10 years living and working there in the relentless heat I can understand the attraction of their latest novelty theme bar. They've allready got just about every theme imaginable available throughout their amazing city and now they have 'Chillout' the new 'Ice Lounge' designed to keep the locals cool and taking excess to the absolute extreme. Chillout sets the theme for yet another massive mall project in Dubai. $3 million dollars worth in fact. The bar has been constructed inside a huge freezer and is made entirely of ice shipped in from Canada. Everything... And I do mean EVERYTHING is made from ice. The walls, the decor, and the furniture are all ice and Dubai's coolest characters chill out as they sip cocktails at 21 degrees inside the worlds trendiest freezer. Oh and don't worry about anyone catching a chill. 'Chillout' offers parkers, gloves and insulated shoes for rent!

Gwyneth and Mario hit Spain!

We reported last month on an exciting new food show being shot here in Spain. The show is called 'Spain ... On the road again and the cast hit spain this week to begin shooting the 13 part series. Gwyneth Paltrow and celeb chef Mario Batalli have hit the road along with Spanish actress Claudia Bassols and New York Times food writer Mark Bittman on a journey to discover Spains food, culture, wine and nightlife. The new show is set to air on PBS in the USA with negotiations ongoing for Spanish and Latino networks.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Booze Makes You Deaf!

Hows your hearing these days? When you pop down to your local wine bar, do you ever have a hard time hearing conversation around you? Perhaps find yourself having to ask people to repeat themselves and then blame it on the background noise in the bar? The reason I ask is that a new study suggests that it may not just be because of the noise in the bar. UK researchers have found that ALCOHOL seems to temporarily drain a person's hearing - particularly when it comes to discerning the sounds of conversation. In a study of 30 healthy volunteers, they found that as participants drank, their hearing became less acute and lower frequency hearing, which is necessary for discerning speech, suffered the most. They are calling this new phenomenon ‘Cocktail Deafness’ but don't let that fool ya as Cocktails were not the only things being sipped by the volunteers. Actually it’s not so surprising to hear that alcohol affects the hearing. It affects pretty much everything else as well. In general, the researchers found, the higher a volunteer's alcohol level - as measured by breath test -- the greater the deterioration in hearing. The hearing loss tended to be more significant in relatively older volunteers, as well as those who said they had a history of heavy drinking. The researchers are not too clear on just WHY drinking alcohol may have this effect, but they say that alcohol could either damage the auditory nerves or affect the brain's processing of sound. Ahh well! The eyes, and the back have already gone, I guess the ears are next. Cheers! Or should I say ChEARS?.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Hey this tickled me this morning……… Yet another example of the powers of advertising. If you haven’t seen the ‘QOURN’ add on TV, it’s a commercial for a vegetarian ready meal, where a school girl sitting down to dinner with her family threatens her plate-robbing brother with the words: 'Eat my food, feel my fork!' Of course the brother beats a hasty retreat as she points her fork at him looking as if she’s about to poke his eyeballs out if he touches her food. Well now a woman has performed her own version of the advertisement after coming home to find that her partner had WOLFED down the pork chop dinner she had prepared for herself. How very DARE he! Incensed, the woman took the add a stage further and actually stabbed her 56 yr old boyfriend Anthony in the leg with a kitchen knife. She said she intended only to 'prick' him with a fork as a joke, however she slipped and stabbed him behind the knee. Realising what she had done, 45-year- old Tracey Wenn immediately screamed 'I'm sorry,' and called the police and paramedics. Anthony Donkin pulled the knife out himself and the injury turned out to be not too serious. Tracey and Anthony are still together though, and despite telling police that he didn’t want Tracey to get into any trouble, the powers that be decided to press charges and she was given a nine month suspended sentence. Apparently on that fatefull night the couple were due to meet for a drink at a pub in Hull, but Tracey failed to turn up and Mr Donkin went home to their flat in Dagger Lane. Feeling a tad peckish he looked in the fridge and saw the plate of pork chops, peas, carrots and onion gravy, heated it up and polished it off. When tracey got home and asked him about her pork chops he casually replied 'I've eaten it.' That was when she lost it and shouted “EAT MY FOOD…..FEEL MY FORK”. After court Tracey told reporters I just lost it when I found out he had eaten my tea…… They were lovely pork chops as well!” Hell Hath no Fury and all that!

Monday, October 1, 2007

What a HUGE Tosser

Imagine a salad so large it takes 20 cooks over 3 hours to put it together. That’s one hell of a big toss! 6,700 kilos of lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers and olives went into the worlds largest salad last weekend, proudly produced by the 'Association of Businessmen and Storekeepers of Pulpi' in Almeria, one of Spains largest fruit and vegetable growing areas. Of course waste not want not, after having a Guiness World Records judge confirm the new record the huge salad was distributed to local restaurants to be given free to their patrons. I just hope the dressing was on the side?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Need Atmosphere? Use a Wine Glass!

This weeks innovative invention: The new wine light. You´ve rushed home from work, Dinner is in the oven, Nibbly bits ready to go, the table is set, but it all just looks a bit drab and dreary...... well all you need is a couple of wine glasses and 'Gorgeous Helen'..... And No, Gorgeous Helen is not the latest interior decorator from Sweden, but the newest product by Anke and Katrin from the designers cooperative Dekoop in Hamburg. These innovative little mood enhancers were officially presented for the first time at the Tendence Design Fair in Frankfurt earlier this year. Gorgeous little lamp shades that fit right on top of your favorite wine glasses. Made out of fragile parchment, each set contains 3 different shades with cute and whimsical designs that are printed in a faint white. All you need to do is take them out of the package, stick a tea light into a wine glass and then pop the shades on top and your set to nasty cords and plugs in sight! you can find them at

Diet Drinks Make You Fat!

Over the years i’ve constantly reassured myself that drinking low or zero calorie soft drinks has put me miles ahead on the old daily calorie counter. You know how it goes…… ¨I can have that scoop of ice cream as long as I have a diet drink with it.¨ However, according to a recent study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York, just the opposite may be true! Drinking soft drinks actually causes your body to absorb MORE sugar. Turns out that artificial sweeteners trigger the same taste receptors in the small intestine that glucose does, releasing hormones that absorb sugar into the bloodstream. So next time you reach for those choccie biscuits, or packet of crisps, it might be a good idea to wash them down with a nice glass of milk or a juice instead. That is if the ‘E’ numbers in the snack don’t get ya first!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Deep End Dining

This is bizarre! And I have absolutely no idea why this bunch of loonies did this other than to raise money for charity BUT….. Up to 500 wannabe mermen and mermaids joined in to help break the world record for the largest sub-aqua dinner party recently, and incase you don’t know what that is its Dinner served UNDERWATER! Yep, they all dressed in their absolute best and sat down to a three course meal in an outdoor swimming pool at the Park Club in Acton West London. The Guinness Book of Records is set to confirm exactly how many guests actually dined undewater on what sounds like an extremely limited menu. Smoked salmon, vegetables and toffee apple. Whoopee! Although I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was for the diners to remove their aqua lung mouth pieces, fork in the food and then replace the breathing equipment while pressing a button to purge away the water all the while dressed in dinner jackets and ball gowns. What a stress free dinner that would be. In case you’re wondering, the food was served to sittings of about 20 people every 20 minutes and was prepared in jelly to stop it from disintegrating in the water. BUT WHY?

Something Fishy Going On?

Do you like a little Pilchard every now and then? Do you even know what a Pilchard is? Well apparently if you invite the average shopper to taste test a pilchard the response is likely to be a swift: "No thank you". However change their name from PILCHARDS to CORNISH SARDINES and they will fly out of that refrigerated fish display, eagerly snapped up by health- conscious customers keen to enjoy the benefits of eating oily fish. Marks & Spencer has just proven this by gaining a massive sales boom in fresh pilchards just by giving them the new name. How fickle are we? Elsewhere in the industry fishmongers and restaurants are trying the same trick by replacing traditional names such as Rat-tails and Witch with the less off-putting Grenadier and Torbay Sole. So Slimehead has become Orange Roughy, and Patagonian Toothfish sells better as Chilean Sea Bass. Not a bad idea really as traditional fishy favourites are facing dangerously low stocks due to over fishing. Just to keep you in the know….. Rockfish is now sold as Pacific Red Snapper, Dogfish has become Rock Salmon and there are rumours that Megrim will be renamed as Cornish Sole…. Sneaky huh?

Monday, September 24, 2007

New World Burrito Eating Champ

The competitive eating circuit is alive and well with ‘EATER X’ munching his way through 10 3/4 burritos in a dozen minutes last Saturday to win what was billed as the world burrito-eating championship. Not bad for a day trader and aspiring pizza chef who loves Mexican food and admits his only preparation for the big event was eating candy for a day to help clear his system. (Huh?) Over 100 spectators watched outside the Costa Vida restaurant in Maine as over a dozen competitive eaters gulped down the 18 ounce burritos stuffed with rice, pork, cheese and a mild sauce. Interesting to note that the burrito record holder Eric "Badlands" Booker was not around to defend his title. Apparently Badlands has retired fro the competitive eating circuit, however world lobster eating champ Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas turned up to finish second by downing 10 "Big Kahunas."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bye Bye 'LOWFAT'..... Hello 'NATURAL'

The number of 'natural' foods appearing on supermarket shelves is on the rise according to market analysts Mintel. 'Additive and preservative free' foods have become the number one health claim for the food industry back in 2006, surpassing 'low fat' for the very first time. Market analysts predict that the demand for low fat foods is not going to go away, but the trend for additive-free foods also looks set to continue. Of course the recent report on a link between artificial preservatives and behavioural problems in children is set to increase the demand for natural foods even further. David Jago, director of Mintel's Global New Products Database says: "Manufacturers are tapping into the nation's growing desire for a more natural lifestyle as consumers take a greater interest in what really goes INTO their food."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kids in the Kitchen

Would you like to have a budding chef in the family? It’s never too early to get them started and develop their passion for food and a new game from Orchard Toys in the UK will do just that. ‘Crazy Chefs’ is a food themed game where the goal is to complete the dish on your card. You have to match up all of the ingredients and kitchen tools needed to create your dish by flipping tiles on the board. Once you’ve everything you need for your dish it’s onto the business of spinning the spinner to get a plate for service. An inspiring idea for would be little chefs. You can find ‘Crazy Chef’ at I just wish I’d found this during the long summer break when I REALLY needed it!

POWDER is the new FOAM

Just as we seem to be getting over ‘espumas’ those frothy foams that have adorned everything from canapes to desserts thanks to our very own Spanish gastronomic guru Ferran Adria more than a decade ago, Spains new wave chefs have found a new diversion..... Powders! At Mugaritz located just outside the global gastro-hotspot that is San Sebastian, Andoni Luis is dishing up a dessert that recreates the meeting of ocean and shoreline with the ‘rocks’ made from cocoa, the ‘sand’ made from a star-anise-flavored shortbread powder, and the ocean bravely represented by agar-agar jelly spiked with mint oil. Meanwhile over at Arzak located inside San Sebastian, Elena Arzak serves Galician beef with a potato glaze and rendered chorizo drippings in a paste of chorizo. Not to be outdone at restaurante Martin Berasategui in Lasarte-Oria, chef Martin is garnishing baby vegetables with a powder made from Iberico ham and Idiazabal cheese.

Scarlett Loves Pub Grub!

Nice to see it happens to the beautiful people as well. Producers on the set of Scarlett Johanssons latest movie ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ have been struggling to contain her curves on celluloid. The movie features Star Wars actress Natalie Portman as King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn and Scarlett as her sister Mary. Scarlett looks sensational in the movie, but her weight was a huge problem, going up and down like a yo-yo making her just a tad TOO voluptuous for their liking and resulting in a number of scenes having to be reshot due to the extra pounds piled on by her sweet tooth and a love of British pubs. Filming took place in Cambridgeshire this past summer where Scarlett developed a passion for the local establishments, regularly tucking into their pub-grub delicacies. Let’s hope her new addiction to British pub fare doesn’t affect the 22 year olds current title as the sexiest woman in Hollywood.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hells Kitchen Blamed for Wild Mushroom Shortage

The papers have been FULL of Hells Kitchen this past week, mainly because of comedian Jim Davies being booted out by show producers for being homophobic. (Good on 'em) However as the uproar died down, Hells Kitchen has hit the headlines yet again, this time for putting species of wild mushroom in danger. On the show earlier in the week millions of ITV1 viewers saw chef Marco Pierre White sing the praises of wild mushrooms when he cooked them with Dover Sole, and now rangers on a country estate have warned that people are attempting to cash in by picking "car boot loads" of the expensive fungi in the English countryside with the idea of selling them off to foodies in the cities. The power of television huh? A celeb chef says "OOOH these mushrooms are delicious, they grow wild you know" and hundreds of people charge to the countryside to set up impromptu mushroom picking services. That said, you have to admit that the huge rise of the reality TV cooking show lately has brought on a consumer demand for more unusual ingredients. At least people are becoming more willing to break out of their kitchen comfort zones and experiment!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Goodbye Cruel Waiter!

OH MY GOD! At Last the answer to rude and inefficient restaurant waiters. Although I have to admit this may be taking the difficulty in finding good service staff just a tad to the extreme. A new restaurant ‘Baggers’ in Nuremberg in Germany has replaced front of house staff with a fully automated ordering and table service system. Gone is the apron wearing, pen and notebook wielding waiter or waitress of old as each table at ‘Baggers’ has been connected by metal rails to the kitchen. Dishes like "organic beef in buttermilk" and "sausage en croute" glide along the rails to customers, propelled by gravity. Owner Michael Mack has cleverly installed the restaurant kitchen directly beneath the roof of the restaurant. Meals are ordered by restaurant patrons via a touch-screen system that is placed at each table, and the entire restaurant is networked via a computer system. The orders are then registered upstairs in the kitchen and a computer in the cellar keeps track of supply stocks. The system also calculates the likely delivery times for drinks and meals at every table and keeps customers informed. WOW! A bit sterile for my liking, as much as I hate bad restaurant service, who do you argue with if the soup is cold? Then again, restaurant proprietors would probably be more than impressed with the billions of euros in personnel costs that Mack says his patented invention can save. Never again would they have to deal with those frightening words from the head waiter..... “Sorry I can’t make it in to work tonight”. I’d love to experience this restaurant first hand, and find out just how nervous the diners feel as specially made hotpots slide down the 15-foot steel spirals, using nothing but the forces of gravity, before coming to a slow stop on rails slanted upwards at their tables. I bet they are selling a hell of a lot of pre-dinner drinks! Ah well, at least for the time being the chefs and kitchen staff still have a job. But what about clearing? Perhaps the customers are supposed to clear their own table on the way out?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Dreaded 'E' Numbers

If you are in the UK you can't have got away from the HUGE hoo hah over the past few weeks about chemicals and colorings added to snack foods being harmful to kids. This is just a quickie, but it's interesting to see today two of the biggest confectionary giants Cadbury and Mars have VOLUTARILY promised to remove artificial additives from sweets including Starburst, Skittles, M&Ms, Maynards wine gums and Trident gum after the public backlash from the latest findings. The findings basically say that kids without a history of hyperactive behaviour become unruly, loud and impulsive after consuming junk foods with the seven suspect E-number additives in them. The ingredients in question are the colours tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129), and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211).

It’s a good thing though because this so called ‘voluntary’ decision by Cadbury and Mars to remove harmful additives from some of their products, will now put pressure on the UK Government's Food Standards Agency to support a TOTAL ban on the chemicals. So we'll have to wait to see what happens next. All of this has me feeling a bit pathetic really, I actually used to believe (just a few short years ago) that anything that we purchased over the counter must be safe, otherwise the Government wouldn’t allow the company to produce the product or sell it to the public in the first place………. How naïve was that???

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cockroach Cuisine

While everyone in the UK and the rest of Europe worries about poisoning their kids with dangerous chemicals in snack foods, American kids are being ENCOURAGED to eat cockroaches! These hideous bugs are being used as a means for kids to skip to the front of the line at the Titan roller coaster in Texas with any kid that dares to chew and swallow one of the wingless 3-inch hissing Madagascar variety of the species being awarded a Flash Pass for the evening that allows them to bypass the line on other thrill rides. YAHOO! Meanwhile it seems the only ones NOT worrying about what they eat are the cockys themselves. Can you believe it? These six-legged critters can live without food for an entire month! EVEN IF YOU CUT OFF THEIR HEADS they can still run around the house for about a week before dying of thirst because their brain is not in their heads….. A Cockroaches brain is scattered throughout its body. Its true! I did a show on the art of insect eating last year and its AMAZING the lengths these disgusting creatures will go to, just to exist! By the way, in defense of WHY this story has ended up on my blog. Cockroaches are considered a delicious delicacy in many Asian and African cultures. Honest!

Female Chefs Too Complicated?

How VERY dare they! An article yesterday in the Daily Mail saying female chefs are harder to understand than male chefs. Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith have come under fire recently for writing cookery instructions that apparently bamboozle most of us and the conclusion is that female celebrity chefs are harder to understand in print than their male counterparts. The article goes on to state that by contrast some of Gordon Ramsay's recipes are so simple they can be followed by a seven-year-old and budding chefs need a reading age of just 11 to follow the instructions of Nigel Slater. Now you might wonder how they’ve come up with all of this, and the verdict comes from a Government study in which experts looked at 35 recipes published by FIVE popular chefs and assessed their literacy standards layout, writing style and readability. It found that 5.2million adults in the UK would be unable to follow Nigella's cooking methods as she uses longer sentences and tends to write in a "chatty" style, mixing in personal observations with her instructions. I hate it when they do that! Good old Delia Smith gets it in the neck as well with her culinary teaching also being criticised for having too many stages and using measurements confusing for anyone with poor numeracy skills. The study suggests that male celeb chefs use a more direct approach and their recipes are easier to grasp. WOOHOO! Ramsey of course welcomes the findings: "As we all know, I am renowned for my direct approach to cooking and certainly don't like to hold back". Well that was to be expected wasn't it? Actually ive been watching 'Nigella Express' this past week. Her new tv show designed to make us want to COOK fast food rather than go out and just buy it ready made. She keeps saying "add a teaspoon" of this and "just about a teaspoon " of that, and I swear the amounts she's adding look more like tablespoons if not soup ladels on occassions. Perhaps its not that we're too complicated at all? Maybe its just our measuring skills....... Just how big IS seven inches anyway?


Girls if you're looking for some way to get the other half to book a spa holiday, here’s some instant incentive. There are now a number of BEER spas throughout Austria and Germany that claim to promote health, wellness and the chance for the boys to bathe in their favourite drink. Now apart from marrying a Sheila who’s dad owns a brewery, that’d have to be up there on the ‘To Do’ list of many of the men I know! The spas not only offer a tub of their brew to soak in, (boy that Jaccuzzi would get a hell of a head on it wouldn’t it?) but beer therapies as well. And its not as expensive as you might expect. Treatments start from around 55 euro. And the best bit? They even let you drink the stuff while you are laying in it!

So if you feel so inclined and want to start planning your next ‘Beauty Brewski Weekend’ heres a few links to get you started:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kitchen Testosterone

So what do we think of Raymond Blancs new BBC Two series ‘The Restaurant’? Quite an ambitious project with 9 couples battling it out to create and run a successful venue and certainly huge motivation for the couples who will be in big business if they manage to get it right. So far the show seems to highlight not only the many highs of running your own restaurant but also the harsh realities that can ultimately lead to failure. Keep in mind that of the 1,000 plus new venues that open every year in the UK alone, 900 of them close, so the successes can be few and far between. Apparently just prior to the launch of his show Blanc hit out at todays ‘Macho’ chefs warning that under new employment laws kitchen bullies could end up in jail. He says the reasoning behind ‘The Restaurant’ is to give viewers new respect for the restaurant industry and hopefully provide a refreshing change from the current glut of fiery chefs who appear to glorify violence and aggression in their TV kitchens. As I Mentioned last week, Marco Pierre White seems to have a very different take on the Gordon Ramsey approach to Hells Kitchen on the new UK series. In fact Raymond Blanc himself wondered just how Marco would handle the heat asking the question - “When Marco takes over Hell's Kitchen, will he promote food craft, careful man-management, or just this unfortunate aspect of behaviour, which involves the degradation of people?” So far Marco seems to be managing to rule HK with just the right mixture of testosterone and camaraderie to make poor old Gordons style of kitchen tyranny look totally unnecessary. However you must admit Ramseys shock tactics are always entertaining. Meanwhile it will be interesting to see which of ‘The Restaurant’s couples are still standing in a few weeks time. The UK’s 27,000 restaurants are about to become 27,001!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Avocado Lovers Rejoice!

This is great news for avocado lovers. New research suggests that the avocado is your best bet to fight cancer cells. Researchers from Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Centre have found that extracts from 'Hass' avocados kill or stop the growth of pre-cancerous cells that lead to oral cancer. This is the first time that the avocado has had the sole attention of scientists with regard to cancer research and there are high hopes that this new discovery will lead to advances in the treatment of other cancers. With more than 500 varieties of avocado grown worldwide it's not particularly difficult to get your hands on one nowadays. However it’s the ‘HASS’ avocado that seems to be the star performer if you want to fight oral cancer. (Just this last week we’ve seen alarming new stories on the steady rise of oral cancer in the UK) The Hass avocado is one of the varieties that is most readily available and frequently used in salads or sandwiches. Don’t forget Avocados are full of vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, fibre and unsaturated fats. They are also naturally sodium-free, contain no trans fats and are low in saturated fat, making them a healthy addition to any diet. I remember back in the 80’s we were scared of the avocado because of its high fat content. But those days are now gone, the fats are good ones, so if you are not already doing so, add an avocado or two to your shopping list and you could be doing your mouth a favour!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Rueda Wines at Risk

An invasion of mouse-like rodents is laying waste to a broad swath of farmland in central Spain. Local farmers are trying everything from burning fields to running around trying to hit the creatures with giant rolling pins, but so far the rodents don't seem too bothered. Officials estimate that up to 750 million of the animals have infested an area of 1,000 square miles. Damage to crops is estimated at $40 million. The regional government of Castilla y Leon has approved the use of poison and the burning of fields in 621 municipalities, hoping to eradicate the plague. However the pesky rodents are working their way northeastward, into the wine-growing region of Rueda, where some of Spain's leading wines are produced.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


You've gotta be kidding me?


More TV cooking show scandals this week. Did anyone notice how
prominent WAITROSE SUPERMARKET seemed to be on Nigella Lawson's new cookery show ‘NIGELLA EXPRESS’? The show started this week on BBC2 and if the papers are anything to judge by, it looks like the old ‘product placement ’ perks are not so easy to get away with these days. Nigella has found herself in hot water after accusations that she appears to be blatantly plugging Waitrose supermarkets. In the first episode she appeared to be using the store and its products on 3 different occasions. In one scene Nigella was filmed taking a packet of Waitrose pork chops from the store shelves, while another showed her fridge at home full of the supermarket's goods. Yet another showed her travelling by taxi..... Her destination? You guessed it! BBC guidelines ban product placement and studio reps are saying nigella has NO financial link with waitrose. And what about that interview the other day where she said she ALWAYS carries a tube of mustard in her handbag? She’s MAD if she doesn’t get that sponsored!

And while we’re talking about TV Chefs:

Marco Pierre White got the new British series of Hell's Kitchen off to a sizzling start this week. Of course most of us have followed Gordon Ramsey in the US version of the same show. What's interesting is comparing the two chefs, and how they go about presenting the same show concept. Although Ramsey is excellent entertainment value and obviously knows his game, Marco handles the kitchen very differently. Not an F word in sight, which is quite refreshing actually. Although I was disappointed that they have gone the celeb route for the UK series. So painful having to watch people who obviously don’t have a clue about food, getting master classes from one of the greats. Such a waste. I did however LOVE Carol Thatcher for asking Marco to sign Gordons book. The woman must have ovaries of IRON!