Roberta Hall Small

Featuring Roberta Hall, chef and co-owner of The Little Chartroom, Edinburgh and finalist in the Great British Menu How long have you been a chef? I have been a chef for 20 years. Why did you become a chef? I did one week’s work experience at The Tower Restaurant when I was 16 and I…

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I don’t use gadgets much, but a recent article in the Observer Food Magazine gave me pause for thought, as if we needed any more free time at present. Jay Rayner was writing of cooking in lockdown, and how he felt the need to use precisely the right tool for a specific job, even if…

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It is said that the most successful people in life are those who made plans early and followed them through rigorously. Apparently, on leaving university, Michael Heseltine scribbled down his goals on the back of an envelope. The list read – 25 Millionaire; 35 Cabinet Member; 45 Leader of the Party; 55 Prime Minister. All…

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Featuring Campbell Mickel of Merienda and Exec Chef Cuisine. See below for details of how to order their amazing food even during lockdown. How long have you been a chef? I started cooking full time when I was 15….February 1986. It was strange being so young out working 50 hours a week until very late…

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Lamb Rack

On many dinner tables this Easter Sunday, there will be a roast. Not as large as if the family was coming to visit, but lots of you will maintain a traditional feast on a smaller scale. And for many, perhaps even the majority, that will be sheep meat, almost certainly lamb. That’s a very fine…

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Keith Floyd Small

Here in Johnston Towers not a huge amount of TV is watched in normal times. Each of us has our own guilty secrets. And we also have guilty TV watching habits, some of which simply cannot be shared, lest divorce follow, at least as soon as lawyers’ offices reopen. So, sadly, you will hear nothing…

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Craig Wood Cropped

Featuring Craig Wood, chef and co-owner of The Wee Restaurant, North Queensferry and The Wee Restaurant, Edinburgh. Obviously the restaurants are closed just now, but there is a fantastic takeaway and delivery service available from North Queensferry. See below for details. How long have you been a chef? 32 years. I started part time at…

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Boarded up restaurant

Lovin’ you ever, whether, times were good or bad, happy or sad… The Today programme aside, at home I listen to radio relatively rarely. One exception is the occasional half hour of Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs. Today featured the mellifluous (note to self – must look that up in the dictionary) tones of the Reverend Al…

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Steam Engine

From time to time I have mused idly as to why we talk today of roasting beef in an oven, yet baking potatoes. The latter term is correct. Traditionally roasting is done by exposing food to a naked flame, either on a spit or grill. Until watching a recent BBC programme on the history of…

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Economics

My mother was the worst of all. In addition to having a great head for figures, she was a very talented cook. No, those weren’t the failings. But take her to a restaurant, then unless she took an immediate like to the place or the people (this happened about 25% of the time) she could…

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Stupid People

One of the great things about social media is being able to hear so many of the unbelievably stupid things heard in restaurants, principally (but not exclusively) said by diners. Please let me have examples, the dafter the better.   Thanks to Janet Hood for this example from her chef husband Alastair, concerning an organic,…

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Magnifying Glass

When the site was launched, I mentioned that there were still a couple of glitches which had to be ironed out. Many thanks to Alan Tomkins of Alpha Tango, and his tecchy man Adrian for resolving them. There are two separate search facilities. While they are straightforward enough, if you haven’t encountered the wonderful world…

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The eyebrows of anyone who knows me are likely to rise considerably at the notion of my penning an article on shopping. As a leisure activity it scores as highly in my book as watching ethnic dancing or having bamboo shoots inserted under my toenails. But, dear reader, you have still got to get the…

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Now I bow to no one in my admiration of Nigel Slater. In addition to his writing and broadcasting, he is editor of the Observer Food Monthly, which I take from time to time. The latest edition which I read contained The 8th Annual OFM 50 –  Everything We Love In The World of Food Right…

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Gordon Ramsay

When a chef has acquired a degree of celebrity, people’s attitudes seem to change. One of the most common questions posed to waiting staff is whether the great one is on the premises or whether he personally prepared that terrine/fish/panna cotta. When the answer is in the negative, this often results in hurt feelings. In…

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Last Sunday was National Waiters’ Day. I jest not. Who, I hear you ask, thinks these things up? If I tell you that the ubiquitous Fred Siriex is involved you probably won’t be surprised. Perhaps of more interest is the fact that this goes back about 100 years, to Paris and the annual race, the…

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Yesterday, two unthinkable things happened. Firstly, I discovered that L and I both had a completely empty calendar. Ladies and gentlemen, in the month of August, this is something which does not happen. With a few mouse clicks I soon remedied that. Three Fringe shows and a bite of dinner (The Outsider on George IV…

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English Breakfast

To eat well in England, you should have breakfast three times a day. Thus spake W Somerset Maugham, at the time a resident of France. In 1914 he may have had a point. This is a Scottish column. Why, I hear you ask, such a quotation from south of the border? Well, it’s better than…

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