The Customer Is Always Right? Part 1

The local GP and his wife enter your restaurant. The exchange between them and your waiter goes something like this. Table for two, please. We’ve booked. Smith. Yeah, I know. Mrs Smith, did you look in the mirror before you came out? What on earth made you think that top goes with that skirt? And…

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Wendy Barrie and A Lot of Slow Food

Take your life in your hands and hurtle down the vertiginous slope to Hawkcraig Point in Aberdour. There you will find the home of the force of nature that is Wendy Barrie, chef, food fanatic and ambassador for the Slow Food Movement Scotland. I’ve been slightly surprised how few people actually know of the Slow…

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Tom’s Food! Alphabet: N is for… Neep

Don’t start shouting that I’m cheating and that’s why you didn’t guess it. If managers of Scottish supermarkets are allowed to sit supinely (is that possible? – Ed) while head office decrees that they should label their turnips as swedes, then I’m entitled to redress the balance. And anyway N is also for navet, the little…

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You Can’t Make An Omelette Without…

French Style That’s actually true of many people. Never mind. The inspiration for today came from the chronicles of Mr C’s trip to Egypt. Among his many posts on social media, he commented on the (poor) quality of the omelettes served to him in a particular hotel. They were so poor that he felt he…

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Because We’ve Always Done It That Way

I’ve done a bit of teaching over the years. I enjoyed it, but living with an education professional made me realise that, as with cooking, there’s an awful lot more to it than the untrained amateur might think. A lot of it was in my specialist field of liquor licensing. Lectures, seminars and master classes…

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The Savoy Cocktail Book

Last week’s Tom Cooks! on the subject of the martini cocktail attracted more attention and comment than I anticipated. Some of you also expressed interest in The Savoy Cocktail Book, compiled by Harry Craddock, head bartender at the hotel’s American Bar. While the book is long out of print, an enterprising publishing company, Martino Fine…

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The Food Producers – Robin Sherriff of Koji Kitchen

Passionate. I must stop it. It’s just too Mills & Boon. Perhaps, but it’s easier said than done when you meet food enthusiasts, the ones who go wild eyed when talking about their produce, the ones who can declaim about it for hours while never, ever being boring. I first encountered Robin at a demonstration…

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Inverleith Food Festival

Well, it’s the opening day of the Edinburgh Festival. Last night we’ve been at Murrayfield, entertained by the National Youth Choir of Scotland and a troupe of gravity defying Australians, appropriately titled Gravity & Other Myths. What to do before the opening event? I’d passed Inverleith Park a day or two earlier, and had learned…

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Book Reviews – Red Sauce Brown Sauce: Dirt

RED SAUCE BROWN SAUCE A British Breakfast Odyssey Felicity Cloake Mudlark                 pp373               £16.99                                   It was Somerset Maugham who said, to eat well in England you should have…

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M is for … Mango

Mangoes in Antigua Prominent among the products of J K Rowling’s imagination were the food and the sweets beloved of her heroes and heroines. In particular I remember Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. It is significant that the good Mr Bott had no need to create an Every Flavour Fruit. It exists and is called the…

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Is It Just Me? The Right Tool for the Right Job

I have to share something personal and embarrassing with you. Is it just me? The it in question is insistence on a very specific implement for a particular job, even though one’s batterie de cuisine contains many alternatives. A couple of years ago I counted up 118 gizmos in two drawers under the hob. But,…

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A Lot of Meat at The Edinburgh School of Food & Wine

On Sunday I was cooking burgers at the Jubilee street party. Been up to much this week? enquired a friend. Yes indeed, I replied. Five days cutting up dead animals. It’s not the most normal of replies, and attracted the attention of a good few folk. More details? Certainly. Ash MacMillan A couple of months ago, I wrote about…

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Do You Know The Michelin Man?

No one does, of course. These faceless men and women who selflessly eat out anonymously in the world’s finest establishments, paying their bill at the end and leaving without comment. But what is Michelin all about? The idea for this piece came about from a conversation over dinner. In a Michelin starred restaurant, as it…

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The Food Producers – Michael Kaplan, Great British Vermouth

Michael Kaplan The supermarket most local to me sits just behind Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium. Next to it is an industrial plant, well protected with security cameras and razor wire. This is not, as you might assume, due to its proximity to Gorgie and Tynecastle Stadium. The principal reason is that they, quite legally, manufacture morphine.…

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Cookery Classes? Beware of Little White Haired Ladies

Lest my good pals Nyssa, Ash and Dereick of the Edinburgh School of Food & Wine are concerned, allow me to allay their fears. Going to a cookery class is usually a fun thing to do. Read recent articles for details. NOT Fiona G Lines Written Pre Class Today, I speak from the other side…

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Diets: The Wee Fat Lawyer Revisited

In June and July we published 15 articles aimed at helping you to lose weight and keep it off. On The Side featured, in five instalments, The Wee Fat Lawyer’s Diet Book. For the first time ever, Tom Cooks! had two columns a week, The Wee Fat Lawyer’s A – Z of Food and Recipes from The Wee…

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Our Daily Bread at The Edinburgh School of Food & Wine

The plea to the Almighty to give us this day our daily bread is probably the most common prayer in the Christian world. After two days at the Edinburgh School of Food & Wine, I found myself with a fortnight’s worth, and did wonder if I had overdone things a bit. I have been making…

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