A highlight of my summer is to take a tour around the many restaurants, suppliers and drink stalls who attend the Taste of London show. Every year I complain about why the cost (the amount of Crowns) of buying a dish gets higher and higher and I keep thinking for goodness sake not more belly of pork! I mean I love the stuff but come on boys and girls you can do something else.

Developing our chefs

This year I took a group of our chefs and I was delighted to see how they really enjoyed the day. Looking for ideas and being critical of food and its presentation in order to make it better and better is the hallmark of a great chef, and our team were on form. It must have taken guts for Mark, one of our development chefs to tell Paschal Gascon that his award winning Marmite pot was too ‘thinned’ down. But you know what, once you get past the ‘emperors clothing’ aspect of the award he was absolutely right! It was one chef’s 20thBirthday (Happy belated Birthday little Willie) and he told me that he couldn’t think of a better place to spend it. That for me shows a passion for food and a foodie in the making.

The importance of innovation and creativity to caterers

Taste of London is an interesting experience and over the years it’s been fascinating to see how things move on (or not). Although many are wooed by the celebrity chef status if you stand back and look objectively at the food offer and the way it’s served you get a glimpse of the look on their customers faces too. I’ve always raved about La Gavroche restaurant but I have to say if they do that daube of beef one more year I’ll scream (I’m sure they can do something else!). Even Gary Rhodes changed his menu a bit this year! What I really disliked about the daube – it was already prepared, sitting on a hot plate. No time, attention to detail, love or care was given to my 10 crowns from this renowned restaurant. Not what I expect and I am not sure it’s a measure of what I’d receive if I dined there.For me, what a Restauranteur offers at Taste of London is a reflection of what to expect when I walk through their doors in terms of food, welcome, innovation and respect for the customer. The same complacency was true of a few big names whereas some of the lesser known players were extremely creative and innovative. Yauatcha and Bocco de Lupo went all out to impress, think outside the box and break new ground. Hannah, my London correspondent, loved them both. I know where I will be going back to!

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My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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