food & drink


Here we go again. The 'list' season is under way. Apparently everything in the food and restaurant business, whether wood-fired pizza ovens or lady sommeliers, has to be rated mediatically. Obviously there's money in them there lists or no-one would bother. 90% are commercially motivated and perhaps 10% are developed by well-meaning and altruistic gastronomes or bloggers.

The latest disaster has been The #50BestTalks, promoted by the tireless World's 50 Best Restaurants organisation, sponsored principally by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, in Singapore. It was billed as "the event that everyone will be talking about". They were right. Everyone was talking about it, but for all the wrong reasons, and poor Mauro Colagreco, of the Mirazur restaurant on the Côte d'Azure, who was to receive top nomination at the event, was overshadowed.

At the last moment someone realised that the round table discussion about the importance of communication between cooks, the centrepiece of the event, was made up of 100/100 male participants. Never mind, the World's 50 Best Restaurants organisation has a reputation for chauvinism. As if by magic the panel was transformed into 50/50, and on the day the catering for the event was magically managed by a female-run company. But these gestures convinced nobody, even less so when the organisers drew attention to the five award-winning lady chefs on the 50 Best list. Yes, only five out of 50.

That was not the end of the shipwreck. Famous French chef Yannick Alleno, who did have a place at the round table, came up with the remarkable opinion that it is difficult to find good lady chefs. Apparently, and in order to attend to their family responsibilities, it is hard for them to work in the evenings. He later apologised on Twitter.

It is obvious that the professional publicists hungry for media exposure are blind to many other considerations, so if it's all the same to my esteemed readers, I will stick with the Concurso del Tomate Huevo de Toro de Coín (Best Bulls' Testicles Tomato Contest) held in Coín every year. Not much likelihood of PC problems there.