food & drink

Restaurant hell

This is not a good time for most businesses related to the serving of food. The most appalling aspect is that, contrary to what would seem to be logical and fair, some of the world's best eating places are suffering as much as the balti house down the road.

Take for example the experience of top international chef, late of El Bulli (regularly voted World's Best Restaurant) Albert Adrià. His gastronomic empire in Barcelona, consisting of five establishments, four with Michelin stars, has finally hung out the white flag. A small notice on Adrià's website states they are closed until further notice. He blames the absence of tourists, but a very significant factor is that locals have just stopped going to restaurants, as confirmed by Roger Pallarols, local director of the hospitality association.

The initiative of the UK government earlier this year to subsidise by ten pounds every meal eaten at a restaurant on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, recently withdrawn, was hailed as one of the best incentives ever. There were thousands of people eating out every night for the cost of a (unsubsidised) bottle of wine. The USA has thrown billions at the industry in an attempt to save jobs, although the results have been unimpressive.

To complete a sad week, Barcelona's Michelin-starred Hisop restaurant has closed because of Covid infections among the workers, as has El Celler de Can Roca and DiverXo in Madrid.

The suicide of French chef Taku Sekine completes a heart-rending week for the industry.