THE WORDS AND SENTIMENTS OF DAVID HEELEY - BROADCASTER | FOOD CRITIC | TRAVEL WRITER

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Independence day is coming


After a recent volcanic ash cloud enforced stay in Paris – still, the gastronomic capital of the world – one overriding fact became all too apparent.  We in Britain may have seen a dining revolution take place over the last twenty odd years – unlike our Gaelic cousins – it is mostly predicated on large corporate chains.

Try as I might – ok I didn’t at all – I couldn’t find one restaurant brand anywhere on the Rive Gauche or around Boullevard St Germain.  Instead, thankfully, where dozens and dozens of chef/patron owned establishments, offering creative cuisine at a range of prices.

“What’s all that got to do with us here in Lancashire?” I hear you cry.  Well, actually, quite a lot.  Nowhere in the UK has undergone a bigger dining transformation these last two decades than the North West.  But for our future gastronomic well being it’s vitally important that we embrace the French model of quality independent outlets – rather than follow the American method, where independent eateries are a rarity.

We have in our region wonderful examples such as the Rigbye Arms at High Moor, the excellent Hastings in leafy Lytham and the Rams Head Inn in Denshaw but I could just have easily have mentioned the Cartford Inn, the Fisherman’s Retreat or the Red Cat and these quality purveyors are where we should be looking to dine.

They breed the next generation of cooking entrepreneurs that will keep us out of those corporate’s clutches.

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