THE WORDS AND SENTIMENTS OF DAVID HEELEY - BROADCASTER | FOOD CRITIC | TRAVEL WRITER
Raymond Blanc – the man behind the myth

Personal Preference

Raymond Blanc – the man behind the myth

As Anglofiles go, few are more passionate or committed than the inimitable Raymond Blanc.  Well, I say inimitable, in actuality it’s all too easy to do a more than passable impersonation of his heavily accented English – just think Rene off ‘Allo ‘Allo. That said, he has been a real force for good in the English food industry and has been pivotal in helping spread the foody revolution over the last couple of decades.  I saw him recently on BBC TV’s Kitchen Secrets and he was extolling the virtues of one of his – and mine – favourite patisseries in [Read More]

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Caveat Emptor

The Building Obsession

Caveat Emptor

Never blessed with much patience at the best of times, 20 odd years of running what had become the UK’s number one dining club had seen me grow evermore desperate to get out from behind the Chairman’s desk. Each foreign trip or holiday – of which thankfully there were many – saw me scouring an ever wider geographical area of countries from France, Italy, Corsica and Sardinia to slightly more exotic Barbados, Australia, Brazil and St Barts, in search of either a dream house on which I could put my own inimitable stamp or, more preferably, a Shangri-La like plot [Read More]

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New Birch Broom

Food Critic

New Birch Broom

I was recently invited to sample the culinary skills of Andrew Birch, the wonderful new chef who along with his team of 7 has taken over the restaurant at Ribby Hall Village. Ribby has long craved a fine dining restaurant and with Andrew and his teams arrival there is now nothing to stop them establishing themselves as one of the finest purveyors of predominantly North West sourced food that our region has to offer.  From the excellent breads right through to his 5 and 7 course tasting menus, there’s a new flair about the Restaurant at Ribby Hall that they’ve [Read More]

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Sea Bass Quotient

Food Critic

Sea Bass Quotient

For years now I’ve employed something called my SBQ, when evaluating the relative cost or value for money of a dining venue. It’s short for – Sea Bass Quotient – and as that dish has become almost ubiquitous on restaurants menus in recent years – it enables me and now other diners to evaluate the relative value for money that any given restaurant is offering its customers. If the sea bass is north of £18 to £20, you’ve stumbled into a rather pricey establishment that had better work very hard to persuade you that it’s offering value for money.  Conversely, [Read More]

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Spot On

Food Critic

Spot On

Over the decades different continental foods have been given protected geographical status, with the UK lagging sadly way down the league table.  Recent years have seen this wrong begin to be righted with everything from Yorkshire rhubarb to Melton Mobray pies, now given a Designated Origin Certificate (DOC). The latest English food stuff to be so recognised is the wonderful Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, which produces some of the finest pork you will ever eat.  If you’ve yet to sample it, go now and seek it out before this new recognition forces prices up. What is particularly galling, however, is [Read More]

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Lost it at Maze

Food Critic

Lost it at Maze

The adjectivally challenged Gordon Ramsay, continues to have a difficult time, with the closure, last year, of Maze, his exclusive Cape Town restaurant, announced.  It’s another set back for the chef who has lost some of his most prestigious restaurants in the last few years including Petrus, The Boxwood Café and his eponymous restaurant at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. Although only a consultant at Maze, a source at the restaurant whom I contacted explained, that Gordon had last visited two months earlier. The source added “Nobu is next door and is always thriving, but Ramsay’s place was mostly empty.  [Read More]

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