Chefs I have known and loved

Ok I had to put this pic of Angela Hartnett up first as, amazingly, she used it as an advert for her next brilliant Smoked and Uncut festival at the Pig Hotels. She didnt realise it but that rather stalkerish looking person in the bowler hat is me! I had gone along, not just for the excellent food (although I was too late for the lovely Feast bit) but also to see an amazing band Around About Dusk who I actually DO stalk. Their music is brilliant, such fun, kind of folky jazzy burlesquey and can be found here should you want to delight yourselves in their music. In fact I believe Angela has booked them again for the Pig in Bath but I am not telling you when as I don’t want it to sell out!!

These are the Brebis boys, brilliant chefs, front of house and misuser of their mum who helped when needed. They encouraged me to start blogging and for my blog to be about promoting local people not huge chains, and to be encouraging and positive wherever possible or not do it. In fact a lot of good chefs would pop in for food which is a great sign. Sadly Brebis is no more and it is a loss.

Henry and Joe (or Joe and Henry, I could never get it right) who set up a great restaurant in Newbury, struggled through Covid and now Henry (I think) runs a restaurant called Damson which has a great reputation but as I have only just started this blog again I havent been and as I always offer to pay I need to eke my visits out. @

Again another local couple who did Isidros, Phillipino street food of wonderment, their gyozas were eaten faster than they could make them and they did the most amazing chicken rice pot. Much missed. To be fair the younger of the two didnt do so much of the cooking it was Venus but I cant find her photo

Steve Groves who did the most amazing meal for us at his Parliament Square restaurant which my brother kindly paid for and we went to after my mother received her MBE. Stunning food and gracious man

God only knows who this rag tag lot are but they are having fun and I wish I was there. I still havent eaten at Toms restaurant or pub despite living really near but one day my time will come. Yes I am on Bumble and yes I can be persuaded with food! Just in case that doesn’t work I do enter all his Pirates competitions

Daniel Galmiche. So much I could write about this lovely man. His cooking is wonderful, his cookery books are well thumbed through and I could watch him on tv every day. He is passionate about his food and so many other things and he drives REALLY fast! He became Patron of the charity I ran and worked with some of the adults with learning disabilities which was brilliant although I think the female staff were more desperate for his attention than the others. And who can blame them. Please give him a tv programme!!

Now to John Campbell who kept The Woodspeen going through the epidemic and certainly sources locally and was growing a lot of their own food similar to Raymond Blanc (who I forgot to photograph). He also holds brilliant cooking courses that I attended with Sam Ferguson, my stepson, a fantastic personal trainer who also likes to cook. The tutoring of the fish course was excellent.

I went to The Crab in Chievely before the epidemic and this man walked out of the kitchen. I squealed like a little girl because it was Martin Blunos, chef of at least one restaurant in Bristol and another somewhere else and he was brilliant, so down to earth and such a great moustache!!

Thinking about it my first ever ever interview after I decided to do a blog was with Jean-Christophe Novelli at a country fair. He was incredibly kind to give me some of his time and it was, for me, a really nice interview with a knowledgeable man. I later talked to my son, Joe, who told me that he regularly produces and writes with Jeans daughter Christina Novelli! I wish I had known that BEFORE the interview.

I have missed off so many great chefs, Raymond Blanc, Roger Jones, Dom, Kiran, Tom et al, it is a long list and we are so lucky to have so many great chefs trying to feed us great food but we need to use them or lose them. And if you want company give me a ring!

I also have a really BAD picture of Jay Rayner and me taken in Newbury. Not rude just unflattering. I may put it up for auction for donations to Purley Park Trust, a charity for over 70 people with learning disabilities, that desperately needs funding and I am their fundraiser so feel free to donate here (I should probably ask him first).

This is early days back to writing for me after a fairly drastic departure and the style may be a little different but if youi have made it this far I would love it if you liked and shared this post. I am new back and very needy.

Finally, my favourite Octopus suit, why, because I can.

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