There’s always next year!

Sorry, folks! We missed it! There is absolutely no excuse except that of not paying attention. Sunday July 21st just slipped by and the opportunity to celebrate National Ice Cream Day has been missed. But, there’s always next year to look forward to – to study what your and your friend’s preferences are. Because it appears that the ice cream you like can reveal what type of person you are. Yes, ice cream can betray your personality. It’s a much more civilised method of revealing things than swilling some tea leaves around the bottom of a cup. Tastier too!

Image: Gabriel

Image: Gabriel

What wasn’t missed, though, was Tom Kerridge being crowned the winner of the best restaurant in the 2013 National Restaurant Awards race. The awards recognize the best 100 places to eat out at in the UK. They get 150 industry experts to go and judge and then cast votes. The full list of awards is a who’s who of the culinary world in the UK with some famous names featured and some special awards too. But spare a thought for the bloke who had to cater for that prizegiving event. Was he nominated?

As an aside, and not taking anything away from Tom’s award for his Hand & Flowers pub-restaurant, one wonders what makes a person the “industry expert” that they send out to test the culinary talents of each nominee. Is it a person who is a celebrity in the food world, like Matthew Fort, or is he too recognizable and would send the restaurant into a spin if he walked in? Or someone like Mike Berry, who reported on Tom’s win? Either way, it would be nice to get a phone call someday and be asked, “could you please visit this list of restaurants and have a main and a dessert, fill out a score sheet for us, and we’ll pick up the tab. But we want an honest opinion and we don’t want them to know you’re marking them.” It would be nice …

One of the quirkier trends that has developed is that of presenting a dish that’s not quite what it seems. Heston Blumenthal did this very successfully with his feasts where the guests ate money, tableware and meat disguised as fruit! And recently there have been more of these types of presentations from other chefs designed to fool the diner into thinking they are going to be getting one thing but the reality is totally different.

Baker Louise Caola seems to be following Heston’s lead, and pretty good her creations look too. Her stocktaker would need to be kept in the picture though. It wouldn’t do to have them counting and costing a couple of joints of beef when in fact they’re just decorated cakes. That could throw the whole profit margin out. Another challenge for Jon Rutter and his teams: make sure that what’s in the store is what it really is – it must be a nightmare round at Heston or Louise’s place.

And the character that ice cream reveals? Tom Kerridge might fancy the chocolate-chip-cookie-dough (competitive), while Heston and Louise the chocolate, to go with their dramatic presentations. Stocktakers? Probably the rainbow sherbet – analytic!

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