UK pub grub 'better than French food'

I think not
By Nina Caplan, Metro

21 November 2005

Think of French restaurants and you think of great food? Well, think again. According to one of the world's leading food experts, you'd be better off heading to the nearest British pub.

Egon Ronay's 2006 Guide to the Best Restaurants And Gastropubs In The UK claims British pub grub is better than many traditional bistros in France.

He said pub staff gave customers a warmer welcome than 'surly' waiters on the other side of the Channel and often produced food of restaurant standards despite having 'cramped' kitchens and overburdened cooks.

The guide states: 'The great importance and the greatest difference from French bistros - which strike you as soon as you cross the threshold - lie in the immediate friendliness and heartiness of the welcome, often by the family of the proprietor.

Though around for some time they are a phenomenon having spread explosively with a surprisingly high standard of cooking and a warm-hearted atmosphere - altogether the biggest change in the catering scene in my 50 years' experience as a restaurateur and critic.'

Mr Ronay said it disproved French president Jacques Chirac's scathing comments about British food made during the battle to land the 2012 Olympics.

The guide names The Star in Harome, North Yorkshire, as Gastropub Of The Year 2006 and China Tang at The Dorchester, in London, Restaurant Of The Year 2006. Its findings are based on anonymous inspections of 430 gastropubs - which applies to pubs serving food and draught beer.
British food is the best in the world.

A British restaurant that serves bacon and egg ice cream has been voted the best place in the world to eat. The Fat Duck restaurant, near London, was at the top of Restaurant magazine’s list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The owner and head chef Heston Blumenthal opened his restaurant ten years ago. He has quickly developed a reputation for experimental and unique dishes. His menu includes leather, oak and tobacco chocolates, sardine on toast sorbet, snail porridge, and mousse dipped in liquid nitrogen. He taught himself how to cook and is now famous for this new style of cooking, which is called “molecular gastronomy”. It mixes chemistry, physics, food and flavour to make unusual taste combinations. Britain, the home of fish and chips, is famous for tasteless and boring food. However, it seems things are changing: in addition to the Fat Duck’s award, London was named in March by Gourmet magazine as the Gourmet Capital of the World.

Top ten world restaurants:
1. The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire
2. El Bulli Montjoi, Spain
3. The French Laundry, Yountville, California
4. Tetsuya’s, Sydney, Australia
5. Gordon Ramsay, London
6. Pierre Gagnaire, Paris
7. Per Se, New York
8. Tom Aikens, London
9. Jean Georges, New York
10. St John, London
Britain had more restaurants in the top 50 than Italy, France and the US combined.

Of the top 10, 4 are British, 3 are American, 1 is Australian, 1 is French, 1 is Spanish and 0 are Canadian.

Only 1 French restaurant in the top 10, but FOUR British ones? Zut alors! And who says French food is good?

Somerset sausage and potato casserole

by the British Potato Council
Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

15ml/1 tblsp vegetable oil
8 large Cumberland sausages
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 large waxy potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
15ml/1 tblsp plain flour
300ml/ 1/2 pint Somerset dry cider
1 red skinned eating apple, quartered and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the oil and fry the sausages for 5 minutes.
2. Using a slotted spoon transfer the sausages to a casserole dish.
3. Add the celery, onion, leek and potato to the oil and fry for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and continue to cook for 1 minute.
5. Gradually add the cider then pour over the sausages with the apple. Season to taste.
6. Cover and cook for 50 minutes.
7. Serve on apple mash.
And it was British Food Fortnight from 24th September to 9th October 2005.

From Scottish smoked salmon to Cornish clotted cream, the British larder is stacked full of delectable, high quality produce, the envy of many a nation. Yet, perhaps the old adage that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ holds some truth, for British produce – and British food in general – still seems to suffer from something of an inferiority complex at home.

The aim of British Food Fortnight is to get the message across that, when it comes to food, British often means best. During the two weeks it runs, the Fortnight's organisers will be calling on food producers, retailers, restaurants, pubs and tourism outlets to help nurture a renaissance in the pleasures of preparing and eating regional British food and drink. This year, schoolchildren are the focus of much of the activity. Schools are being invited to include food-related lessons within their curricula.

British Food Fortnight's organisers, in association with the Department for Education & Skills and the Department of Health, have put together a resource pack for teachers which has been made available to 28,000 schools in England and Wales. In addition, numerous retailers, chefs and visitor attractions are offering their support by hosting a series of events and talks aimed at students.

The Fortnight is focusing its attention on inspiring people to learn more about seasonal, locally produced food

As well as teaching young people about the pleasures of eating good food, the Fortnight is focusing its attention on inspiring people to learn more about seasonal, locally produced food. There are lots of ways that you can get involved. The Fortnight's organisers have come up with 14 things that consumers can do to support British food - one for each day of the Fortnight. These range from cooking a British meal for friends to seeking out seasonal produce and and exploring the regional food of Britain. (external - login to view) . . .
I think not
Send an email to Chirac, I'm sure he would love to hear this
The English have always been known for their appetizing meals (of sheep innards and weeds.)
Bangers and mash by any other name...

I can enjoy British pub food occasionally with a pint of black and tan but I wouldn't like to have it as a steady diet. I have no doubt there are many fine restaurants in Jolly Old, but I also know there are great restaurants in Canada as well. We are off the beaten track for many but that is their loss.

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