Cookery Writer of The Year
The most wonderful thing happened in March, less than eighteen months
after I arrived in England from Australia. The British Guild of Food
Writers gathered for their Annual Awards, and named me the Cookery
Writer of The Year.
I was presented with the award by Caroline Conran at the venerable
Simpson's at The Strand in London at an amusing lunch that featured
some of the very best roast potatoes I have had in my life.
The Wedgwood Awards
"You are invited to the Grand Final Celebration Dinner & Award Ceremony
of The World Master of Culinary Arts 2001 at the Hotel Intercontinental,
3 Rue de Castiglione, Paris on Thursday 16th April."
Oh, okay, I'm not doing anything that day.
So it's off to Paris on the Eurostar, the best thing to go between
France and England since they invented Champagne. There I am, hobnobbing
with Lord Wedgwood and Lady Wedgwood ( absolute delights), the Duchess
of York (very professional), and some of my favourite chefs in the
world - such as the Australian finalist, Neil Perry of Rockpool. I
saw Janni Kyritsis there too, from MG Garage in Sydney, and Guillaume
Brahimi of the Sydney Opera House, who was one of the Australian judges.
Raymond Blanc of Oxford's Le Manoir au 'Quatre Saisons (or Ray White
as the Poms like to call him) represented England, but we were all
convinced the French would rig it so that a Frenchman won. Well a
Frenchman won the French finals, of course, the very handsome Guy
Martin of Le Grand Vefour, but it was quite a surprise when my dinner
table companion, Thomas Keller of The French Laundry in the Napa Valley,
the American finalist, won the big award.
He made a charming and sensible speech, all the French people went
home, and the rest of us went to the bar.
For more info www.worldmasterofculinaryarts.com
I had a special interest in the Glenfiddich Awards this year, as my
favourite restaurant critic ( and favourite husband), Terry Durack,
was short-listed in two categories, that of Best Restaurant Critic,
and Best Food Writer, for his work in the Independent on Sunday Review
magazine and Food & Travel magazine.
The extremely professional occasion was held at the IMAX Theatre,
and it was good to catch up with the luminaries of the London food
world - Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers of The River Cafe, Gordon Ramsay,
Antony Worral-Thompson, Sarah-Jane Evans and Orlando Murrin of BBC
Good Food, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame, and
John Torode of Smith's of Smithfield. Hugh FW won Best Food Book for
the River Cottage Cook book, a terrifically sensible back-to-the-good-life
tome, and one of my favourite food writers Sybil Kapoor, won Magazine
Cookery Writer. It was a good night, although I could have told them
that IMAX Theatres are death to atmosphere and cameraderie - Terry
and I once held the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards at
The Imax in Sydney, and the auditorium killed the party atmosphere
(and that was a SYDNEY crowd!).
And I'm sorry, but a no-smoking venue for a media/restaurant crowd?
That's like telling them they can't sleep with each other.
Terry won neither of his categories, but we went out and celebrated
his two nominations all night at The Baltic ( bison vodka, salt beef
and vegetables) anyway. Hate to think what we would have done if he
For more info, www.glenfiddich.com
Gooey Chocolate Pudding Awards!
The lively crew on BBC Good Food Live ( cable) gave three new cook
books to their viewers to test three different chocolate puddings.
Simple Food was in good company, up against Nigel Slater and Fran
Warde. But guess which chocky pud came tops? My guess is its because
mine had more chocolate in it. For the winning recipe, click
here, then you'll find the Gooey Chocolate Pud.
Jill, Cookery Writer of the Year
(From left) Thomas Keller (USA), Neil Perry (Oz), Fulvio Pierangelini (Italy), Raymond Blanc (England), and Patrick Juhel ( Hotel Intercontinental, Paris)