Nibbles at No. 10 (2 May 12)
A morning like most but an afternoon like no other.
Clearly we aren’t disciples of Michelin, or ambassadors of the finest kitchens in the land (or Ferrero Rocher for that matter). So it was with one foot heavier than the other that I set forth on that well-trodden journey to London.
Here I would meet the Prime Minister or at least enjoy being graced by the black door of all doors – No. 10 Downing Street. After sitting with my umbrella, though it had yet to rain, opposite the Cenotaph I decided to make my move and join the small orderly queue with a most unordinary bunch of men and the odd lady. It was here that security searched our every move and compartment, maintaining safety to PM and country throughout. I had been invited with 150 other guests, all immediately recognisable, to celebrate Food is GREAT Britain - put together by our friends at the SRA (the Sustainable Restaurant Association).
Being of neither fame, fortune or familiarity with either the address or those attending, I enjoyed the moment as a bystander almost feeling as though I had stumbled into the wrong wedding, deciding that it was far better than my own and subsequently pitching up. It was a shock as everyone was off the telly, almost suggesting this was the emperor’s ball and I had come to polish the bannisters. One almost expected the likes of Yul Brynner to be standing in tights with rolled parchment to hand announcing with gusto the arrival of each great one.
The roll call was most definitely a who’s who of the great, glorious and infamous of the restaurant world. National treasures and international icons roamed like the last great beasts of Africa but happily there was no locking of horns, just solidarity at the watering hole. Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein, Angela Hartnett, Fergus Henderson, Prue Leith, Atul Kochhar, Ruth Rogers, Ferran Adrià, Michel Roux, AA Gill, Fay Maschler, Jay Rayner, and the list goes on. Sadly I cannot name all as the blog would never end. They were all here to extol the virtues of British food with a pout and a shout championing all that is local and sustainable today and it was here that I suddenly remembered why we had been invited. Wild card or not, it was a lovely day out in the company of those who we have all come to know so well but yet to meet until today.