I’ve never rated the Daily Telegraph’s Jasper Gerard as a restaurant critic. While better than the flanelled fool who preceded him, he’s not just convincing; his overwhelming self-absorbtion cancels out any impression that he’s passing on useful information to the common man.
In yesterday’s Weekend section, he proved the point once and for all. In the supposed interest of his readers, he escorted the Michelin-starred Heston Blumenthal to Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing’s restaurant at the Berkeley Hotel. Once there, Heston dispensed with the menu, telling the waiter: “Please just bring whatever Marcus wants to cook us”.
Hot carrot soup in shot glasses; pan-fried foie gras with peach, honey, amaretti, black olive and peach jelly; scallops and cod confit with cauliflower, smoked corals, macadamia nuts and shallot dressing … all sorts of culinary wonders followed. The bill was £318.37 for the two of them. For lunch.
It’s hard to think of a more pointless exercise. One world-famous chef cooking personally for another world famous chef at extraordinary cost … it’s no wonder the food was described by the dribbling Gerard as “a feast I can gain great pleasure just dreaming about”.
But how on earth does that inform the average reader? As a restaurant review, it’s more akin to an unseemly display of gastronomic willy-waving. And a complete and utter waste of space and money.