Forget Nigella, this woman is a domestic goddess...By Katie Dixon
May 15, 2009
By the time you read this you will probably all be quaffing champers by the gallon and mixing with the celeb chefs at the most exciting food event in the Thames Valley this year, but as I write it I’m just in a state of high excitement.
Having been housebound by a new baby, a four-year-old and with little help from the husband whom I no longer see (I don’t think he’s left me, he’s just working long hours – apparently there’s a credit crisis or a downturn or some kind of crunch going on)
I haven’t had much time for idle pastimes like shopping or eating and definitely not shopping and eating and star-spotting all in one glorious package.
But one fest I’m definitely not missing this year is Henley.
And it’s not the rowers I’m interested in or even the music, it’s the fantastic foodie treats that have got me all in a dither.
Firstly, although I pretend I’m really only interested in the food and not the personalities, blah blah blah, I’m so completely looking forward to mixing it with the culinary crème de la crème.
I’m very excited that Atul Kochar will be making an appearance, as well as John Campbell and Alan Murchison (I have met the latter two before, but always after a meal and the obligatory wine which accompanies it and so memories are, well, hazy to say the least) but it’s the appearance of Mary Berry which I am anticipating the most.
Forget Nigella, this woman is a domestic goddess of Delia proportions and her recipes ensured I was fed better than the average child growing up in 80s’ Britain. I still buy her cookbooks for my mother and enjoy the benefits every time I go to visit.
Speaking of celeb chefs and their impact on supposedly normal people (ie me) I was down in Cornwall at Easter, enjoying the weak English sunshine fully clothed on the beach (I’ll give you all a moment to recall countless childhood holidays of your own spent huddled behind a stripey windbreak, resolutely having fun) when we decided to break with convention, put the flask away and head to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen for a spot of well-deserved breakfast.
Having grown up in Cornwall too many years ago to mention, the swanky, exciting space was nothing like I was used to, but the staff were friendly, the menu not overpriced and the view, looking out over Watergate Bay, unrivalled.
What was odd though, was the behaviour of some of the diners. I could see necks craning, scanning the kitchen for any sign of Mr Oliver, and a family at a table next to us were taking pictures of themselves as though they were visiting the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben.
It seems Jamie Oliver has turned eating into a tourist attraction, even when he’s not there.
As we were leaving after a perfectly respectable, if small, fry-up, a well-dressed group arrived, chatting excitedly only to be turned away as they had missed the breakfast sitting. Oh well, said one, readjusting her sunglasses on top of her highlighted hair, we nearly did Jamie Oliver.
Worse than that love, you missed out on a really good fry-up.