Everybody wants to open a restaurant and to write a book. Nick Lander told me that a couple of years ago — he was quoting one of the Roux brothers — and it has stuck with me. It crosses my mind every time I meet someone new, tell them I have a restaurant and feel my shoulders perk up a bit.
It was an eviscerating year for us and our industry but I have never felt so proud to tell people that I am in the restaurant business. I have loved seeing the kindness of people: restaurants utilising empty kitchens and surplus stock to cook for local NHS trusts and the vulnerable in their communities; staff coming together to save businesses; employers doing their best to look after their teams.
I’m proud of the creativity and resilience of so many in restaurant land: Michelin-starred kitchens slinging pizzas and burgers, and glitzy dining rooms turning into delis. Food deliveries have never been so good. Look no further than these pages’ Ravinder Bhogal and her dreamy takeaway offering, which is so appropriately named, “Comfort and Joy”. Because this is what we do in our industry: we adapt, we pivot, we become more efficient, when we thought we couldn’t possibly be, and we do it with style — bringing comfort and joy.
This year we have to adapt to a more intimate Christmas but make it better than ever. Chicken instead of turkey but a fancy, designer chicken from a chi-chi butcher, carefully roasted with an exquisite fruit-and-nut stuffing and all the trimmings — the potatoes crisper than ever and the sprouts meltingly soft. And if we do it all on one tray, it’s not because we want to save on the dishes, it’s just how we do it in the biz.
For the pear and cashew stuffing
For the tray vegetables
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