Thursday 1st May 2003 11:48
Rumour about Marco and BHS is a little White lie
It seems that rumours that the ubiquitous Marco Pierre White is to sign with department store BHS are wildly exaggerated.
The misunderstanding has arisen because a paparazzo's photograph in OK! magazine pictured White at a charity bash with business partner Robert Earl and Earl's mate Philip Green - the man behind BHS. A source close to the great chef said quite categorically: "The rumours are not true. It was just a photo of the three of them partying together."
Then came a mischievous afterthought: "But it's not out of the question."
Price war leaves hotelier ploughing a lone furrow
A dispute over the pricing of a ploughman's lunch has caused quite a stir in the otherwise tranquil lanes of Lower Slaughter in Gloucestershire.
Roy Vaughan, owner of the Washbourne Court hotel, has accused trustees at the local village hall of poaching his customers by selling a ploughman's lunch for only £3.50 - less than one-third of the hotel's price of £10.95.
Needless to say, local ploughmen have been voting with their wallets.
Desperate to win back the business, Vaughan has even offered the hall's trustees a small patch of land to extend their toilet facilities as an incentive to stop selling the cut-price dish. But they've refused to budge.
"We only sell snacks five or six times a year on bank holidays," sniffed David Boehm, chairman of the hall's trustees. "We're hardly in competition with the hotel."
Poor Vaughan is now suffering worse indignities. He claims that, because of the controversy over the ploughman's lunches, the hall's chiefs have blown the whistle on his shed, which is 2ft higher than planning permission allows. So he now has the planning authorities to contend with too. Expensive ploughman's!
Faggots light up Pern's masterclass address
Andrew Pern's culinary masterclass at this year's Caterer & Hotelkeeper Chef Conference stunned his audience - briefly - into silence.
Was it because of the veritable feast of information about sourcing local products such as wild garlic leaves, gooseberry gin and Yorkshire honey? No - far more fundamental than that. "You all know how much we like our old faggots up north," he opined, as he cooked the meaty balls to accompany a braised blade of pork.
Schwab's shaggy dog story is a sore point
And talking of balls... It's amazing what people want to share with a room full of strangers.
At this year's Chef Conference, Germain Schwab was talking delegates through his Chinese-roasted beef dish with sloe gin sauce, when he suddenly broke into a story about when he went sloe-picking with his dog. Back in the car, sack of sloes by his side, he realised there was a lot of blood everywhere. After quickly checking himself, he took a look at his dog and discovered that his furry friend had several large sloe thorns stuck in his testicles.
Pity the poor creature - because 350 guffawing chefs didn't.