December 2, 2011 10:10 pm

Let’s do lunch: Dine with an FT writer

Bidding is now open for the FT’s auction of great lunches with great writers, in support of Sightsavers

Bidding is now open for the FT’s auction of great lunches with great writers, in support of Sightsavers. The accompanying photo of FT fashion editor Vanessa Friedman, at the equally glamorous setting of The Modern at MoMA in New York, shows just one of some two dozen excellent pairings between food and company.

Le Bernardin, the renowned fish restaurant on West 51st Street, will host the FT’s US managing editor, Gillian Tett. In Hong Kong David Pilling, our Asia bureau chief, will meet his guest at The Principal, the new restaurant opened by Paulo Pong. In Paris Simon Kuper will take lunch at Il Vino, the wine restaurant created by Enrico Bernardo, while Quentin Peel, our man in Berlin, is as exciting a lunchtime companion as chef Christian Lohse’s menu at Fischers Fritz at The Regent Hotel.

In London, Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor and an avid cyclist, will join the successful bidder for impeccable food, wine and service at Le Gavroche under the aegis of Michel Roux Jr, an equally avid marathon runner.

For cricket, food and wine lovers there is the chance to catch up with Matthew Engel, Rowley Leigh and Jancis Robinson at Le Café Anglais, L’Anima and The Ledbury, respectively. Skylon in the Southbank Centre, Koffmann’s in Knightsbridge, The Ivy in Covent Garden and Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park will play host to the opinions of columnists Lucy Kellaway and Mrs Moneypenny, Gillian de Bono, the editor of How To Spend It magazine, and Caroline Daniel, FT Weekend editor.

Aside from the significant contribution these lunches make to the future work of Sightsavers, both luncher and lunchee gain insights into each other.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be bid for by Yves-André Istel, a senior adviser at Rothschild, New York. While he and his wife were delighted by the Portuguese wine proposed by sommelier João Pires at Dinner in the Mandarin Oriental, (as well as the opportunity to meet Heston Blumenthal), I was even more impressed by his story of quite how narrowly his family had escaped the Nazis when they were living in Paris in the late 1930s. Our conversation was as fascinating as the food.

For full details of the FT lunchers, the restaurants they are paired with, and terms and conditions of the auction, go to more information on Sightsavers and the FT’s coverage of the charity go to

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