Suite dreams

Chefs hate it, hotel guests love it. There’s something about room service that turns a simple club sandwich and fries into a feast

Utterly courgettable

‘There’s nothing worse than an allotment-keeper friend offering a trug of tasteless, surplus cucurbits’

The gravy boat sinks

‘We may like our tableware clean and austere but spare a thought for the gravy boats, fish knives and serving plates of old’

illustration by Richard Allen of a monk doing self-flagellation
©Richard Allen

Eaten up with guilt

Roll on February and an end to New Year’s nutritional self-flagellation

A pincer movement

Shellfish are seen as a luxury these days. But do the lobsternomics add up for the consumer as well as the restaurateur?

A phone with a voice

‘Like EM Forster’s Baedeker-clutchers, travellers glued to their gadgets will miss out. But when you get tripe-sandwich cravings in Florence . . .’

The cult of inconsistency

The odd blip – whether in a Chelsea bun or a Blumenthal dish – tells you a real human is at work

Art on the menu

From Picasso to Banksy, artists have long decorated restaurants – but to what purpose?

Red-hot blanks about to be cooled in oil
©David Severn

How to make your own knife

For cooks, buying one is serious business - crafting your very own is even more so. A workshop in Derby shows how to make a superb kitchen tool

Open kitchen at Barrafina
©Paul Winch-Furness

Barrafina, Covent Garden, London

‘The skewers of big grilled chunks of loin of Ibérico pig are the sort of bar snacks they serve in Valhalla’

Cornish delight: Rick Stein’s halo effect

The cult is inescapable in the town of Padstow but the burgeoning popularity of dozens of other talented chefs offers hope

Toto’s and Artusi, London

Nothing is going to get in the way of an evening that runs like a speedboat crossing the Lido

64 Degrees, Brighton

‘This shows all the riotous, sexy joy of a tapas joint in backstreet Barcelona’

The egg race

Do not be fooled by scrambled eggs – they are a serious test of the serious cook’s skills

A nation of laminators

The British love of petty authority and ‘polite notices’ has no place in a restaurant

Five fashionable foodie ingredients

It’s time to get ahead of the next big food fads, from black garlic to Sriracha hot sauce

The end of the affair

Food and courtship was once a simple equation. But modern dining mores don’t exactly put couples in the mood for love

Food for the boys

‘Egotarian’ modern cooking is all about the chef – and female food lovers are not impressed

Food Writer of Year

Tim Hayward has won the top prize in the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards. Read this week’s column here

Eat our words

The food world has developed its own absurd language. Like jargon used in the art world, it risks alienating the real audience