Category General thoughts

Your call’s unimportant to us

So you’ve decided to come to our restaurant. We’re delighted and hope that you’ll leave happy at the end of your visit. Of course, the food has to be good. It helps if it’s as least as good as expected and is a definite positive contribution if it exceeds expectations. However, if the service is […]

The critical nature of restaurants

“Who does this Oldfield bloke think he is?” you might ask. An engineer writing about food is surely about as relevant as the pope pontificating about marriage. Ah, but here’s the rub. Do you really need to be experienced in something to be an expert in it? His Holiness will be surrounded by advisers full […]

Fish stocks

Studies and surveys might drive you mad but they’re also a great source of inspiration; particularly for an aspiring columnist with few original ideas of his own. If I find myself bereft of inspiration for an article about food I only need to open a newspaper to read that there’s been a new study that […]

We all ate all the pies

In the words of the the mighty Monty Pythons: what did the Romans ever do for us? Roads? They just created congestion. Central heating? It’s over-used and has made us soft. Aqueducts? Hardly needed when there’s bottled water. Pies? What do you mean you didn’t know the Romans brought us pies? It may have been […]

We should be ashamed

The debate about food banks bothers me. It’s a very emotional subject, rightly so, but there are aspects of the whole food bank subject that make me uncomfortable; and not just because people are suffering. The fact that we obviously need food banks is a very sad indictment on what we consider a modern, civilised […]

Get the portion size right

So, how do we get fat? I always thought that it was fairly straightforward: you like your food too much, put an excessive amount on your plate and therefore shovel down more fuel than you’re actually going to use. As a result it then gets stored on your stomach and fewer members of the opposite […]

Jeremy Vine and the North East

About four years ago, out of the blue, I received a call from the Jeremy Vine Radio 2 programme. For some reason they wanted to ask how the news of the Corus steelworks closing was going to affect business. I’m not clear why they picked on me but it might have been because they also […]

Mobile phones in restaurants

Mobile phones have changed the world. I know hardly anyone without one these days; even most diehards who, two or three years ago, swore they’d never get one are now surfing the web and texting while on the go. It’s been an incredible revolution over, I guess, the last 20 years. I had my first […]

Feeding the parents

I always had the best of relationships with my parents-in-law. They were wonderfully down to earth Yorkshire folk who liked to laugh, loved their family and really enjoyed their food. Father-in-law particularly loved his grub – it was one of his favourite pleasures. Like many people, for him eating was something to be enjoyed and […]

Delivered to your door

Sometimes a knock on the door is the last thing you want to hear. You’re busy, you’re in the bath, you’re getting ready to go out. We’ve all been there, one foot in your pants, hair dripping wet, trying to find your car keys. One of the worse things it can be is the postman […]