Monday, 22 November 2010

News! Lots of it!

Last week was very exciting: I was thrilled to be named as one of London's 1000 most influential people by the Evening Standard. I got the thickest stiffest invitation I'd ever received, with my name in beautiful italic script, inviting me to the party at Millbank.

Just before leaving I realised that my pink tights* had multiple holes, I quickly darned them, hoping the sewing lines would not be noticed in the dark. I felt like a character in Little Women attempting to cover her shabby clothing at the ball.
Outside there was a short section of red carpet (they have to keep it short as Westminster won't allow it on their pavement).  I could see some photographers. I strode proudly into the middle of the carpet and waited. Quickly chastened by the complete absence of flash bulbs, I crept into the building where a door lady attempted to confiscate my invitation. After a few tugs which I resisted, I said "Please can I keep it? It's the poshest one I've ever got"
Upstairs, we were led into a glossy floor by British Airways ladies. I stood there, knowing nobody. In the corner I spotted Andrew Lloyd Weber, by the window Jeffrey Archer chatted to some suits. Gulping back two glasses of champagne rather quickly, I gathered my courage and thought 'Right I'm going to network'. I bounded up to Sir Philip Green and his daughter Chloe. I asked 'Are you Philip Greene?' in my nervousness leaving off his title. 
"No" he retorted.
I blathered on for a bit "I thought I'd say hello because we are all here to network aren't we?" to which he looked dubious, then even more inanely I spluttered "Is this your daughter, I've got a daughter" finally forcing my card upon him. I tried to shake his hand but it was kept firmly behind his back. Eventually I managed to grab hold of it and shake his hand. 
Morris from the Evening Standard, a beautifully dressed man who does the fashion, and therefore invited all the thin people to the event, declared just afterwards "I enjoyed watching that!".
I met the lovely Gizzie Erskine in the flesh: she's very tall with huge wings tattooed upon her shoulders. We had our picture taken, I quipped that she was 'cook yourself thin' and I was 'cook yourself fat'. She was off to the Boy George photography photography vernissage. She showed me his photo of her styled like Siouxie Sioux, it was brilliant.
Towards the end Boris Johnson and his sister Rachel turned up. The flashbulbs were pinging away especially when Karren Brady of The Apprentice joined them. I managed to hand my card to Boris and got my picture taken with him...wish I had a copy. I don't know who the photographer was.

Next: a cool new foodie site (wit, humour, recipes, interviews, food) named me blog of the week which was very gratifying.

Then, Thursday evening, I get yet another letter from Transport for London lawyers asking me to shut down because they have patented the word 'underground'. However they said I could use the name 'Kilburn Underground'. Surely that would lead to confusion? I'd get people turning up with their Oyster cards and expecting to be transported somewhere. Plus I'm open at weekends and as we all know, the Jubilee line has been shut most weekends for the last two years and it's expected to carry on for another six months. Good God, I seem to be jail bait for lawyers, after Warner Brothers warned me about putting on a Harry Potter night last year.

The Evening Standard have covered this latest story:

My book  Supper Club: recipes and notes from The Underground Restaurant is now available for preorder on It will be out at the end of March 2011.
The cover is really beautiful:

I have more stallholders coming to the Underground Christmas Market on December 5th. Please book tickets here.
Favours from French Made
Salad dressings from Mrs Monks
And finally, currently working on my Little House on the Prairie Thanksgiving meal which I shall blog about in detail later in the week.

*One of my few pairs that stay up. Really, the person that invents tights that don't roll down your tummy will be a millionaire. 


  1. Tabio tights. Lots of colours, and very comfy. Cost a fortune, but can take a good darning when they eventually wear through.

  2. Wow, that is a lot of news. Congratulations on all of it! Love the description of the party - and I'm so impressed by your confidence in bouncing up to all those people!
    Also, that London Underground thing is totally ludicrous!
    Now, I'm off to investigate Tabio tights... (As all the tights I've ever bought up to now are instruments of torture, as far as I can see!)

  3. FAB-U-LOUS!!!!
    About time too. Your contribution to food blogging, as well as recognition that your home restaurant is 'the original' (to which I would add 'and best') is long overdue.
    The book looks wonderful so I can't wait to see that, and SO looking forward to the Underground Market.
    Onwards and Upwards!!!

  4. Congratulations! Fabulously happy for you (except the prospect of strangers turning up at your home bearing oysters cards and an immediate need to travel, of course).

    You're a huge inspiration. I'm currently trying to set up an underground supper club in Tampa, Florida. Alas, people don't entirely get it.

    Can't wait to read the book.

  5. Betty, keep going. I've heard there are others in Florida.
    Register also on
    Have we listed you on our supperclub by location tab?

  6. Congratulations. I'm sure you'll see off TFL, just like you saw off that other lot.

  7. Thats fantastic! What a bloody achievement! I love the story telling hysterical! Phillip Green sounds charming! I want to ask lots of questions! Is Gizzy a rake and as drop dead gorgeous, does Boris dye his hair heehee!!

    Quite right about the jubilee line. In fact you've probably been open more this year at weekends then they have!

    Congrats again. Your an inspiration!

  8. I've registered and did a wee search, which produced just one other Florida based supper club in Miami (it looks fabulous). I'm going to keep at it. The hardest thing is gaining interest. People just haven't heard of the concept here. I'm sure if I could just get enough diners for the first couple, things would get into full swing. Argh!

  9. Excellent! Will pre-order a copy now!

  10. Well done!! You are so brave, I cant network to save myself,( unless blathering on counts as networking?)Got my book order in:) Love the cover, cant wait to read the contents. Those Tube twits really are dickheads, get a life people, good grief......??!
    Looking fwd to Little House post, no doubt the attention to detail will be worth the cost of the ingredients!:)

  11. Philip Green sounds like an arrogant pillock. very impressed at your networking tho - can't do that myself.

  12. Fantastic stuff, but when do you get time to breathe? I was breathless just reading your post. Amazing how people go to places to be seen and then treat people who say hello like they're carpet dust. Good on you.

    @Fiona: Ditto re Green

  13. Strangers bearing oysters would be more like it. Book on wish list. Congratulations.

  14. Love the networking post! I usually find myself concentrating very hard on my drink whilst peeking at the groups of other people who all seem to know each other. Well done for launching yourself at the Green! And well done for all the other good things too!

  15. Did you see that you were mentioned in the same sentence as the Fat Duck in the Guardian Weekend on Saturday (27th). I'm sure you've spotted it already.
    I'm loving seeing the rise and rise of your restaurant/blog!

  16. I know alexis, bloody hilarious isn't it! Well Heston often calls me up and asks for tips so it's understandable that we are bracketed together!


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