As au­tumn draws in, warm your cock­les with this Bri­tish clas­sic — and our ex­pert knows the finest com­fort­ing recipe

Esquire (UK) - - Style -

I’ve stolen my wife’s recipe, be­cause when some­thing is this good, you don’t im­prove it. You just copy it

In the food world there have been some tasty spats be­tween chefs claim­ing copy­cat ten­den­cies in ri­vals. Who can for­get Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion cake, an ex­act replica of the one made four years pre­vi­ously for Barack Obama by star baker Duff Gold­man? The pla­gia­rist in this in­stance, Tif­fany MacIsaac, ad­mit­ted rip­ping off Gold­man, but in her de­fence re­vealed that Trump had de­manded an ex­act copy.

Now why doesn’t that sur­prise me?

In the UK, award-win­ning Lon­don restau­rant Flat Iron, a bril­liantly con­ceived steak­house, was left flab­ber­gasted last year when a Manch­ester restau­rant opened its doors of­fer­ing an iden­ti­cal menu, us­ing iden­ti­cal table­ware, same serv­ing boards, same plates, same sig­na­ture cleaver, iden­ti­cal word­ing, same pric­ing... the sim­i­lar­i­ties were breath-tak­ing. But the copy­cat steak­house, Featherblade, de­nied any wrong­do­ing. With re­mark­able chutz­pah, it claimed the iden­ti­cal ideas were all its own and any sim­i­lar­ity was a co­in­ci­dence. Twit­ter went men­tal. A cou­ple of na­tional restau­rant crit­ics de­manded a boy­cott. (Google it and see what you think.)

Which brings me to this month’s recipe. It’s clas­sic, like all my of­fer­ings this year, but

I’ve stolen it. That’s right, I’m a pla­gia­rist, pure and sim­ple, and the per­son I’ve ripped off is my wife. It’s her recipe for fish pie, be­cause when some­thing is as good as this, you don’t try to im­prove it. You just copy it.

Rus­sell Nor­man

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