FOR THE NEXT COURSE… Appetising projects from a trio of leading female chefs
the female chefs flying high with new culinary ventures
seemed to me, almost, that my father had got to where he was by climbing upon my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and had left mew ith nothing but the empty fame of being his son.’
But Ann Thwaite stresses that Christopher Robin Milne went on to have a happy life. He did, after all, agree to Thwaite’s biography – though in part because she wasn’t ‘a Winnie-the-Pooh fanatic’. Now the section of her book that covers the timeline of the film is published as a companion piece, with an introduction from one of the scriptwriters, Frank Cottrell Boyce.
Boyce was drawn to the story, he says, because ‘it’s so famous, it’s currency for all of us – and so it is a really good way to talk about the relationship between fathers and children. Milne entered his son’s world so completely – every sentence of the books is like a child talking, but it’s also incredibly poised. Through that window, through sharing that with Christopher Robin, Milne was able to enter every nursery, every childhood, as well.’ And Boyce finds Christopher Robin’s later life very poignant: ‘He was trapped in that childhood. Christopher Robin did grow up; and nobody wanted him to. I recognise that as a dad – that desire to be part of their world, the desire for them never to grow up.’
Thwaite may not describe herself as a Winnie-the-Pooh fanatic, but there are plenty who are, and they will have a fabulous year; for towards Christmas there is another treat in store. The V&A will be hosting ‘Winnie-thePooh: Exploring a Classic’, which will examine the partnership between Milne and the illustrator EH Shepard, whose drawings are so indelibly associated with the books. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Milne’s characters are so enduring: for all his doubts about the nature of his fame, he must have known the power of his work. For as he wrote: ‘In that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.’ ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin: AA Milne and the Making of Winnie-the-Pooh’ by Ann Thwaite, with a preface by Frank
Cottrell Boyce (£ 8.99, Pan) is published on 21 September.
‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ is in cinemas from
The former head chef of Pidgin earned the restaurant a Michelin star, and now plans to open her own venture, Shibui, pairing British produce and Asian flavours with the art of the
wood-fired grill (www. kaizenhouse.co.uk/shibui). CLARE SMYTH As the chef-patron of Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous restaurant, Clare Smyth won three Michelin stars. Her highly anticipated project, Core, serves Modern British fare with elegant flair (www. corebyclaresmyth.com). RUTH ROGERS The enduring appeal of the River Cafe is thanks to the talent and tenacity of Ruth Rogers, who set up the restaurant with the late
Rose Gray. She’s celebrating its 30th anniversary with a brilliant cookbook. ‘River Cafe 30’ (£28, Ebury Press).
Left: The Folio Society’s edition of ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’, illustrated by EH Shepard. Below: a still from the new film, ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’