“There seems to be a tendency among restaurant critics to moan about fine dining,” says food writer and commentator Fort. “That’s like saying, ‘I love the theatre but draw the line at Shakespeare.’ Like most people, I suspect, I revel in the theatre of fine dining and the sense of being cosseted it should give.” He states his case for fine dining on page 124. Fort has written for The Guardian, judges on BBC2’s The Great British Menu, and blogs at Fort on Food.
“Never let it be said that I won’t eat dangerous quantities of cannelloni and chips for a good story,” says the contributing editor, who provides both a culinary compendium and a glimpse into a London café of cultish status. “Immersing myself in the vibrant, chaotic world of family-run Italian café E Pellicci for a month was an exhausting joy; by the end, I’d picked up friends for life (and, quite possibly, heart disease).”
“When I travel to a new country, I fantasise about how to gain deep insights into the language, culture and history,” says writer Dunthorne. “And I am always disappointed. At the end of two months in Shanghai, I had profound knowledge of just one thing: the soup dumpling.” But that’s lucky for us, as he can tell us all about xiaolongbao on page 106. Dunthorne’s works include Submarine and his latest book, The Adulterants (Hamish Hamilton), is out now.