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Table talk

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Table Talk is edited by Ben Walker Contact him at

Marines star in Rock horror pitch-up show

Alfred Rodriguez, head chef of the Rock hotel in Gibraltar, caused a bit of a rumpus last week when he held a fishing competition on a Gibraltar beach. A team of Royal Marines had been due to land on the beach but, when they saw Rodriguez and his fishermen, decided to move further round the coast. To their embarrassment, the change of plan meant they accidentally landed in Spain instead of Gibraltar, where they were met by two policemen. Immediately realising their error, the heavily armed troops were forced to make a quick retreat.

English? Where’s the pizza, Coke, burgers and French fries?

School children in Japan are to get a taste of shepherd’s pie, toad in the hole and chicken soup to give them an education in English cuisine. Saitama, one of the host cities of the World Cup, is introducing the cuisine of various participating nations at school lunches. Officials of the city, just north of Tokyo, said that 86 elementary and 47 junior high schools will take part in the programme.

No frosty response from Friel

Some chefs are renowned for their short fuses but La Bonne Auberge’s executive chef, David Friel, in Glasgow, should not be counted among them. During a hectic Friday lunchtime, when he had 100 diners to take care of, a call was received in his kitchen from a woman who wanted to speak to the chef. As plates clattered around him, the woman explained that she had just made a pot of soup and wanted to freeze it but, as she was in a hurry to go out and meet friends for coffee, wanted to know if it could be frozen while still hot. Tempting as it was to tell her what to do with the soup in more graphic terms, Friel was the perfect gentleman and explained what should be done.

Being rather stuck-up about it

A Manhattan chef is refusing to rename a dish he has called Viagra ceviche despite accusations that it violates drug manufacturer Pfizer’s trademark. Douglas Rodriguez says Pfizer sent him a letter saying the seafood dish “trivialised the serious medical condition” that Viagra treats. Rodriguez says that he will challenge any action to change the name of the dish, which is a mix of clams, mussels, calamari, conch, shrimp and merzula. He told the New York Post: “I’m not just gonna change the name. I’m talking to my lawyer. That’s my best-selling ceviche. What am I gonna do? Call it the Lead in the Pencil ceviche?” Viagra ceviche has been on the menu since his restaurant, Chicama, opened in 2000, but he claims that Pfizer contacted him about the dish only last week.

She’s got her excuse off pat

Chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright had a rather unfortunate accident when she attempted to go hunting on the North Yorkshire Moors last week. Dickson-Wright, who co-hosted the Two Fat Ladies television cookery show with her late friend, Jennifer Paterson, slipped on a cow pat, injuring her elbow. As a result, she was unable to attend the Great British Pudding competition at London’s Westminster Kingsway College, where she was supposed to have been a judge.

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