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Jubilee can showcase the rise of British hospitality

01 June 2012 by
Jubilee can showcase the rise of British hospitality

Much has changed in British hospitality since the Queen was crowned in 1953.

The United Kingdom has always been a state in which the lucky few can expect top-quality service, but the same could not always be said of the industry as a whole.

Back in 1953 the Savoy put on the most lavish ball seen in post-war Britain to celebrate the Jubilee. A star- studded guest list paid the equivalent of £262 for the privilege of attending the opulent evening, at which they were served the finest produce available by head chef August Laplanche.

Elsewhere, however, the standards were not as exacting. Raymond Postgate, the late founder and editor of the Good Food Guide, described the industry back then as an "unending and never-varying sequence of sullen and ill-managed hotels and unfriendly restaurants, serving over-cooked meats and sodden vegetables, with no flavours but those that came out of a bottle".

As the hospitality industry prepares for one of the biggest weekends of the year (with potentially a greater effect on operators than the London Olympics) we look at how far food and drink has come in the 60 years since the Queen's ascension.

Customer have now come to expect - and in the main receive - the best hospitality and freshest food, be it in a casual-dining site or a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Meanwhile, pubs have changed beyond recognition. There may be some 20,000 fewer than in 1952 but the food offer has come some way from pork scratchings and pickled eggs.

So as the entire country prepares to celebrate, it is more than likely they will do so in one of the UK's hotels, pubs and restaurants, enjoying the best of British hospitality.

By James Stagg

E-mail your comments to James Stagg here.

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