Wish List – 2013

My monthly Wish List rumbles on; a decadent ‘To Do” list that plays a totally non-vital role in my life. Restaurants, events and recipes are ticked off, when not otherwise overtaken by more spontaneous feasting. Long may that continue.

I like to think I treat my yearly Wish Lists with similar apathy. Yet, looking back at the last two (here and here), maybe they did, in fact, play an influential part in the way I chose to cook and eat out over the twelve months that followed them. Or maybe they were just flagging the obvious.

Whichever it is, I thought I’d do another one.

So, as a cross between a New Year predictor-type diatribe and a macro “To Do” list, in 2013 I hope to enjoy some or all of the following:

1. Whole Animal events

One of the more interesting dining experiences of 2012 was “Beef Cartel”, an evening in which the menu was based entirely on the carcass of one cow. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a few more of these events in 2013, and I’m all for it: whether as a one off, or every weekend. A couple of lamb, served 5 ways over the course of a day; a whole pig, half used in an evening, the rest made into sausages, bacon, brawn and so on to pre-order and collect a few days or weeks later; cows divided into 6 or 7 types of dishes, yours until that dish runs out; a whole wild sika deer, butchered, then cooked in front of you.

This kind of event promotes working relationships between chefs and small producers; it improves chefs’ knowledge of farming practices, sourcing and product quality, which can only be beneficial to their cooking (and our eating); it promotes the utilisation of the whole animal above using only the prime cuts; it encourages ingenuity; and all of these things should benefit us, the eaters.

2. New restaurants

The only summary of London’s restaurant scene in 2012 that you really need is: some restaurants opened; many were great, some were not so great; some took bookings, but at others we needed to queue; some menus were based on small sharing plates, some provided only a set menu option, others only served one type of food, a few were far more traditional; some had evolved from the street, others were derivations of successful indie restaurants, and others were backed by well established restaurateurs and private equity. And people tweeted about it.

The same will happen in 2013. Goodo.

I am mostly looking forward to the new restaurants where the food is cooked and served by the individuals behind the venture. It looks like there are lots of brands and offshoots of big name restaurants coming over the next twelve months. I’m not so bothered about those.

3. “Some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective” (Monsieur Anton Ego, 2007)

It is unlikely that this year’s big chef is actually the Messiah. His or her restaurant is not supposed to be a church. The only ‘trend’ of any real interest is good quality. 95 per cent of people working in hospitality are working hard and trying their best, so if you don’t have a great time, take a breath and don’t cry foul – it’s not the end of the world.

It’s just food, isn’t it.

4. A sea change in food media and literature

Lower the volume (in both senses) and increase the quality. Less is more.

I hope for: TV shows that don’t presume viewers are idiots; the replacement of wall-to-wall soundtracks, pointless voiceover and the glossy bish bash bosh barrage of  re-hashed bog-standard dishes, with considered, well-structured shows built around enticing recipes and useful information; fewer media and celebrity driven recipe books and more actual food ‘writing’ – whether online, in journals, weekend supplements or books; sensible, intelligent, thought-provoking documentaries and films.

5. A massive, rolled-over, non-shared Euromillions jackpot

And world peace.