April 2004
 
Felix Hunt - a guide to etiquette

Greetings fellow epicurean warriors! Your 'emails' have been pouring in, many of which I have had my new young assistant 'print out' and read to me as I lie in my bath before bedtime. How his sonorous tones thrill me. Indeed I often have to ask him to refresh the bubbles that surge so playfully against my skin.

So many of you delightful people seem to be under the impression you have seen me during my forays into the outside world. Some claim to have rubbed up against me in Waitrose, but I am sure I would remember that. Perhaps not, I do often fall into a reverie as I select my sun-dried tomatoes from the inviting shelves.

Most of your correspondence deals with your concerns about etiquette in restaurants. As someone who frequently dined with the first Lady Diana Cooper I am something of an expert. Many were the times I was obliged to take Evelyn Waugh to one side (he was always hanging around in those days) and remonstrate with him about smoking before the loyal toast or some other such slip. He would snarl at me resentfully and threaten to satirise me in one of his thankfully now forgotten novels. But I knew where my duty lay.

So let me take some 'emails' at random and offer my advice to everyone who might be too delightfully shy to approach me directly. I have also asked my new assistant David, who is superbly fit and rather wonderfully working class, to add his own opinions. Firstly we have 'Peter' from somewhere called Manchester. I am assured it is a city in the Northern parts of England, one which I might have flown over when on my way to Balmoral for one of dear Lillibet's soirees.

'Dear Felix, I recently ate in a Michelin starred restaurant where I spent over £300 for a meal for two with wine. My soup was served out of a yoghurt pot, the main course was a testtube of brown liquid in a Styrofoam box and the wine was decanted into a specimen jar? Is this normal?' Peter

Dear Peter. If you are too dull to appreciate the delicious (literally) style and humour of a Michelin starred chef then it is as well that you do not live in London . Everyone knows that crockery is so last year and that a meal tastes better when liquidised and boiled down to a small puddle of broth. I eat all my meals at home this way and have never felt better. Regards Felix

Pete if someone tried that on with me know what I'd do? I'd nut the geezer. It's taking a liberty and no mistake. For that sort of price you could take a gang of mates (no wives) to Spearmint Rhino and have a really good time, know what I mean? Get real son. Dave

Now here is a letter from one of my favourite parts of the world, Knightsbridge

'Dear Felix. I am a minor member of the aristocracy. Since a little unpleasantness involving my collection of antique bedpans, their theft, my large insurance claim, the pans reappearance at my country seat and my subsequent incarceration I am unsure if polite society will now accept me in the best restaurants. What do you think?' James

Dear James. Some of the very best people have spent some time at Her Majesty's Pleasure. Those of us educated at an English boarding school find it quite congenial. In any case, insurance fraud is one of the things the aristocracy regards as perfectly acceptable to indulge in when a little low on funds, Think nothing of it. You will still be welcome. Felix

 Jimmy. Never mind the restaurants my son what you want to know is who grassed you up, know what I'm saying? Someone knew you had those pans in your country gaffe and that someone squealed to the filth. Find out who and give him a good kicking. Dave

 And finally, a letter from an unknown restaurateur/chef

Dear Felix. Despite having made a success of my restaurant empire, I worry that no one likes me. I am called overbearing, arrogant, smug, violent, untrustworthy and sadistic to my staff, There have also been some cruel comments about my resemblance to a boiled potato. When I eat at other restaurants I can feel my ears burning and waiters accidentally tip soup over me. What can I do?
Name withheld

Dear unknown correspondent. Quite frankly you sound perfect for a daytime TV show or perhaps, if you do really resemble a boiled potato, radio. In any case critics love a chef with what I believe is called attitude. When Marco Pierre White trussed me up and hung me upside down over the dustbins, I knew I had arrived. How I laughed as the paramedics sedated me and trundled me into A&E. Forget about cooking, simply fire a few more waiters, eject some more customers and have your wife file for divorce. You will be a star, mark my words Felix.

Unknown. No one respects a softy mate. Big Jim Richardson used to carve up one of his gang every week, sell the geezer's daughters into slavery and put the wife on the game. And do you know what? We all loved him for it. If you don't smack people about they start taking liberties, know what I mean? Old Felix needs a slap now and then himself. Mind you he seems to enjoy it. Don't ponce about mate, use the big stick. Dave

Well my dears I am quite exhausted now. David will take my notes and enter them into the Interweb for your delectation and improvement.

Hasta la vista babies.
Felix

email: felix.hunt@london-eating.co.uk