Fleet Street hacks cook up blog sharing tales of adventures on assignment illustrated by gourmet meals eaten on expenses

Two former Fleet Street journalists have cooked up a blog detailing some of their adventures while on assignment, illustrated by the gourmet meals they managed to get on newspaper expenses in the glory days.

Allan Hall and his photographer sidekick Roger Allen are The Hungry Hacks, giving readers the inside story on tabloid exclusives such as Michael Barrymore’s “drink and drugs hell” and tales of visiting war-torn Bosnia in 1993 and having tea with the Taliban in 2005.

I know from personal experience covering the German-speaking region that you need to get up early to beat Berlin-based Allan Hall on a job.

I also learned he was at his best before lunchtime, getting faster as the inevitable long lunch approached, and the afternoons were never as productive.

The Hungry Hacks is a project that Allan has been talking about for a long time, but it was only as freelance work dried up that he had the chance to turn to his passion for food.

I never shared his obsession with the menus when we were out on jobs together, but it was clear that he loves all aspects of the gastronomic experience.

As he puts it himself on The Hungry Hacks: “The Street of Shame is now home to mortgage brokers, banks and acupuncturists.

“Large living for its erstwhile denizens, now scattered in pot-plant strewn, neon-lit, no-smoking hutches across the capital, gone the way of the carriage horse and the match girl, the wheeltapper, the shunter and the lamplighter.

“The Michelin-starred Gault Millau cosmos we once navigated is now denied to all but a few cossetted, highly-paid columnists and editors.

“Most newspapers now will pay for little more than an industrial-grade cheeseburger and a soft drink for dinner for the hacks still toiling at the coalface. The licence to M&G – Misbehave and Gorge – in parts exotic has been withdrawn for most.

“After our gargantuan slap-up feeds and fermented grape-juice benders we would eke from proprietors, chefs, waiters and street food sellers the secrets of their recipes, those culinary twists and turns which transform food from mere nourishment into something ambrosial.

“Along the way we honed our kitchen skills with cooking courses and a collection of books from which one could create fine dining for 1,000 years.

“So this is it. High living in hard times, great food on a budget that won’t break the bank.

“This is our time-travel log, one where the Tardis of taste is guaranteed to always land somewhere gastronomically worthy, to bring you a smidgen of the table glories we once enjoyed.”

Picture: thehungryhacks.com


14 thoughts on “Fleet Street hacks cook up blog sharing tales of adventures on assignment illustrated by gourmet meals eaten on expenses”

  1. Many years ago I was travelling north by train from Euston with a journalist who had recently landed a job on The Sun. As the noise between the points rattled more quickly while the train picked up speed, we looked down on row after row of suburban London houses, and he said, most seriously: ‘Look at those letter-boxes, one out of three receives The Sun. I am entering those people’s lives every day!’
    We were in the dining car and he didn’t drink either.
    Fortunately not all journalists are like that and now two have come along for whom the daily bread is more important than the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail or the Daily Star.
    If you want school dinners stick with Jamie Oliver, but if you want to be able to cook the planet’s greatest dishes, Allan Hall and Roger Allen not only show you how but provide stories which you can use to host the most successful dinner parties.
    Like living Gillray figures these two munchkins, having stitched up the world, now have the globe between their cutlery.
    Book now while stories last.

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