A new magazine for the restaurant trade has turned the tables on some of Fleet Street’s top critics.
A preview issue of Restaurant reveals details of expense accounts, dining habits and personal quirks of writers such as Fay Maschler, AA Gill, Jonathan Meades and Michael Winner.
It describes how Maschler described one of Gordon Ramsay’s soups as "a toxic oil slick" after the outspoken chef said her Evening Standard byline picture was "a little out of date".
And how the takings of one restaurant soared by 20 per cent after Michael Winner rubbished it.
Former Maxim editor Chris Maillard has teamed up with David Lancaster, the creator of Eat Soup magazine, to launch the magazine.
The 68-page title, aimed at professional chefs, restaurant owners and food lovers, promises to be "a friendly critic" to the restaurant industry.
The magazine is backed by £500,000 investment from Manchester-based website publishing company The Restaurant Game. Set up by restaurant owner Edwina Lilley, it publishes the B2B website, the restaurantgame.com.
Lancaster said Restaurant would rely heavily on revenue from recruitment advertising and it could pose a threat to Reed’s title Caterer & Hotelkeeper.
A former Times restaurant critic, Lancaster told Press Gazette: "We think the restaurant industry has grown up and changed a lot and it could do with a new magazine. Caterer seems to be geared towards the big major buyers, while ours will be geared towards everyone from The Ivy to the local Indian." The magazine is currently produced in London by an editorial team of 12 but Lancaster said he will recruit more staff once the launch is underway.
Chandos Elletson, a former chef and ex-food and drink critic for The Times, is editor-at-large. Pete Avery, former- Esquire, CondÅ½ Nast Traveller and Scene art director, is among the contributors, along with former BBC Good Food art director Mark Richardson, former editor of BBC Match of the Day magazine Tim Glynne-Jones, former Telegraph writer Bill Knott and Joe Warwick, formerly with The Times.
Although Restaurant will be sold on news stands throughout the UK at a cover price of £1.70, a number of copies of will be distributed by controlled circulation. Maillard, who formed the media venture Spitalfields Publishing with Lancaster earlier this year, planned to launch a free listings weekly title London.co.uk. However, they both left to start their new venture.
By Ruth Addicott