Always do as you please, and send everybody to Hell, and take the consequences. Damned good rule of life. N
This was the advice given to Elizabeth David by her good friend and mentor, the writer Norman Douglas. Certainly taking on the stodge of British culinary traditions after the privations of war was a bold endeavour, particularly under rationing. But she was a woman driven by her passion for flavours and ingredients – the discoveries she made during the time she spent in Italy, Egypt and Crete – and also by the rage she felt at the outrages of hotel food and pompous restaurants in her native country.
She was extraordinary and radical. And it’s thanks to her bloody-mindedness that she wrote the books and articles that changed so much of what and how we eat today. The seasonal artisan produce we are now able to source so readily across this country is proof enough that we are no longer prepared to accept food we have no faith in.
For anyone pushing against established conventions you need a bloody-minded attitude. Making the move from a back-room, North London pop-up restaurant to Covent Garden has required something between folly and determination. But all around me I see the people I admire driving their dreams and ambition to produce something different, excellent and new.