My Dining Shame… (or, the one where I confess to eating KFC)

fried chicken


People assume that, as a restaurant critic for the The Guardian, and working on MasterChef and The One Show I spend my entire life feasting on roast swan, being pelted with truffles and hosed down with champagne. And obviously there is a quite a lot of that.

But really I’m just a greedy man with an expense account. On March 3 I bring my show about lousy restaurant experiences, My Dining Hell, to theThe Alban Arena. I’ll take you through the things that drive me insane, both in service and menu language, and list six restaurants that annoyed me the most. In the second half, I’m joined by my jazz quartet for songs of food and agony, and I’ll tell you a few (filthy) stories of life growing up with a mother who was a sex advice columnist.

Ahead of that I thought it was only right that I share a few of my dirty food secrets with you, to prove that my life really isn’t all roast swan and Krug; that I’m just the same as everyone else, assuming everyone else is a greedy swine with no shame. So… three things I have eaten.

1. A sausage from one of those food trucks in London’s Trafalagar Square after midnight at the weekend before a night bus home. It smelt of festering onions and fat and desperation. But I was drunk. And hungry. AND NOTHING ELSE WAS OPEN. DON’T JUDGE ME.

2. KFC – well of course. Though not often. Each year my family goes to Center Parcs. There’s a KFC at the service station en route. I get my wife to buy it so I’m not spotted in the queue, and then hide in the corner. However my son has a photograph of me eating it on his phone. He’s threatening to release it on to social media. Coughing to my crime here is my way of neutralising my son’s filthy attempt at blackmail.

3. The Pizza Hut mini-cheeseburger pizza. It is what it sounds like: a pizza with 12 mini cheeseburgers set into the crust. But I do have an excuse. I was researching an article about ludicrously calorific items. This item, at 2,880 calories, easily won. And I didn’t finish it. I gave most of it away. I’m a good person.

Or perhaps not. To find out how good a person I really am, and for a night of food stories and cracking jazz, join me at the The Alban Arena on March 3. Tickets available here.


For info on all my live shows, go here


Meanwhile what are your guilty food secrets?

One comment on “My Dining Shame… (or, the one where I confess to eating KFC)

  1. Kathryn Minchew on

    I live a life of carefully curated lies. As I run a small restaurant based on the personal touch, people seem to really enjoy the behind the scenes photos from my life. The roast dinner I photographed against crisp white bedding when I was on bed rest received a lot of likes.

    But three times this week I’ve had Pasta ‘n’ Sauce for my lunch as the ingredients for my green smoothie look increasingly sad in the fridge.

    As for KFC, when people ask me what food I miss most about living in Malaysia I always hesitate. I generally say roti but in truth, it’s the spicier version of the Colonels blend. Malaysia has the best KFC in the world!


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