Let’s face it – simple is best


Take a look at this grotesque picture.

Now take a look at this altogether less alarming photograph.

And tell me which you’d rather eat.
Both these dishes were encountered during a recent holiday in Andalusia, an area blessed with brilliant produce and a fine culinary tradition.
The first dish was a chunk of foie gras strangely contorted into a baby’s face so that eating it seemed akin to an act of infantile cannibalism.
The fact that it came with an over-sweet cherry sauce and a slices of sugary toasted sponge cake further detracted from the starter’s enjoyability.
Which the peculiar wall hangings didn’t enhance.

Was this a restaurant sponsored by Ann Summers, maybe?
The second dish at a different restaurant was simplicity itself.
Basically a bowl of huevo de toro tomatoes – a variety that’s huge, knobbly, flecked with green and blessed with natural sweetness and a brilliant texture.
They came dressed in good quality olive oil and flakes of sea salt.
Nothing could have been more enjoyable sitting in the sapping midday sun with a glass of cold beer as an accompaniment.
Sometimes I worry about the judgment of chefs.
The best let the ingredients sing – occasionally playing clever cheffy tricks with their preparation or treatment.
Those with inflated egos seem happier letting great produce play second fiddle to their overblown imaginations.
The title of the talented chef Alastair Little’s game-changing 1990s book provided great advice.
Keep It Simple.