Today, the Cambridge News decided to publish a letter from one of its readers. Nothing new in that you may think, except, it wasn’t on the page for ‘Letters to The Editor’ , no, it was NEWS.
The letter of concern was from a disgruntled customer of Midsummer House in Cambridge. Yes, a 2Michelin starred restaurant which was voted the best restaurant in the UK, & second best on the planet by Tripadvisor this year.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love dining out in high end restaurants; the theater, made to feel special, the occasion and basically the finer things in life. But I know that food is subjective, for many years I’ve said that the liquorice gel poached Salmon at the Fat Duck is a poor, sub-standard dish, whilst bloggers whom I respect, tell me different. We all accept we have different views & carry on, I don’t feel the need to write to ‘The Bray Bugle’ (or what ever the local rag is), & tell them my thoughts in some kind of faux authoritarian Jay Rayner way.
For those that haven’t been to Midsummer House, I asked respected fellow blogger Elizabeth Auerbach to use some of her images (so we all have a better idea of the food), should you wish to read her review (& I recommend you do), where Clifford & his team are awarded an excellent 95/100 please see here: ElizabethOnFood.com
Here is my gripe. Daniel Clifford & the team at Midsummer House have been painted as some kind of charlatans by a customer (a former English teacher who can’t use grammar or punctuation correctly, for those that haven’t seen the letter). A chef, who has dedicated his life, to the pursuit of how he perceives what the perfect dining experience should be, only for his local paper to give a gastronomic philistine air time.
The Cambridge News reporter justified his reason to publish the article, to chefhermes.com, saying:
It was just one persons opinion.
It was an interesting letter…
And finished off by saying that:
Daniel (Clifford) & Midsummer House have had plenty of positive publicity in the past, what does it matter?
The long and short of “What does it matter?“, is, Gareth McPherson, that from your own account, you had made up your mind that there was a story to be had when you approached Midsummer house. Clearly it was slow news day in Cambridge, you had to fill column inches & that there aren’t any biggest marrow competitions to judge at the moment.
Further more, when I told you I was going to write about this, and asked if you would publish it as news, you, McPherson replied with:
If you want to write a letter, that’s upto you. We may publish it on the letters page.
Ah yes, the ‘Letters to The Editor’ page, the page of local rags up and down the land, which is used first to line the cat litter tray.
The reason this has rankled me so much, is that it is a demonstration, YET AGAIN, by the press to portray the hospitality sector as some kind of Dick Turpin character, with a chip ‘n’ pin machine instead of a pistol. It just isn’t like that at all. The vast majority of people in hospitality are there to give the customer a good time, excellent service & the best food they can. I’m sure Clifford & his team are mortified that this lady & her son had an experience which wasn’t to their liking, but as Clifford said in the article:
We are never going to appeal to everybody, but we can’t sort a problem out unless people speak up on the night.
This to my mind seems a simple enough request, but clearly a step too far for Mrs Metliss, who said that she would have preferred a trip to KFC instead, than to a multi-accoladed restaurant.
So, for you Mrs Metliss, I give you something to salivate over, KFC’s latest offering:
Not long after chefhermes.com got in touch with The Cambridge News, & just before this post went live, they posted a new article: