Yet another rant by William Sitwell, #Squareplates


It’s really hard to know where to start with yet another Sitwell rant. Factually incorrect and bleating from the rafters to justify his own existence?

Let’s dissect these 800 words. Firstly, there wasn’t a tidal wave on the social media as Sitwell says, there was barely a ripple; primarily because nobody cares.

Because of their shape you can get more square plates on to a table than round ones, which means you can use smaller tables for the same number of diners and thus fit more tables in the restaurant.

Hmm if chefs had actually thought of that. The fact of the matter is that a place setting is the same size, irrelevant of the size of plate. The bulk of kitchens in the UK use plates which have a width of approx 12 – 13inches (both round & square). So the plate shape bears very little if any to the size of place setting.

Square plates are an insult to Mother Nature whose offerings are many shapes but never square.

But then nothing in nature is perfectly round either. If Sitwell wants to use Mother Nature as a barometer of plate shape, then why does he go on to chastise wooden boards, the most primitive serving vehicle possible?

On the subject of wooden boards, Sitwell writes:

 …the wooden board. Burgers, steaks – who knows what else – are increasingly presented on boards that were actually invented to carry bread. Not only are they unhygienic – imagine what foul bacteria lurk within the grooves of the wood..

Clearly Sitwell didn’t consult an EHO or any chef who has had dealings with one. A few years ago, EHOs banned wooden boards in professional kitchens, because, in their minds, they couldn’t be cleaned satisfactorily. It later transpires that wooden boards are safer than the nylon replacements, due them containing an enzyme in the wood making them safer. Hey presto, wooden boards are now allowed back in kitchens.

So, wooden boards are unhygienic for burgers and steaks etc, but Ok for bread. Which obviously has some special anti-bacterial properties.

I leave you with this thought Mr Sitwell, a quote from a Roux Scholar in Japan which was part of a much longer reply, taken from my Facebook page:

Cooking in Britain has come on leaps and bounds in the past 20 years or so why are the food critics still spouting the same old shit. This guy wouldnt have a job in Japan – Japanese food critics are required to have a good knowledge of food and comment on that alone. How a chef decides to decorate their restaurant or what they serve food on is their business.
The business of a food critic is to comment on the food!

What amazes me is that the Telegraph actually give you column inches to write about subject matter you clearly know nothing about. See my post on you & Jay Rayner talking about Michelin: Journalists who write about the relevance of Michelin. Maybe you’ve realised that blogging isn’t quite so easy as you think, and instead you decide to post your hyperbole on the Daily Telegraph. Fair play; for them paying you, for such drivel.

To be blunt, I’m surprised that I’ve managed over 500words on this, as I was losing the will to live. If the biggest thing in Sitwell’s life he has to worry about is linear crockery, then he needs to get out more.

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