Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Island Affair

I came across this article on the internet the other day. Telegraph Journalist Jan Moir popped over to Tresco for a few days and came back with a scathing report of her time there.

You can find the article here.

Most of her complaints are ridiculous. For example, her husband demanding the morning papers so early. Sorry, Bucko. They get flown in every morning on the 09h45 flight. They ain't gettin' there any quicker unless they swim. If the enjoyment of your holiday rests with reading the morning paper before breakfast, maybe you should have gone to Bognar.

But the bits about the food I found fascinating. You see, as some of you might know, I spent eight months working on Tresco in the summer of 2000 and had an interesting take on Jan's article. I knew how the kitchen worked in 2000 and, since the same chef runs the place, continues to work to this day.

I suppose Chef and I were never destined to be friends. Once, he came close to punching me because I allowed a customer to order a side salad with their meal instead of chips. It never bothered me much, though, because if you thought Chef was bad, you should have met his brother. He was the kind of pyschotic monster who SHOULD be living on a remote island miles away from civilized society.

Anyway. In my day, the rule was Profit Margin. Which means when Jan Moir writes: "What restaurant serves mashed potato with a starter? A restaurant with mashed potato left over, is the only conclusion worth concluding." I can sadly confirm that she was absolutely right.

I saw some shocking things. Like a beautiful monkfish that sat, uncooked, for four days until some customer bought it. Chef would rather sell it past it's prime than let it go to waste.

'Stomach bugs' were very common among visitors to the Island Hotel.

Anyway. It's such a pity, because Tresco is a wonderful place. Maybe this article will inspire some positive changes out there on what we used to call "Trescotraz."

Pointless trivia: At one point, the Isles of Scilly were going to be twinned with New York City (five islands/five boroughs) but the guys in charge of the Islands turned that offer down. Apparently they didn't want: "a bunch of American tourists trapsing around."


Anonymous said...

To quote Mr Samuel L Jackson "Allow me to retort!".I've been living & working on Tresco for the past 6 years, at the apparently unhygienic and money hungry Island Hotel. Firstly, let me say that the Head Chef in 2000 is one of the finest chefs I've ever met, as well as being one of the biggest perfectionists that ever lived, so I find it hard to believe that he'd do something as unethical as leave a piece of fish out on the side for days until a guest bought it! Not even a commis chef would be capable of something that ridiculous!! Secondly, you might want to do a bit more research before damning a place you haven't set foot in for 8 years, as there has been a different Head Chef in place since 2005!! Therefore I have to correct your statement about the kitchen being run the same way as in 2000!! Thirdly, I'm partucularly interested to know how a barman, who was afraid to set foot in the hotel kitchen, could possibly know the intimate workings of said kitchen! Surely the Head Chef & his psychotic monster brother (who by the way remembers you quite clearly)would see to it that you never ventured past the hot plate!! And near punch-ups over ordering salad instead of chips? I think you've been watching a little too much Kitchen Confidential!!

Roland Hulme said...

Wow! This is an old post, isn't it?

What a pity you want to remain anonymous. I wonder who you are?

The fish was refrigerated, at least. Is four days too long? Seemed so to me - but as you point out, I'm not a chef.