Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

London Cuisine Classics: What not to Miss

posted in Lists and Leftovers by Kathy Maister

I love Dr Johnson’s famous quote; “When a man tires of London he tires of life”. It’s perfect, as is London. David (my husband) was born there and his family still lives there.

We have been fortunate enough to visit London about ½ dozen times per year for the past 20 years. Theater is our first love, and traditional English food is our second love. Yes, I know for years England has had a dreadful reputation concerning food. That has all changed.

My favorites are:

Ploughman’s Lunch-generally considered pub fare, consists of salad, cheddar cheese, crusty bread and Branston Pickle.

Shandy-half beer, half lemonade. Perfect with a Ploughman’s Lunch. It does sound strange to combine these two drinks, but it really works!

Chocolate covered biscuts-preferably from Marks & Spencers or the ones made by Cadbury’s. What can I say about butter cookies dipped in rich chocolate, oooh sooo good!

Savory Pies: pork pies, Cornish pasties, steak and kidney pies. Done well, they are fabulous.

Christmas Pudding with Brandy sauce, and mince meat pies; what can I say, I also love fruit cake!

Some of my Favorite Places in London:

Food Shopping at Harrods: I never actually buy very much here, but it is fabulous! (See Photos)

Food Shopping at Marks & Spencers: Superior quality with much more accessible prices. (They advertise their award winning foods with labels like “Tart of the Year”. Don’t you just love it! I actually knew someone who should have won that award!)

Rivoli Bar at the Ritz Hotel: Very, very romantic. Very, very expensive. The Lalique glass panels are breathtakingly beautiful.


With my sister, Marie Woolf, at the Rivoli Bar

Wagamama: Love the name, love the noodles.

The Wolsey Restaurant: Bistro fare, open about 20 hours per day serving every meal imaginable. I seem to always order the Salade Nicoise. It is done particularly well here. Their mushrooms with basil and parmesan are superb.

Prêt à Manger: Sandwiches. They have great selections of normal-size sandwiches. Here in the USA sandwiches are gigantic. What’s that all about?

The Ivy: place to go for my most favorite dessert in the whole world, Scandinavian frozen berries with Hot White-Chocolate Sauce. (Tiny frozen berries are spread out on a dinner plate. At the table the waiter pours a mixture of hot, melted, white chocolate that has been mixed with heavy cream. The berries melt and the white chocolate cools and the dish turns into a glorious masterpiece of flavors and texture. It’s the simplicity of this dessert that makes it so fantastic!)

What are some of your favorite places in London?

If you are new to startcooking, or are a regular visitor here, please consider subscribing for free.


Ian Welsh said:

If you are not comfortable, then the job is not done. There may be good reasons for what she is doing, but explaining it to you so you understand the reasons behind it is job#1. Once you know that, you can judge. I would start with the Martha Stewart question myself. If she can not explain why Martha can do it, what the difficulties advantages and disadvantages of doing it are, then I would worry. Lots of people know how to do a good job without knowing why they are doing the job that way. Such people cannot make changes very well because they cannot work from first principles.

Why does it work for Martha?

Kathy (Maister) said:

Ian, what you have to say is totally correct.

The trouble is we do not always have the confidence to stick to our guns when the trained professionals say something different.

There are so many new things for me to learn in this project that I have to trust someone!

Shaula Evans said:

Okay, I know what you are both getting for your birthdays: a t-shirt that says, What Would Martha Do?

No, no! What am I thinking?

I need to get Martha Stewart a t-shirt that says, What Would Kathy Maister Do?


(And I would humbly submit that the most important person to learn to trust on this project is Kathy Maister….)

Ron Evans said:

Kathy, the difference between your video producer and Martha Stuarts is basically the producer Martha employs uses polarizing filters to eliminate surface reflections, glare or hotspots from any light source. These camera filters are a basic tool of most professional video, film or still camera professional as well as most serious amateur enthusiasts. Heck, if you don’t have a polarizing filter there is an old trick that can be used. Spray shiny objects with clear, flat spray lacquer and clean with lacquer thinners when the production is complete. Martha knows…now Kathy knows….look out world.

Kathy (Maister) said:

Ron you are brilliant! Knowing the terminology and asking the right questions is half the battle. Years ago when I first started doing renovations around the house, I really thought the plumber and the electrician were speaking in another language. I got up to speed very quickly. Hopefully that will be the same for filmmaking! Thanks for sharing you knowledge.