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Food critic Michael Winner says northern restaurants are terrible beyond human belief. Is he right?

The Vote

Published on February 25th 2010.

Food critic Michael Winner says northern restaurants are terrible beyond human belief. Is he right?

Food cooked in the North of England is universally dreadful.

So says Michael Winner. The film director turned critic has been in Lancashire filming Michael Winner's Dining Stars. He might be unearthing some domestic gods and goddesses, but as far as our restaurants go, he is adamant that there aren't any of note.

"The people are very nice, but they provide food that is absolutely pathetic and are incapable of cooking, so where I am going does not totally thrill me," he says.

And he told BBC Radio Five Live: “Every time I went for a meal... when we stopped in various restaurants, they were all terrible. Terrible beyond human belief.”

It follows a trashing in his Sunday Times column of the Duke William pub in Longridge near Preston recently.

After ordering his meal Winner was unhappy when the ketchup arrived in tiny plastic packets rather than a dish. He went on to criticise staff for not asking him how he wanted his burger cooked.

Paul Heathcote - 'Winner is losing his marbles'

“The waitress hadn’t asked how I wanted my hamburger cooked,” he said. “It came well done. I wanted medium rare. It was flat, skimpy and flaccid. Didn’t even look like meat.”

Would that bother you? It's only a pub burger at the end of the day, isn't it? It's only a sachet of ketchup, isn't it? Or if we can't get that right, is there any hope for us?

Critic AA Gill has often gauged restaurants outside the capital against London values, sometimes refusing to review places on the grounds that they “wouldn't last a minute in Putney”.

Micheal Winner 'Terrible beyond human belief'

And it's not just the food. What we may see as a fine dining experience is deemed pretentious by some critics. This is the Observer's Jay Rayner, who reviewed Cabbage Hall in Little Budworth, recently: “I try to eat outside London as often as possible, but the truth is that it's the gaucheness of restaurants like Cabbage Hall which mean that, too often, I embark upon those journeys with bitter trepidation.”

But Paul Heathcote, the man behind Grado, the Olive Press, and The London Road Restaurant in Alderley Edge, hit back.

"Michael Winner is losing his marbles and obviously hasn’t found the right places to eat. If you look at the food in London, a lot of the suppliers are from the North of England. We have good produce and know how to use it. Most restaurants don’t think of Michael Winner as a serious critic, he is about sensationalism."

And Enzo Mauro, who runs Osteria Mauro in Prestbury and who was been named best chef in the North West, says: "I don’t think he knows what he is talking about. There are lots of good restaurants in the North. The people here are down to earth, and poncey food with patterns on the plate doesn’t survive here. We provide good, genuine food and value for money with quality ingredients."

But what do you think? Are we generally the poor relation when it comes to eating out in this country? Is this reflected by our lack of Michelin stars? Or is that a bogus argument and are they, as Winner also says, “all nonsense”?

Would our biggest Liverpool and Manchester names be able to cut the mustard if they were dropped into the middle of London, or would they be out of business overnight?

Or does none of that matter and is Michael Winner a silly old fart who should stick to selling insurance?

Go, go, go and vote on the homepage.

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

snFebruary 25th 2010.

what Heathcote said about Winner is obviously correct. nobody worth taking seriously takes Winner seriously on any topic.

on the subject of Michelin stars i do find it interesting that Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside can muster three between them, whilst there are three in or within 2 miles of Birmingham city centre. that's not bad going, to be fair.

NortherngeezerFebruary 25th 2010.

Do we actually give a flying fuck what Micheal Winner thinks or even Jay Rayner for that matter. Most of us northern folk dont travel well down south, we prefer good proper northern grub, no fancy jus on a plate, no creme anglais on a pudding, and wtf is truffle foam??. Good food, well cooked, and fine restaurants in abundance. If yer dont like it Mr Winner............DONT FOOKIN COME!!!!

AnonymousFebruary 26th 2010.

calm down, dear.

Matt WFebruary 26th 2010.

Is winner a food critic? I thought he was in insurance salesman.

NortherngeezerFebruary 26th 2010.

Jack of all trades master of none. I wouldnt watch one of his films, buy his insurance, or take note of one of his reviews, the 'mans' a non entity, unless he invites me to his pad in Barbados for xmas, then he's me best mate for life.

Leigh ScottFebruary 26th 2010.

For an ageing man that gets dressed like he does whilst wearing that hair-cut, what possible added value to my standards and taste does Michael 'nearly dead' Winner have?with the exception of critcising anything other than the performance of the latest colostomy bag i'd say most remain disinterested in his antiquated views.Why not send him around for tea with that Macclesfield MP, they both appear to fit in the same jacket.

EugeneFebruary 27th 2010.

Gotta say, Michael Winner is an absolute Tosser. Had the displeasure of speking to him on the phone once and he was so flaming rude, I could have rammed by phone down his throat. He is only saying these comments to get himself more exposure.....fat old windbag. Lets pack him off to a council estate in Toxteth

EugeneFebruary 27th 2010.

....and force him to eat Wimpy meals...ha ha

Smyth HarperMarch 1st 2010.

I had the pleasure (and it really was) of being present at a "Winner's Dinner" a number of years ago. Winner was charming, funny, pleasant, a bit of a raconteur and seemed to enjoy his grub. Several weeks later when the article appeared in the Sunday Times you would have thought someone had taken his mother, skinned her and grilled her lightly before serving her with a couple of fat chips, judging by the tone of the review. Odd.

DescartesMarch 4th 2010.

He's clearly never had a Manchester Egg

AnonymousMarch 13th 2010.

i dont want to offend people but i wholeheartedly agree with Michael Winner. Manchester city centre restaurants are terrible and i have eaten in all the so-called best ones. We let ourselves down here!

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