Food and Fizz – an Interview with Bon Vivant’s Emyr Thomas

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Emyr Thomas is the founder of concierge service Bon Vivant, specialising in luxury travel arrangements, restaurant and private dining bookings and access to exclusive events. We managed to grab him in the midst of a hectic schedule to discuss all things foodie, from bread baskets to beef stew; fries to sweetbreads, and, naturally champagne…
Where is your favourite place for brunch in London?

It’s a classic, but my favourite venue for brunch is at The Providores in Marylebone. Chef Peter Gordon’s fusion menu is perfect for brunch – try the Turkish eggs – two poached eggs on whipped yoghurt with hot chilli butter and sourdough or seeded granary toast. Delicious!

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What city (apart from London) is your favourite for foodie treats?

While London is very much at the forefront of the global dining scene at the moment, there’s nowhere quite like New York for the consistent quality and innovation. I have recently returned from a visit and ate very well indeed!

Where’s the last place you ate a truly delicious lunch?

One of my most memorable lunches of this year has been at Fera at Claridge’s – the combination of food and service is exquisite.

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Bread basket on the table – dive right in or avoid in favour of the menu?

I really wish I could say no to bread, but, alas, it’s straight in and dipped in copious olive oil.

What’s the most Instagrammed food on your profile?

Hmmm, it’s probably a glass of Champagne. I fly quite often with work and I’m partial to a few glasses before any flight. Otherwise, it will be a photo of a Negroni as my pre-dinner cocktail of choice!

Have you got a hidden eating spot in the city where you can escape from it all?

It has to be Mortio on Exmouth Market, which is a short walk from home and still some of the best tapas I’ve eaten anywhere in the world.

Where do you eat if you want to have a romantic evening?

Have dinner with the right person and any restaurant in the world could be romantic, but there’s something special about sitting in one of the booths at Bob Bob Ricard in such a magical setting. Just go easy on the ‘Press for Champagne’ button.

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What dish on the menu can you never say no to?

A fillet steak and fries. Or anything with a side of fries, really, as it’s my true guilty pleasure. You can eat at the best restaurants in the world, but sometimes nothing will do apart from a salad and a side of fries.

And what will you always avoid?

Sweetbreads. Always sweetbreads. I’ve never been able to appreciate the taste or come to terms with what I’m eating.

What’s your secret skill in the kitchen?

These days I tend to eat out far more than I’m ever in the kitchen, but my speciality is a beef, onion and sweet potato stew. The key is a lot of red wine.

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Where have you still not been that you’re dying to head to?

There are quite a few I could list here: Per Se in New York, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee in Paris, The Fat Duck and Le Gavroche in London.

BOE are planning a special Christmas meal and we want good food, a fun atmosphere and a bit of cheekiness – where do we go?

You’ve just summed up Dean Street Townhouse – for me it’s the perfect blend of atmosphere and good, simple food where you know you could linger for hours and have the best time.

Wow, with this much foodie knowledge we’d definitely trust Emyr to organise our dining calendar! Looks like we’ve got some more restaurants to add to our must-visit list for 2016…

Check out the Bon Vivant Concierge Service website, and follow them on Twitter @BonVivantLiving

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BOE Magazine

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Yes, I’d Eat Fast Food Made by a Job-Killing Robot

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As your standard technology-fearing, new-world-order-watching conservative Christian conspiracy theorist, it’s hard for me to even fathom the idea of supporting robots making my Big Mac. I shouldn’t be eating many Big Macs in the first place, but assuming I will, what does that say about the state of the fast food industry and the rise of the $ 15 national minimum wage rhetoric?

It has always made financial sense for businesses to use low-wage employees to support low-skill jobs such as those in the fast food industry. If wages are going to rise as most on the left seem bent to make happen, then businesses in many industries will need to be prepared for switches to the way they do business. One of those changes will be to consider (or reconsider) the option of automation. It’s an evil word to many of us, including me, but when we really look at the pros and cons, it starts to make more sense.

Let’s start with the cons:

  • Loss of jobs. This is obviously the part that I’ve always been most against.
  • Robot overlords. While I still believe that Skynet is a few years away, there’s always a chance of a burger-building death machine spawning from this.

Now, let’s look at the pros:

  • Cheaper production costs. This isn’t the case when fast food employees are making what they should be making as fast food employees, but at $ 15 an hour it suddenly becomes potentially cheaper to automate.
  • Cleaner burgers. I use the drive-thru the vast majority of the time when I get fast food. It’s not that I’m lazy or in too big of a hurry; depending on the drive-thru line it can be quicker to go inside. I simply want to hide my eyes from the health risks that my paranoid mind sees every time I watch them making my Big Mac.
  • Consistency. As you’ll see in the video below, those nasty burgers can be consistently nasty if built by a robot.
  • Forced skills training. The old way was to use a low-level job as either a place to support yourself through school or a launching pad that one could use to get advancements. The new way is apparently going to be to start off at $ 15 per hour, leaving no need for improvement. If robots replace many low-level jobs, that means that people will have to improve their education and/or work skills just to be able to get a job in the first place.

Fast Food Minimum Wage Battle

The concern over a national $ 15 minimum wage is real. To me, it’s clear that the pros of burger automation greatly outweigh the risks of our robot overlords expediting their rise.

Here’s the video that prompted this article. Enjoy, and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Soshable

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