London, Apr 1(ANI): Whats cooking is the buzz....What is going to be served at the banquet hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the world's 20 most powerful leaders? The menu is a secret but some leaks are out. One is that it is going to be comparably frugal and two that pork is off the menu. That is certain. The Saudi Arabian, Turkish and Indonesian delegations wouldn't want that.
It is a six course meal but without truffles and caviar. The menu has to reflect the difficult economic times of today or else the host would look very much like Marie Antoinette, medieval French Queen who is supposed to have said "let them eat cake" when she was told her subjects had no bread to eat.
It just will make very bad public relations to see Gordon Brown sipping champagne and nibbling on duck when his people are scrimping on groceries at Tesco and Sainsbury.
Brown had to face flak last year when he binged on an embarrassing 18-course spread at the G8 summit last year in Japan. The height of arrogance was when in November George Bush played host for leaders of the G-20 to discuss the economic crisis. On the menu was a gastronomic tsunami.
Executive White House Chef Cristeta Comerford, from Fruitwood-smoked Quail with Quince Gastrique to a Pear Torte with Huckleberry Sauce.
Preparing a meal for picky heads of state is a logistical nightmare, as one has to be aware of dietary preferences of all of them lest they get offended. But Jamie Oliver, the British chef who rose to stardom with his TV show The Naked Chef is a past master. He will be assisted by his apprentices from his London restaurant, Fifteen.
President Obama is not a finicky eater but he prefers healthy options rather than work his way through as steak. French President Nicolas Sarkozy loves his after dinner chocolate but since his marriage to Carla Bruni and entry of attractive trainer Julie Imperiali into his life who says he has dropped several trouser sizes, the French Premier stays off butter. Prime Minister, is a very very small eater himself. Not because of vanity but because of his diabetic condition. He nibbles at his food when he attends banquets.
About German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the less said the better. She is the one who obliquely blamed the food crisis of 2008 on the fact that India's were getting to eat two square meals. Also there are the cold vibes between her and host Gordon Brown so the German stiff upper lip will be on display regardless of what the platter offers.
Of course when Brown gives the goody bag at the end of the meal it is going to evoke smiles. The bag consists of a tie designed by a British tailor. The tea towels will come from Ulster-based linen producer Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen. Celebrity designer Kelly Hoppen will provide the candles, while the chocolates will come from Rococo Chocolates, founded by Chantal Coady.
Stylish and frugal and not in the least over the top. The chef promises a typical British meal. Oh No! At least the officials and reporters accompanying the heads of state can step out of their hotels and grab the 'pucca' British meal...chicken tikka masala. By Smita Prakash (ANI)