UK ambassador to Spain defends cuisine27/07/17Culture
The British ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, made an appearance on a popular Spanish cooking show where he defended UK chefs over alleged ‘crimes’ against beloved national dishes.
Manley took part in an edition of El Comidista, debating the merits of British versus Spanish food, and received a tutorial on the ‘perfect’ tortilla from host and chef Mikel Lopez Iturriaga.
The pair discussed the alleged UK ‘crimes’ against Spanish cuisine, with Manley offering a defence of chef Jamie Oliver, whose approach to traditional dishes has more than once incurred criticism from the country’s food connoisseurs.
Oliver had suggested a version of paella with chorizo, provoking outrage from Spanish nationals. However, though Manley had difficulty explaining such Anglo-Spanish mutations as the chorizo waffle, he appeared to convince Iturriaga and viewers with a recipe for roast chicken with mustard.
A recent survey for Visit Britain found that only 12% of Spaniards are attracted to UK holidays for the food and drink. Manley acknowledged that in the past British food had been “horrible”. Nonetheless, he said: “I think the cuisine in our country has changed a lot in recent years.”
Iturriaga conceded that the UK’s past reputation for poor cuisine was no longer deserved.
Manley has also been busy reassuring UK nationals in Spain who are fearful over their post-Brexit status. In an open letter on 26 July, he reported substantial progress in talks in Brussels, Belgium, saying the UK was hopeful of a reciprocal deal that would maintain current rights and, crucially, access to healthcare.