Restaurants relying on workers back in offices, says top chef
A top chef has called for less working from home in order to help out restaurants as she picked up a gong at Windsor Castle.
Margot Henderson and her husband Fergus Henderson were both made OBEs for services to the culinary arts, with the honours bestowed by the Prince of Wales on Tuesday.
The couple said they were going to celebrate with friends at a party at Margot’s restaurant, the Rochelle Canteen, after receiving their medals.
Fergus, who is behind the St John restaurant, commented on how well-informed Charles was, while Margot said they chatted about restaurants.
Margot said January was “dead” for business, but that there is now a feeling that people are out and about.
“Our restaurants are in London so we can really only talk about London.
“There is a bit of energy, a little bit of sunshine, seeing a daffodil helps everyone go out for lunch and dinner.
“It’s great to see people back in their offices. We need to have people in their offices.
“Restaurants are really relying on that, so the less working from home the better,” she said.
Margot said meeting Charles was “wonderful”, adding: “I was quite nervous.”
Talking about their visit to the castle, she said: “It’s very special, isn’t it? The castle is incredible.”
Margot said she and her husband cook a lot, adding: “Fergus wakes up most days saying: ‘What’s for lunch?’, you know: ‘What are we going to do for lunch?’
“It’s a general: ‘Who feels like it?’ I love cooking at home. We both do. Holidays are always about cooking and bringing people together.
“Generally it’s a shared activity. Fergus makes mainly tomato pasta. He’s very keen on tomato pasta. He does a very good tomato pasta.”
The couple said their party at Rochelle Canteen will feature boiled ham and parsley sauce, topped off with Fergus’s “wonderful” chocolate ice cream.
“And we’re going to have a dance,” Margot said, adding: “It feels a bit like a wedding.”
Also at the ceremony was Dr Nisreen Alwan, associate professor in public health at Southampton University, who was made an MBE for services to medicine and public health during Covid-19.
Dr Alwan, who campaigned for more awareness of long Covid, said Charles was “lovely”, adding that he “offered a lot of empathy”.
She said it means a lot to be appreciated for the work she does in her day-to-day job.
Dr Alwan said she remains concerned about long Covid, adding that there is still a lot unknown about the condition.
“A lot of people who had it almost two years ago are not recovered,” she said, warning that it is most common in working age people.
Meanwhile, cultural activist Ansel Wong became a CBE for services to arts and culture.
Artist Sir Frank Bowling, 87, was due to be knighted at the ceremony, but was not in attendance.
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