Restaurants fight back after critic slams ‘rubbish’ Leeds food scene

Giles Coren.
Giles Coren.
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LEADING restaurants in the region have today hit back after a food critic branded the city’s dining scene ‘rubbish’.

Giles Coren, a food writer for The Times, said the controversial comments in a BBC story that later sparked outrage on Twitter.

But some of the region’s top restaurants have come forward to fight their corner.

Simon Gueller, executive head Chef at The Box Tree in Ilkley, has held a Michelin Star for 15 years.

He said: ‘The north enjoys a fantastic legacy of culinary excellence.

“We’re privileged to be part of the culinary scene in Yorkshire.

“I’m sure I speak for all my colleagues in the restaurant business in Yorkshire when I say we benefit from a fabulous range of suppliers on our doorstep, access to seasonal produce grown locally and meat reared just down the road.”

He added: “Our customers are no less discerning than Londoners and here they enjoy some of the best hospitality standards in the country.

“Our 55th birthday celebrations this year are surely affirmation that ‘culinary life’ continues outside of London – need I say more?”

In the BBC story, Coren, who also criticised Birmingham and Liverpool, said there were some good restaurants in Bristol, Manchester and Cheltenham, but added: “Honestly, if I’m going out of London to eat it’s more productive to leave the country.”

Coren has since said he was ‘misrepresented’ saying on Twitter: “My tedious remarks about regional eating were not meant as an opinion.

“They were taken from an email to a BBC hack explaining why I was not qualified to comment on Brum’s food scene.”

He later tweeted: “I like Leeds. I don’t care about restaurants. Or food. They’re just my job.

“You have other wonderful things there. I was just trying to make a [...] persistent reporter go away.”

He added: “You’ve just got to get over your inferiority complex about London – it’s hindering growth.”

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