Guild of Fine Foods Lifetime Achievement Award

September 9th, 2008:

Glynn Christian, author of How to Cook without Recipes, and the original TV Chef was last night awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at a glittering awards ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.
Each year, the Guild of Fine Food's lifetime achievement award acknowledges the contribution made by a single individual, over a period of many years, in advancing the cause of fine food and drink. Traditionally, a retailer is honored one year and a producer the next. This year Glynn Christian was acknowledged.


He first opened a delicatessen in 1974. 38 years later, that deli still exists, in the same position, boasting the same name and to this day, it stands as a testament to the ground-breaking nature of what its originator created. 1974 was an age when fine food was more prawn cocktail, overcooked sirloin, black forest gateaux and Mateus Rosé, all finished with a coffee with thick cream floating on top. For virtually the first time in an English style deli you could find properly ripened Brie de Meaux, artisan salami's, real bread, rose water, even fresh yeast. This was the beginning of a new era in English fine food retailing.
Intriguingly, Glynn Christian has hardly touched fine food retailing in a quarter of a century, because the intervening years witnessed a blossoming of separate and intertwined careers in television, radio, food writing and, as a genuine author. He was one of the very first TV chefs making over 1,000 live appearances as well as several TV series on fish cookery, microwave cookery and even one on the history of afternoon tea. He presented and wrote series made on location in the Eastern Mediterranean, New Zealand, California, Sri Lanka, China and Thailand.
Glynn's contribution to our food and drink culture in this country and beyond is immeasurable, both in terms of those he has encouraged, educated and helped launch careers of their own in the media and in fine food, but also in his seemingly bottomless well of food and drink knowledge and his unfailing willingness to share it with others.
Amongst his veritable library of food, travel and historical broadcasts, articles and books, rests one book that has become seminal and towers above all others: Real Flavours. Without one single shadow of doubt, this book is universally acknowledged as the 'bible of fine food and drink.' A recent review by Rosemary Moon wrote, "Knowledge is power and the wisdom imparted in these pages is legion, it will sit on my shelves for decades. I am in awe of the energies that must have gone into committing this amount of knowledge to paper and to do so in such a completely original and typically personable manner." Tom Parker Bowles wrote that it is impossible to put down and as essential to the kitchen as a sharp knife.
The Guild of Fine Food personally owes Glynn an enormous debt of gratitude, as does every judge in the Great Taste Awards over the past 10 years who has worked in the same team as him. Almost without fail, they approach The Guild afterwards, full of appreciation and bursting to share the gold mine of food knowledge he has just selflessly shared with them.