ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!
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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Wetherspoons: A life just beginning?

JD Wetherspoon is turning 40.

In pub industry years, where change now tends to happen at breakneck pace, that makes it something of an elder statesman. In 'real' time, the chain is only a couple of years younger than I am, and consequently Spoons has been around for my entire life; a constant presence since I started drinking, albeit one that has changed substantially over time. Not necessarily for the better.

Marked by their latest beerfest featuring 40 beers - most of them new and/or exclusive - this birthday is a milestone occasion for a staple of the British High Street that is as controversial as it is popular.

Having visited over 600 of their pubs (exactly 612 at the last count), I consider myself one of the chains biggest fans, but also one of its more vocal critics. There is a lot that Tim Martin has done right, and few would argue that, on balance, Wetherspoons haven't been an overall force for good. but there are a number of worrying issues and a hell of a lot of ways in which things could improve.