Meat Is The New Black

Thu, 17 Aug 2000
Nick Foulkes (London

I am not what you would call the greatest carnivore ever to write a restaurant column. But then, the calling of a restaurant critic is a curious one and for every nancy boy like me, there is a macho critic who thinks nothing of wolfing down a nice dish of offal or an enticing plate of braised spinal cord.

But this is an issue that goes beyond the microcosm of food and restaurant writers - yes, there is a difference and I fall into the latter category - meat has finally escaped the gastro-ghetto and is sashaying down the catwalk. It is flaunting itself at the best tables in the best restaurants and being eaten by all the best people.

Meat is no longer a question of taste or even ethics. It has become rather more important than that: meat has become a fashion statement. The sense of carnivorous hedonism is all around us; Madonna has been cited as a reconverted meat eater and so has Liv Tyler. Even the Dalai Lama has turned carnivore, under doctor's orders. And the fact that the Vegetarian Society has just introduced a special credit card for veggies doesn't seem much of an incentive to convert back.

Instead, any celebrity who wants to earn column inches is getting back in the butcher's shop: whether it is Julia Sawalha eating chicken 'complete with gravy' or Anthea Turner earning a rebuke from her animal-mad sister for having 'gone back to meat'. Meanwhile,