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Chicken and egg

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Ridiculous, you might say. Yet it is true that food is a subject that’s close to all our hearts, men and women. Living proof lies in our own Time & Leisure Food & Drink Awards 2013 which invited you, our readers, to vote for your local favourite eateries. You cast a staggering 8,000 votes!

From where does this most welcome surge of gastronomic interest come? There’s been a steady growth in the number of celebrity chefs, TV programmes and cook books over the last ten years. Our very own celebrity chef Michael Underwood is a shining example – you can read his column in T&L every month which he writes with his wife tv presenter Angellica Bell, herself also a foodie. Locally, we now have our very own food festivals in Kingston and Surbiton which reflect and generate a growing appetite (sorry) for the topic. Have food programmes and foodie books proliferated in response to public demand? Or has our interest in food has been increased by the greater exposure to food-related content.

It’s a chicken and egg thing. But I do recall from economics lessons that an interest in food is usually the indulgence of an affluent society (eating out and buying organic produce are both considered luxuries). That was certainly true in the late Nineties’ which saw a growth of interest in eating out, cooking more unusual dishes at home and buying organic and free range produce. But one would have expected such enthusiasm to tail off in our current, epic Noughties’ recession. But if 8,000 of you are to be believed, the purchasing, preparation and enjoyment of good food is still a red hot topic, so thank you to all who voted.

Remember to join in the King’s Soup in Surbiton this month too!

Sarah Hodgson is Editor-in-Chief at Time & Leisure Media Group