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Equal rights for diners

Published 13 June 1993

No column - Letters only

Clive Jacobs (Letters, last week) should really learn to read before he writes. He says that I "severely criticised Pierre Koffman and Raymond Blanc".

Of Mr Koffmann I wrote: "I'm delighted he got his third Michelin Guide star... I did think the food was terrific." I didn't like the waiter-service on the night I was in. As for Raymond Blanc, I offered him nothing but praise. I referred to his "superb food" and described my main course as "delicious". My only grumble was about a child customer. I did criticise John Burton-Race but I guess you can't be hanged for that.

Incidentally, I was given a wrong figure by the Central Statistical Office for the amount of money we spend each year eating out in restaurants. After having them recheck it I can now tell statistics lovers that in 1991 we spent £6.01 per week per household, a staggering £7 billion in the full year.

Happy napkin-waving.

Michael Winner, London W1

Reluctant as I am to defend Michael Winner and his behaviour in restaurants, I must disagree with John Burton-Race's account of Mr Winner's visit to his restaurant on July 14, 1991. Our table was booked for 1pm on that day, and I can confirm that Mr Winner and Miss Seagrove arrived some considerable time after this, and not at 12.45 as Mr Burton-Race claims. Like Mr Winner, I have not returned to L'Ortolan as I consider that restaurants which charge £100 for lunch for two ought to have service to match.
Jane Flanders, Overton, Hants

Mr Burton-Race has only himself to blame. If his restaurant was fully booked, he should not have attempted to make room for Mr Winner, whatever his "status and esteem". Restaurant-goers, irrespective of status, have a right to expect equal treatment - which was one of Mr Winner's points.
J. Bolton, Twickenham, Middx