The Good Food Guide
The Good Food Guide is an annual guidebook to the best restaurants in the United Kingdom which has been published since 1951. It has been published by Waitrose since August 2013. It was previously published by Which?books.
The Good Food Guide was first published in 1951 by Raymond Postgate, an enthusiastic gourmand, who was appalled by the standard of contemporary catering. He recruited an army of volunteers to clandestinely visit and assess restaurants on the basis that, "You can corrupt one man. You can't bribe an army." Postgate had previously founded the Good Food Club in 1949. The Good Food Guide currently reports on over 1,200 top establishments and is unique as it is completely rewritten every year and is entirely independent — there is no advertising or sponsorship, no fees are accepted for inclusion, and all of the inspections are anonymous.
Readers are actively encouraged to submit their reviews, via the Good Food Guide website, which are then considered for prospective inclusion in next year's guide. Restaurants are scored out of ten.
An early contributor to the Guide, Margaret Costa later opened her own restaurant, Lacy's, in Mayfair. The Guide received so many reviews for Lacy's that the entry for the restaurant was divided into "Love Lacy's" and "Loathe Lacy's" columns.
In 2007 former Good Food Guide inspectors and editors criticised the Guide after a series of high-profile restaurant omissions, claiming that a new inspection and editorial regime had led to corners being cut after incorporating three hundred reader-recommended restaurants within its twelve hundred full entries.
Former inspector and editor, Jim Ainsworth, described the new regime as "penny-pinching" and said of the 2008 guide: "The word that occurs to me is careless. A lot of things simply appear to have been done in a rush." Among the omissions, a restaurant was omitted in the Scilly Isles despite being listed as a main entry on the guide's map of the island. Some restaurants were omitted after a lack of reader reviews.
The publishers of the Guide, Which?, strongly denied the allegations, conceding that some former inspectors had been "disgruntled" at the changes, but stressed that most of the inspection team was unchanged and there had been no reduction in standards.
In the 2013 edition of the Guide, Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck and Simon Rogan's L'Enclume shared a perfect score of ten. A branch of Little Chef near Popham was included in the 2010 guide after a makeover by Heston Blumenthal as part of a Channel 4 programme.
Every year the Guide presents its Editor's Awards in a selection of the following categories; Restaurant of the Year, Best New Entry, Chef of the Year, Chef to Watch, Best for Sustainability and Best Local Restaurant.
- The Good Food Guide Dinner Party Book (Hilary Fawcett and Jeanne Strang, 1971)
- The Good Food Guide Second Dinner Party Book (Hilary Fawcett, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1979)
- Good Cook's Guide: More Recipes from Restaurants in the "Good Food Guide" (1974)
- The Good Food Guide: Recipes - Celebrating 60 of the UK's Best Chefs and Restaurants (Which? Books, 2010) ISBN 978-1-84490-106-7
- The Good Food Guide 2016 (Waitrose, 2015) ISBN 978-0953798339
- "Waitrose buys The Good Food Guide". The Grocer. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
- "Taste, the final frontier". The Independent. London: The Independent. 2004-09-23. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- "How the entries are scored". The Good Food Guide. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- Slater, Nigel (2005-11-04). "Obituary: Margaret Costa". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- "Former inspectors lead attack on the Good Food Guide". caterersearch.com. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- "The diners' guide and the missing restaurants". caterersearch.com. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- "Good Food Guide launches dedicated London edition". caterersearch.com. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- "The Good Food Guide 2013: Top 10". The Good Food Guide. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "Little Chef makes Good Food Guide". BBC. BBC. 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2010-11-12.