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Friday, 22 April 2011

"Jersey Takes Another Beating"

Oliver Thring says Jersey's Royals Suck

Jersey mocked in national food critic's report

A food critic writing for the Guardian newspaper has slammed Jersey's long tradition of fine food, calling it uninspiring and mocking the island's culture.

Oliver Thring, a writer and blogger for the national newspaper, even compared eating some oysters here to "chewing condom".

He says of our famous food culture: "On an island you could fit into Zone 3 on the tube, with a native population smaller than Carlisle's, it quickly emerges that there isn't much of it [food].

"You'd have thought the fish would be fantastic, but 90% of the catch is shellfish, and 95% of that is crab and lobster. Nobody apart from the odd chef seems particularly interested in what the industry calls wet fish, and the best lobsters come from colder waters anyway."

Referring to eating some oysters from a local street seller near 'the harbour', he says: "It's exactly like chewing condom."

Mr Thring is also pretty damning about Jersey's local culture.

He moaned: "The island is still split into parishes for administration, each headed by a constable supported by a volunteer police force. The doleful national anthem is Ma Normandie. The local accent is remarkable, a drawled, glottal muddle of Sith Ifrickan and jarring francophone: they 'plont' potatoes and visit 'Fronce'."

The only thing Mr Thring seems worthy of praise is Jersey's milk, commenting: "The milk is astonishingly good". Though he does go on to criticise the fact that the island chooses not to export it.

And he goes on to give a damning report of our most famous export - Jersey Royals.

He says: "I've been brought up to believe that Jersey royals are the best potatoes in the world. The received wisdom and the marketing seeped through, and like many people who care about food I'd looked forward to their annual appearance in the way you greet early asparagus and the first knobbly morels.

"In a half-empty and expensive restaurant on the island I eat some tiny outdoor-grown Jersey royals, little bigger than peas. I bring some larger ones home with me. And it's the same both times: they taste no better than ordinary supermarket spuds. What I'd been tasting was expectation, advertorial, the fragrance of cultivated illusion. I won't bother in future."

His only kind words were for St Brelade restaurant, the Oyster Box.

He says: "I was disappointed by the food on Jersey, but there were two good things. One was a lovely restaurant called Oyster Box overlooking the cream sand and cobalt sea of St Brelade's Bay, where we ate scallops and chorizo to the yelps of kids kicking a ball around with a brine-haired dog. The other was the closest thing I found to a local speciality, a jar of something called black butter, a tarry, spiced apple jam. I picked it up at the airport from a shop selling tourist tat, which means that the best Jersey food I tried was in my own kitchen, smeared on English toast."

If you can bear to read more, you can see the whole article on the following link:

If you can bear to read more??? That sentence just sums up Jersey's media attitude.

Why can Jersey not take fair criticism from outside of Jersey, even inside for that matter?

The truth is that "Jersey Royals are crap" just tasteless, expensive garbage with all the flavour of a ceramic tile!!! I have eaten many as they used to be fabulous potatoes, but over the last 15 years they have become as bland as the Bailiff's annual public address. Perhaps our farmers should go back to the old methods of fertilization instead of filling the earth with toxins and making veggies tasteless.


  1. Well I wouldnt read much into his critiscm, coming from a man who knows what chewing a condom tastes like.

    Spuds, in fairness to his diatribe where better tasting many years ago when farmers used to grow them with seaweed plowed into the ground, or wheatever it was they did. Unfortunately, that is a rarety nowadays, not sure why but I did once hear it was due to some beaurocratic bullshit.

    I get the impression he came here purely to trash the place, and anyone who likes black butter, in my opinion knows nothing about good taste!

    I wont put the word I would use to describe him up but it begins with a C and that maybe a bit more than what you would allow in a comment!

    Also, why eat in a half emtpy expensive restaurant, I wouldnt be surprised if it was the royal yacht or somewhere similar. If you want to judge good food or, well, its just basics really, you go somewhere busy doing a great turnover of tables. What a dick.

  2. I just read his article, didnt see the link so just took what was above at face value.

    Having read it, he does make some valid points, I see the condom remark was made about ormers, not oysters and although I havent chewed a condom I would never eat an ormer. I saw a Keith Floyd cookery program once when he was here and he tried cooking them and also thought they were disgusting.

    I dont know what he expects from one of those stalls though. Probably what any visitor would expect, decent seafood. Unfortunately, being a bean I know that buying Whelks etc from one of these places is a complete lottery, especialy when its already been cooked. The only way to appreciate some of this stuff is to actually cook it yourself and have the confidence to do so as I know a lot of people are scared to cook shellfish at home.

    Funny how the full article has been cherry picked and then changed from ormers, disgutsing, to oysters for example. No mention of his pisstake of how the island is run/works regarding parishes etc.

    Whilst I still think he is a dick I think he did make some good points. Unfortunately, I only read the artice you put here and commented before I saw the full one. I also stand by my comment on why eat in an expensive half full restaurant. To get a good experience of the food on offer you go to a busy one, and that really is obvious!