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The Best Imitation Foods and Faux Dishes in London Restaurants

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A plate of Welsh rarebit, as served at St. John.

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Eater

What’s in a name? Names are signifiers, tools of specificity. They illuminate. We call a rose a rose. But names are also moving targets, that can disclose and disguise in the same breath.
A brief list of names: Poor man’s lobster, Welsh caviar, falso conejo (false rabbit), mock cooter stew, sugo scappato (escaped sauce). A corresponding list of names: monkfish, laverbread, ground beef, ground beef stew, tomato sauce. Here is a category of foods, found across the world’s cuisines, that have become defined in relation to another food, often as a “poor man’s” substitute for an expensive ingredient.
These dishes are distinct from the trompe l’œil of meat fruit and liquid olives favoured by elites through time, from 16th century courtiers to 21st century molecular gastronomers. Rather than spectacular deceptions, these are forgeries in broad brushstrokes, born out of the creativity provoked by both necessity and desire. Italian pasta sauces exemplify this imaginative flex, as food writer Emiko Davies has shown: sugo scappato and sugo finto (fake sauce) are tomato-based sauces defined by the absence of meat; for sugo al pesce fuggito (fugitive fish sauce), seashells or seaweed-covered rocks are boiled with water to impart a maritime murmur into a dish. Sugo bugiardo, (liar’s sauce) meanwhile, bulks a little meat with hearty vegetables and legumes to produce an approximate ragu.
Cultures of eating shift across time and geographies, creating slippages in taste that are carried in the languages of substitution: “poor man’s asparagus” denotes salsify in Scandinavia, but samphire in Britain. The German falsche hase — false rabbit — is a wartime meatloaf alternative, while in Australia, where rabbits are a populous invasive species thanks to European introduction for sport in the 19th century, rabbit is “underground mutton.”
These imitation foods are not limited to the role of lesser substitute. They are suggestive, coaxing the eater to notice new connections and draw the absent food into fresh relief. There are likenesses that require sensory decoding, like the careful noticing of an uncannily cerebral wobble in a bowl of silken tofu pudding, which gives it the name 豆腐脑, doufunao. Tofu brains. Or the sense memory required for sense-making when it comes to fish-fragrant dishes, learning the unmistakable blend of pickled Sichuan chilli, ginger, garlic, and spring onions.
Eventually such foods find their way onto restaurant menus, either to feed their communities in homes away from home, or in a novel iteration, reinvented once again as delicacies. Here is a guide to some of the best fugitive foods that London has to offer.

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Sales and Marketing Director (EMEA) – London

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We are working closely with a leading international publisher of licensed children’s books to recruit an experienced Sales and Marketing Director for EMEA. This is an integral leadership role responsible for some of the world’s most recognisable and prestigious book brands.
What it takes:

A demonstrable track record of building both sales and margin growth, with a commercially minded approach
Experience in successfully managing and motivating teams located across international borders
Extensive knowledge and understanding of the co-edition and rights markets in licensed and/or children’s publishing
A complete understanding, beyond sales headlines, of margins, cost management and budgeting
Being capable of creating and executing sales and marketing strategies
Thriving in fast-paced work environments and being able to manage multiple high priority projects simultaneously
A strong leading voice across sales strategy, market development and marketing activities
An agile and strong communicator both internally and with licensors
Extensive EMEA or directly relevant experience

The right person is comfortable as a leader, with commercial experience managing a team to deliver successful business units, going beyond just a ‘sales department’.
With flexible working options, a very competitive salary and bonus structure, this role offers incredible opportunities for an ambitious and proven sales leader.
At Wonderful Recruitment we provide opportunities for candidates to discover some of the most interesting and dynamic roles in the entertainment industry. For more information about this role please send your CV and salary expectations to Dean@wonderfulideasproject.com and Dan@wonderfulideasproject.com.
 

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Paris, Madrid, Barcelona among candidate cities to host ICE from 2025 – IAG

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Clarion Gaming, organizer of ICE London, says it has narrowed the shortlist of potential future hosts of the hugely popular industry trade show to four European cities, with its current London home joined by Barcelona and Madrid in Spain as well as Paris, France.
The decision to explore a potential move comes amid pressure from some industry representatives, with Clarion working alongside specialist consultants Equimore to establish the finalist shortlist. The successful candidate will be announced in 3Q23 following a competitive bidding process and will host ICE for a period of five years between 2025 and 2029.
“This robust process is customer-centric and the decision will be taken in the best interests of our stakeholders and of the global gaming industry,” said Alex Pratt, Group Managing Director of Clarion Gaming.
“iGB Affiliate London is very much part of the process and we are engaging with iGB Affiliate stakeholders in order to identify their preferred strategic path.
“The four short-listed cities will progress through a selection process with the help of the experienced and knowledgeable team at Equimore which is overseeing every aspect of what is a robust program.
“In addition to the suitability of locations in terms of capacity, facilities and the ability to accommodate projected future growth the process also encompasses dateline availability, transport connectivity with the rest of the world as well as the broader hospitality infrastructure including accommodation costs.
“By pursuing all due diligence we will identify the city that’s best equipped to not only host an event which continues to play such a central role in helping to create opportunity and prosperity for gaming businesses of all sizes, across every vertical and in every global jurisdiction, but also demonstrate its leadership in the sector.
“In the interests of transparency Clarion will not be making any further comment during the official process.”

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ICE London 2023 to feature exhibitors from record 68 nations – IAG

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Industry trade show ICE London will feature exhibitors from a record 68 nations, topping the previous best of 65 set three years ago, according to organizer Clarion Gaming.
ICE London returns as a full-sized show for the first time since 2020 from 7 to 9 February, with the total 623 exhibitors representing everything from Argentina to Australia and Macau to Mexico.
“No other exhibition in the gaming space can come anywhere near the internationalism of ICE,” said Clarion Gaming Managing Director, Stuart Hunter.
“To have 68 nations represented by our community of exhibitors means that visitors are immediately part of what is a global experience with unique access to the smartest gaming innovators drawn from every corner of the world. There are very few exhibitions of scale in any industry sector which are able to compare with such international representation and legitimately lay claim to being a ‘global’ or a ‘world’ event.
“Once an event is recognized as being genuinely international, stakeholder groups including brands, regulators, trade associations, media groups and strategic industry-wide bodies focus their activities accordingly.
“Research that we’ve undertaken has shown that for many people ICE and iGB Affiliate London actually start on the Sunday preceding and finish on the following Saturday. In that week we estimate that over 100 gambling industry events will take place outside of the show hours providing a new and compelling perspective on why ICE and iGB Affiliate London are so influential and important to the world industry.”
IAG will have a team of four at ICE London next week. Visit us at Stand ND7-C.

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