Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women

Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women
Matchmaker Jessica Dreyer. Photo: private
By: Emma Anderson/The Local
With thousands of American military members and personnel in the Wiesbaden (Germany) community, there is certainly a market for foreign singles looking to settle in. And that’s where matchmaker Jessica Dreyer steps in.

When Wiesbaden native Jessica Dreyer started working at the US Army Europe headquarters in her hometown, she noticed an interesting phenomenon. At work, her American male colleagues were eager to find out if she had any single, German friends that they could meet. And in her personal life, her female German friends inquired about the potential availability of any of her US army co-workers.

“I thought, ‘I could make a business out of this’,” Dreyer tells The Local.

And so she did last summer, launching her matchmaking service under the name “US Love Wiesbaden”.

Business started to really boom after a few months when local media noticed the novel dating firm, and now she receives on average 60 to 80 new inquiries from Germans and Americans combined each week.

While she gets calls and emails from all kinds of people, including men seeking men and women seeking women, Dreyer says her biggest client base is German women seeking US military men and vice versa.

This, she says, is simply because of the numbers: The US Army counts 3,100 soldiers, 3,900 American civilian workers, and 1,100 retirees as part of its Wiesbaden Garrison. And around 85 percent of military personnel are male.

For a city that has a long history with the American military, such pairings between American soldiers and German women are also perhaps not so uncommon. Wiesbaden was captured by US forces in March of 1945 during the Second World War, and remained under American occupation after the war’s end. Troops have been present in the Wiesbaden area ever since.

Even beloved American superstar Elvis Presley spent some time stationed near Wiesbaden – a fact which the city proudly boasts about online – and made sure to carve his and wife Priscilla’s initials into a Wiesbaden tree.

Plus, Dreyer also works with clients in nearby Kaiserslautern, where tens of thousands more American armed forces and government affiliates live in the largest US military community abroad.

But even though Germans and Americans have long lived with one another in the area, stereotypes on both sides persist, which perhaps drives some of the mutual interest.

“A lot of German women want to meet an American because they say they like the culture, the way of life, the music, being in the USA and the way they think American men are… They find a man in the US armed forces very attractive,” Dreyer explains.

“The way American men look and act, they seem very friendly and like they will be good partners because they are easy going. They think German men are not so easy going in life, and are too picky with things.”

And Dreyer’s American male clients sometimes have just as many preconceived notions of German women – including quite romantic ones.

“American men say they like the women here, they’re taller on average and seem a little more natural. A lot of American men say they love the idea of an international romance. They might like the accent, or the different heritage.”

Dreyer also makes it clear that she’s not doing this to help arrange marriages for legal purposes, like gaining citizenship. And for the most part, neither are her clients.

“To the people who say they just want to meet and marry [for citizenship], I say I’m not a marriage agency. This is about dating and relationships, not about getting a green card or something.”

To set up the matches, Dreyer meets with prospective clients in person to get a sense of who they are, as well as to ask them what they’re looking for in a mate. Her customers tend to be aged 35 and up, which she attributes to the fact that older singles are looking for more discreet and direct ways of meeting someone than dating apps with online profiles.

Dreyer charges men €189 ($206US) for their first match – €50 ($55US) more than she charges women, who she says she charges less because they generally earn less than the men. Fees for subsequent matches are then the same: €95.($103US)

An important factor in the matchmaking though, is that the German will almost always have to speak English: her American clients rarely speak German well enough to have a conversation, if they speak it at all.

“Most Americans don’t speak German well, but most Germans speak solid English… but if they say they don’t speak English, I have to tell them to consider how they think they can have a relationship with an American this way.”

But when it comes to dating norms, Dreyer says there aren’t the same barriers. Germans and Americans tend to have similar views on courtship, such as questioning who should pay on the first date. Just as in the US, in Germany the answer to this depends on the individuals, Dreyer says.

One thing that is a bit different is the question of marriage. Still, given that her business kicked off less than a year ago, Dreyer hasn’t had any couples get to this point yet.

“Americans expect marriage to come sooner. In Germany we tend to wait years before getting married. We want to make sure we have the right person on hand.”


North Korea nuclear threat: should California start panicking?

As rhetoric between North Korea and the US ratchets up, should major cities on the west coast be worried about a missile strike? Experts say the answer is tricky

Unidentified rockets at a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on 15 April 2017.

Unidentified rockets at a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang on 15 April 2017. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

In test blasts, military parades and propaganda videos that show San Francisco and Washington DC in ruins, North Korea has broadcast its intention to be a world nuclear power. Less clear, experts say, is how close the secretive nation is to realizing its ambitions to threaten the mainland of the United States.

As rhetoric between the two nations has ratcheted up in recent weeks, residents of major west coast cities such as San Francisco, Portland and Seattle have begun to ask out loud: should they be worried?

Click on the Link Below for the rest of the Story

Scary Stuff: Russia warns US/US sends war ships toward North Korea

Fighter jet onboard USS Carl Vinson.

North Korea is vowing tough action to counter any moves by the US after it sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean peninsula. Photograph: Lee Jin-man/AP

“He’d bomb the shit out of them”

For years, The leaders in North Korea were like a mischievous child.  Making threats breaking things to get the worlds attention and respect.  Wanting a place at the adult table.

Since taking power last year, 34 year old Supreme Leader,Kim Jong-un has accelerated the county’s nuclear missile program.   Experts believe North Korea will have missiles capable of reaching Australia in two years and America in four.

The world is concerned about this mischievous child. While Korea hasn’t attacked another country in over sixty years, the question is when.   When will the mischievous child have a full on tantrum?  Korea currently doesn’t have range to fire missiles to Europe, and the Americas, it does has a sophisticated fleet of  submarines capable of firing missiles.  Experts believe North Korea’s navy has around 70 submarines in its fleet, although only a handful today are believed to be capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles or so-called SLBMs.

North Korean state media on Tuesday warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of a U.S. pre-emptive strike as a U.S. Navy strike group led by a nuclear-powered aircraft steamed towards the western Pacific.

Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula with talk of military action by the United States gaining traction following its strikes last week against Syria and amid concerns the reclusive North may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.

“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland,” it said.

North Korea shares a border with Russia and China and is 5800 miles from the west coast of the United States.

45, wants something to be done immediately!  He want’s China to put pressure on North Korea

In a tweet, “I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem,”

In a Second tweet “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.,”


From the Washington Post

China’s Xi calls Trump, urges peaceful approach to North Korea

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged President Trump to find a peaceful solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula during a telephone call between the two leaders early Wednesday, state media reported.  The phone call comes just four days after the pair held face-to-face talks in Florida “

Xi Jinping stressed that China insists on realizing the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, insists on maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, advocates resolving the problem through peaceful means and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the U.S. side on the issue of the peninsula,” the paper wrote.

In a sign of its own growing discomfort at being caught in the middle, China’s Foreign Ministry also weighed in soon after.  “It is irresponsible and even dangerous to take any actions that may escalate the tension,” spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news conference. “All relevant parties should exercise restraint and keep calm, ease the tension instead of provoking each other and adding fuel to the fire.”

But Lv Chao, a North Korean studies expert at Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said the situation on the Korean Peninsula appeared to top the agenda, warning that it had become a “very serious standoff” after the U.S. carrier had entered nearby waters.


Would 45 go to war with North Korea to increase his approval ratings? 

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“The concerned parties should really signal red lights and hit the brake to defuse the situation,” Lv said. “Otherwise, it would be very easy for this to accidentally turn into a conflict. Though it’s very unlikely to have a full-scale war on the peninsula, it’s still very dangerous.”


The Pentagon sent a Navy strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier towards the Korean Peninsula over the weekend to “maintain readiness” amid concerns the regime in Pyongyang could be preparing for more missile launches and a possible sixth nuclear test.

Experts say a military strike by the United States remains unlikely, partly because it is not clear where to strike, and partly because North Korea would probably respond with a devastating attack on the South Korean capital Seoul.

China says it has suspended coal imports from North Korea to comply with U.N. resolutions, but also urges a resumption of talks to find a peaceful settlement. It will not support any action that undermines or could topple the regime in Pyongyang.

“Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises,” 


After Syria

Most of our allies and the fifty seven percent of Americans support the airstrikes in in Syria. But the majority are wary of any further U.S. military action in the country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, issued US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a warning Wednesday against any further US strikes on the Syrian regime. Russia is Syria’s most powerful ally.  Russia “saw some very troubling actions regarding the attack on Syria,” he said, according to an official Russian interpreter.  “We believe it is fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again.”

Lavrov also complained about the mixed messages coming out of Washington on the Trump administration’s policy on Syria, with the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, making clear Assad should have no future in Syria as Tillerson took a softer line.
“I will be frank that we had a lot of questions regarding a lot of very ambiguous as well as contradictory ideas on a whole plethora of bilateral and international agenda coming from Washington,”
The US claims the strike destroyed 20% of Syria’s operational aircraft, a figure disputed by Russia’s Defense Ministry.      But the White House has also caused a great deal of confusion — the US position on Syria is still woefully unclear, as Trump has made no comprehensive statement on Syria since last week’s missile attack.      He has made some comments to Fox News on Syria, saying he did not plan for the US to be drawn fully into the Syrian war.

 Update: Reuters 04/12/2017

North Korea warns of nuclear strike if provoked; Trump ‘armada’ steams on

North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression, as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific – a force U.S. President Donald Trump described as an “armada”.

Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbor, said in a tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.

Click Link for rest of the story
What is unsettling,is the absence of a plan. 45 reacted to images of dead children. The same children he will not allow into America.  The Airstrikes moved the needle for 45, a win.
Does he has the wisdom.
We his ego allow him to retreat from  a young Kim Jong-um or is it about winning?  During the election,  Candidate Trump proudly said with regard to Isis: “He would Bomb the Shit out of them”   I said I don’t want to really tell you, but I realized I had to because I’m getting killed by these people [in the media] who say “Trump doesn’t have a plan for ISIS!”  I said no, I have a plan but I don’t want to tell ISIS what it is, because I’m going to win.
He has been in office for nearly 90 days, the plan is still a secret  He can strike North Korea as he struck Syria.  Scary Stuff

Switzerland:Why slow-burn Lausanne is a place you grow to love

Photo: Swiss Tourism
From its creative vibe to its lakeside location, here’s why Greek freelance writer Rania Margari thinks her adopted city of Lausanne,Switzerland  is a great place to live.
Lausanne may not be a city you instantly fall in love with, but it has the power to grow on you, and one day you suddenly wake up and realize there are so many reasons to love living here. That’s what happened me at least. So here’s why I think Lausanne is a great place to be.
It’s easy to live in
Chilling out at Ouchy. Photo: The Local
With a compact town center – which nevertheless has some ruthless uphill roads, as the whole city is built on three hills – and an amazing lake promenade stretching all the way from Pully and Ouchy port to the residential area of Saint Sulpice and beyond, there are countless possibilities for walks.
Around the city, green parks abound, offering some stunning views of the Alps and Lake Geneva: my favorite panoramic spots are Lac Sauvabelin, Esplanade de Montbenon, Parc de Milan and the botanical gardens, plus Le Denantou Parc near the Olympic Museum, right next to the lake.  In summer every single park is packed and having a picnic next to the lake with friends and family becomes an all-day ritual.
Festivals such as Festival de la Cité and Lausanne Estivale, during which the city becomes a big open-air music and theatre show, help make the city an enticing place to be in summer.
Its architecture is a pleasing mix of old and modern 
Lausanne’s pretty Place de la Palud includes the city hall. Photo: Christof Schuerpf/Swiss Tourism 
Lausanne has some stunning buildings spread around the city. In fact, there are 46 buildings and sites listed as Swiss Heritage sites of national significance, such as the Casino de Montbenon and the city hall. Naturally, there are also a few modern, blunt buildings but for the moment they are in the minority.
La Cité, the Old Town below the cathedral as well as the neighborhoods spreading from the train station down to the lake are particularly charming. I often find myself walking around avenues Grancy and Frédéric-César de La Harpe admiring Lausanne’s fine architecture.
But I love the modern face of the city as well, such as Le Flon with its restaurants, cafés and shops including my favorite, vintage furniture shop La Malle au Trésor.
Modern architecture is represented by such gems as the Rolex Learning Center, a university study centre located on the campus of science and technology university École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which is open not only to students but also to the public. I often like to take my guests there for a tour.
It’s family-friendly
Ouchy is a great place for families. Photo: Rania Margari
Having recently acquired a baby boy joining me on my adventures around Lausanne, I have started to notice how kid-friendly the city is. Going for walks is such a pleasure since access is easy with elevators and ramps almost everywhere. The challenge of going uphill is solved by taking public transport, which is free for kids up to six years old. There are also plenty of kids’ corners in various shops and cafes. My favorite so far is Culture Café inside FNAC.
“I appreciate the ludotheques here where you can rent quality toys, bikes, instruments, costumes, games (for kids and adults) for as little as one franc for a month,” says Karin Ling, an expat mother of two.
“We also love the toy markets that pop up twice a year in different neighborhoods where children and their families sell their used toys super cheap. Because of how expensive things can be in Switzerland, my husband and I get as excited about the second hand toys as our kids do.”
It has a thriving gastro scene
Lausanne’s food truck festival in Riponne was a big success in 2016 and returns in June this year. Photo: Rania Margari
It’s hardly Lyon or San Sebastian but the gastronomy in Lausanne is quite diverse.
Its celebrated each summer in the Lausanne à Table festival,  which includes a vast array of foodie events. From May to September, there are visits to the city’s chocolate artisans, guided gourmet walks, farm visits, workshops for kids, unusual dining experiences, a lively food truck festival, and a massive picnic, all of which turns the city into a gourmet oasis.
Street food is also gaining in popularity, as is the case across the country. Over the last few years Riponne has become a centerpiece for street food vendors and on a sunny day there is nothing better than eating your Lebanese lunch or sweet crepe amidst the buzz here. That’s where you’ll also find coffee trucks including Rush and Sydney, which serve killer espressos, flat whites and hot chocolates.
Microbreweries are booming as well. Two local ones, La Nébuleuse and Docteur Gab’s, have experienced big demand for their craft beers which can now be found in numerous bars and restaurants around Lausanne. Sample those and many other  craft beers at Pi Bar.
It’s young, creative and dynamic 
EPFL helps create a young, dynamic vibe in the city. Photo: Lausanne Tourism
The presence of EPFL, the University of Lausanne and the hotel school École Hôtelier de Lausanne (EHL) means there are tons of students in the city. These institutions play a pivotal role in the city’s vibrant energy,  attracting people who are curious, international-minded and have a willingness to learn, grow and embrace the new. You can feel that by a simple visit to EPFL’s premises.

This youthful creativity has helped fuel a recent boom in crowd-funded spaces such as Ta Cave wine bar, Mood Café and Crazy Wolf burger restaurant.

“In the last few years many entrepreneurial initiatives have been launched across Lausanne, from design studios to cafés and co-working spaces,” says Géraldine Morand, founder of the design blog
“All these projects, led with talent and passion, keep inspiring and enabling more and more people to reinvent the city they live in. As Lausanne isn’t too big, global ideas meet local insights and this unique combination gives the city its own creative vibe.”
Alex Barakat from Crazy Wolf thinks Lausanne’s diverse, international population makes creating a trendy restaurant, bar or theatre show easier. “As crowdfunding requires engagement from the local inhabitants, Lausanne is a good city in which to launch a crowdfunded project, as long as it is well-designed, attractive and that locals can identify with the project and the team behind it,” he says.
The great outdoors is on your doorstep
The beautiful vineyards of Lavaux are on the doorstep. Photo: Marcus Gyger/Swiss Tourism
Lausanne’s location is a winner: firstly, it’s a grape’s throw from the Lavaux, the Unesco World Heritage vineyards next to Lake Geneva. That’s a great place to escape city life, walking or biking among the vineyards and the quaint, medieval villages with their spectacular views and wine cellars.
There are also numerous ski resorts nearby for skiing in winter or hiking in summer. Portes du Soleil, Villars and Chamonix, to name just a few, are all easily reachable for a day excursion or a weekend recharge.
Lastly, being in the center of Europe means you can drive to various European destinations like Italy, France, Germany and Austria, while Lausanne’s proximity to Geneva airport means it’s easy to discover further-flung destinations. Weekend in Iceland anyone?

Spain: Priest who dressed up as Hugh Hefner and simulated sex with male playboy bunnies seeks forgiveness

Priest who dressed up as Hugh Hefner and simulated sex with male playboy bunnies seeks forgiveness
The priest of Cuntis, Spain raised eyebrows with his carnival costume choice.
The parish priest from the Galician town of Cuntis has apologized for his “misguided” carnival costume which saw him posing on a float as the Playboy founder along with men dressed as Playboy bunnies.

Juan Carlos Martínez, 40, provoked more than raised eyebrows when he joined the town’s carnival festivities last week and posed on a float dressed as the legendary Lothario, complete with dressing gown, captain’s cap and cigar.

At his sides were two rather delectable companions: Two men decked in black leotards over stockings and a barely-there netting skirt and topped off with bunny ears over colorful wigs. Presumably they also had white cottontails pinned to their backsides.

View image on Twitter

The trio lounged on red satin sheets on a trailer made out to look like a bed in the Playboy mansion as they were towed through the streets of the town behind a 4X4 in the small town near Pontevedra in northwestern Spain.

At one point, “a bunny” leapt astride “Hugh” and simulated sex.

But while such costumes and high jinks are typical at carnival time, Catholic Church authorities were quick to express their dismay at such ill-advised antics.

Father Martínez was asked to attend a “spiritual retreat” to reflect on “behavior clearly inappropriate for a priest”, according to La Voz de Galicia,

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Although residents in the town of 5,000 people, appear not to be offended by the priest’s carnival display, and have spoken out to support him, the priest himself can’t stop apologizing.

“I am so sorry to those who feel offended,” said the repentant curate from the pulpit adding that he had requested an appointment with the Archbishop of Santiago to make a formal apology.

“Such things happen at carnival, it’s just a bit of fun,” one resident said in a TV report broadcast on Antena 3. “He’s a great priest and everyone loves him.”

When a senior priest came to the parish to admonish Father Martínez, he found dozens of residents had gathered outside his home to show their support.

“It’s great that he is well loved by the people he served,”  the senior priest Calixto Covo told La Voz de Galicia, adding that despite the displeasure of the Archbishop there would be no lasting consequences for Father Martínez.

India: How Twitter helped a 5-Month old get her food on time

Maharashtra Times

In a pleasant turn of events, a couple, with their five month old baby – Kartiki was travelling from Gujarat India to Tirunelveli, when the milk they bought for the infant curdled due to the heat.

Unfortunately, the trains next halt was at Ratnagiri station which was a few hours away. And to make matters more complicated, the train pantry was out of milk.

While the toddler continued to wail in hunger, a co-passenger Neha Bapat tweeted about the situation to her friends. Soon help started pouring in from Neha’s friends across Mumbai, Pune, Ratnagiri and Nashik.

One of Neha’s friends, Anagha Nikam-Makdum sprung into action and tweeted the matter to Konkan Railways. The railway officials immediately responded to the Tweet on social media and the couple was handed over a bag of milk at Kolad station.

Last month, railway had announced a new policy for its catering services which shall separate the functioning of its cooking and food distribution onboard.


Death threats and angry chefs – when restaurant reviews go wrong

Eating nice food for a living sounds great, but there are downsides: from being unmasked to finding out, after you’ve published a glowing review, that there were rodents in the kitchen. The UK’s top critics spill the beans

‘The rat droppings were exquisitely cooked’ ... CheeMc restaurant, which didn’t quite live up to Jay Rayner’s billing.

‘The rat droppings were exquisitely cooked’ … CheeMc restaurant, which didn’t quite live up to Jay Rayner’s billing. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Observer

By: Alexi Duggins/UK Guardian

Being paid to eat is a pretty good gig, but it isn’t without problems. There are restaurants that try to hoodwink you, angry chefs to contend with and, as the Observer’s Jay Rayner found out recently, always the possibility that a place you have raved about may have kitchens that are not entirely rodent-free. (A south London Korean restaurant he loved was temporarily closed after rat droppings were found among the ingredients.) We spoke to some of Britain’s top restaurant critics to find out about the trickier parts of the trade.

Restaurateurs can get very angry

Fay Maschler, Evening Standard

In the 40-odd years I have been reviewing, I’ve had a few angry reactions from restaurants – more so when I started. Back then, it was unusual to be critical, as a lot of restaurant reviews were linked to the advertisements – someone eating for free and then saying things such as: “My companion plumped for the pâté, washing it down with the eminently quaffable house wine …” So when I didn’t have to satisfy advertisers, my reviews could upset people used to the old system. There was this guy who was running a pretentious, bogus French restaurant who just couldn’t believe I would come to his restaurant and criticise anything. I had to go back with the features editor, where in an empty dining room we ate another deeply mediocre meal, this time accompanied by a string trio. I had a death threat once, a note scribbled in pencil that said: “I am going to come round and stab you.” Now so many people review restaurants that I tend to get fewer hostile responses. Tom Sellers recently wrote a public letter criticising me and my review of his restaurant Ours. I didn’t pay it much attention. I got some nice messages of solidarity from others in the business – and I wasn’t alone in not liking it. For the most part it is a lovely job being a restaurant critic. To complain would be churlish.”

The inscrutability of food hygiene

Jay Rayner, The Observer

“I have form for recommending restaurants that are then shut down for health and safety reasons. CheeMc on Walworth Road, south London, is the latest (although it has now reopened), but it’s the third time it has happened in my memory – the other two being Sichuanese places. I love those scuzzy, down-at-heel restaurants because they tend to get by on trade from a specific ethnic group, which means that their food can be very uncompromising. It’s cooking with hobnailed boots on – this is food that leaves its mark on you. But there really is no way to know what the hygiene is like in the kitchen. It’s not my job to check their health and safety, so I work on the basis that if a restaurant is trading then it’s already passed all those rules. Admittedly, health and safety is a function of price. When you pay for your expensive linguine dish at the Ivy, you’re also paying for the eight kitchen porters whose entire job is to keep the kitchens clean. When you pay buttons for fried chicken at a small establishment, you’re not. But plenty of places are fine and reports of hygiene problems in the odd one don’t make me think that I’m an idiot for ever having gone there. Personally, I think it’s worth taking a risk occasionally.”

Restaurants can be unpredictable

Tania Ballantine, Time Out

Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do as a critic. Occasionally you have restaurants who will get in fantastic chefs for the first six months, because they know that that’s the period during which all the reviews are written. We had this Greek place once that we reviewed well, but then started to get bad reports about – it turned out that they had flown in this superstar chef from Greece for a few months just to get it good reviews. Other times, the restaurant can’t help it. They will hire an ambitious, talented young chef (such as when Pidgin hired Elizabeth Allen, or Pachamama hired Adam Rawson) and, just when the place really starts to get a name for itself, that chef moves on to pursue a brighter future. You can’t blame the chefs, it’s human nature. But it’s bad news for the reader, because most professional reviews will be based on when there was a different person running the kitchen – and, as a critic, it’s frustrating because you just couldn’t have foreseen that happening.

Maintaining your cover can be tricky

Marina O’Loughlin, Guardian Weekend

“I’ve got a radar now as to the rare occasions that I think I’ve been clocked. But not always: I met a famous restaurateur while out on the lash. My way more famous restaurant critic friend introduced me as Maureen from Glasgow then staggered off to the loo, leaving me alone with the restaurateur. At first I sat in horrified silence: of course, I knew who he was. Eventually, drink got the better of me and I confessed: “R, it’s me – Marina.” He looked at me, amused, and said: “I know.” Obviously, I blame the drink. Another time, a well-known chef was in the same restaurant as me and approached my table with a triumphant: “Hello, Marina!” But it was, bizarrely, addressed to my pal. I’ve no idea how or why this happened.

Restaurant staff aren’t always kind to critics

Tim Hayward, Financial Times

Restaurants have pictures of well-known critics on the back of their kitchen doors so that the staff know who to watch out for. When I first started reviewing restaurants, no one knew who I was. I just wasn’t a big enough name to have my photograph up there yet. Then one day I got a phonecall from a friend, who had been scouting for locations for a TV programme, saying: “I’ve just seen seen your face on the back of a kitchen door.” My reaction was: “Yes! That’s fantastic! I”ve arrived!” I was very happy about it. Then she said: “Yes, but underneath it says, ‘He looks like a fat, bald Corbyn.’”