AA Gill: We should stick to what we're good at (and it's not money)
Published 24/11/2010 | 05:00
HE'S known for shooting from the hip -- and yesterday was no different for outspoken restaurant critic AA Gill.
Ireland should not feel humiliated at calling in the IMF as nobody ever expected Irish people to be good with money, Mr Gill declared at a key tourism conference.
If we were Swiss then being bailed out would be humiliating, but the Irish should instead stick with hospitality which is what we are good at, Mr Gill told the Failte Ireland National Tourism conference in Dublin.
It's the English thing to have a stiff upper lip and an empire, but when God was giving out stuff, the gift he gave Ireland was hospitality.
"You can be s**t with money, but you can have the craic, you have to choose between being Swiss and being Irish," he said.
"Restaurants were bound to suffer in the recession because it was easy not to eat out, but coming together to eat remained a fundamental part of life and there were things businesses could do to look after their customers.
"The first rule for an owner should be to make sure they used their own restaurant,and ensure all the restaurant's staff had eaten every dish on the menu so they could make helpful recommendations," he added.
"Restaurants had been invented in France at the end of the French Revolution and remained that country's greatest gift to humanity, along with nudity in film.
"The five most depressing words in a restaurant were 'Can I explain our concept', and people should remember there was nothing rational about the restaurant business, as they weren't about hunger or food, or else people would never book six months in advance."
Mr Gill said he did not know a lot about Ireland as a country as he had only been here for two days once before, the first of which he was so "hopelessly drunk" he couldn't remember anything, and the second when everyone else was hopelessly drunk.