Food is Political

The Hospitality guide Harden’s tells us that the number of London restaurants where a meal costs £150 a head has risen by 46% from the end of 2022 to the end of 2023. That’s going from 37 restaurants to 54.

In fact, now meals for two have crossed the £1,000 threshold in some restaurants. Sushi Kanesaka on Park Lane a meal for two with wine and service comes in at £1109.75. Sake bottles start at £250 and rise to £1550. Tap water can be ordered, as can a bottle of beer at £10.Meanwhile, Aragawa charges £500 for a steak, rising to £900. Average prices for a meal, depending on the wine, start at £750.

Soren Jessen, a top restaurant owner in London, noted that “We have this extraordinary difference between the high end and the low end. We have the cost-of-living crisis, but all these people still spending. It’s like the roaring Twenties; there are bad things happening underneath, but at the top people are still splashing out.” 

Restaurant commentator James Hansen predicted the coming of meals at £1,000 for two, pointing to such prices in New York.

Tesco supermarket giant announced its profits for 2023, a whopping £2.83 billion. This is up  by more than £300 million from the previous year. Tesco is one of many companies who have used the cost-of-living crisis to rake in increasing profits. The chief executive of Tesco, Ken Murphy, got a staggering £4.4 million in pay last year.

Meanwhile, between April 2023 and March 2024, the number of people that used a food bank for the first time was 655,000. Between 1st April 2023 and 31st March 2024, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network  in the UK distributed more than 3.1 million emergency food parcels an increase of 94% over the past five years. More than 1.1 million of these parcels were for children. 2.98 million people are now using food banks, up from 60,000 in 2010.

Whilst the rich flaunt their wealth with extravagant displays at restaurants, and whilst food stores engage in an epidemic of profiteering, many are forced to skip meals and make economies. Yet another sign of the increasing gap between the rich and the rest of us. Time for a sweeping social revolution that would remove such obscenities.