Another day, another awards ceremony and another Lifetime Achievement gong for Terence. Mat Riches, Terence’s PR man tells all…
The occasion last night was the Tatler Magazine Restaurant Awards, held in the grand space of the Langham Hotel’s Ballroom, where Terence was honoured for his outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry.
David Hesketh, Managing Director of Laurent-Perrier UK, who had been doused with Champagne from the flute of a certain Conran employee moments before going on stage, presented Terence with the award, which he called an “absolute pleasure.”
Terence told the packed crowd of movers and shakers from the restaurant, and PR, industry: “I’m not sure why I am getting a lifetime achievement award as I feel like I’m only just beginning – it makes me realise I have still got an awful lot to do.”
Other winners last night included Nicolas Clerc of Le Pont de la Tour for wine list and sommelier and ex-Orrery chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin who won best restaurant for Galvin La Chappelle.
As you can see from the picture of Terence receiving his award, the Conran team were at the heart of the crowd with a great spot to enjoy the evening.
Whilst we are talking Conran restaurants…
The excellent Clare-Dwyer Hogg from the Independent on Saturday magazine wrote a piece last weekend about the secret history of the Quaglino’s ashtray.
Clare suggests that Terence “just thought the patrons of his restaurant were unlikely thieves. But he was forgetting that they were flocking to Quaglino’s precisely because the restaurant’s reputation was synonymous with design.”
That’s not quite the whole story, explains Mat Riches again; as always ‘Sir’ knew exactly what he was doing.
Each of the Conran restaurants had its own ashtray, which captured the character and personality of the place but, in my opinion, the Quag’s “Q” just happened to be more beautiful and covetable than most. But whenever I sit in an interview with Terence and he is asked about the pilfering of Quaglino’s ashtrays he chuckles to himself and says that it was no surprise he has always taken it as a huge compliment:
“A great deal of time and effort went in to designing them and we had great fun. Although we would have preferred customers to buy them from behind the bar, we always knew full well that a good amount of them would make their way in to people’s handbags and pockets so it was not as if we were looking at it naively. They were a great, if expensive, marketing tool!”
Clare quite rightly quotes that by the time the restaurant was 10 years old, more than 25,000 of Quaglino’s ashtrays had gone “missing”. What she doesn’t mention is that by Quag’s 10th birthday 2.5 million customers had been served, 220,000 bottles of champagne had been poured and 75 tons of oysters and 30 tons of chateaubriand had been eaten.
And don’t tell Terence, but I’ve got two of them at home – one for salt and pepper and one for smokers!