In his review of Corrigan’s Mayfair in London, Matthew Norman devotes the first 285 words to a single hypothesis: The best professional cooks are, like Norman himself, portly:

Just as you can’t put too much faith in a bald barber or in a psychiatrist whose jacket does up from the back, so you cannot fully trust a professional cook with a Body Mass Index anywhere near whatever nonsense the powers that be classify as “normal”.

The premise is neither amusing nor original nor valid. A thick rim of fat might be a requirement for dart players, judging from last week’s World Darts Championship at Lakeside, but Heston Blumenthal, Joël RobuchonFerran Adrià, Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller prove you don’t need a body like the Michelin man’s to gather his stars.

It is, however, useful for a chef to be a good eater.  The innovative and, yes, slender chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten told me he consumes each new dish in its entirely before approving it for his menu. Familiar with the laws of diminishing returns, Jean-Georges knows that if he likes the last morsel as much as the first, as was the case with his molten chocolate cake, he probably has a winner.

It’s helpful for a food critic to be a good eater, too.  The more he eats the more he can tell as about the restaurant, the chef and the menu.  Yet at Corrigan’s Mayfair, Norman chose to share a single dessert with his companion.  What a time he chooses to go on a diet!  There are seven puds on the menu, yet Norman thinks sharing one is sufficient for him to write an informed restaurant review in a national quality daily newspaper.

Personally I would prefer my reviewers not share their desserts.  Better they should eat them from beginning to end, just like Jean-Georges. But if they insist on sharing desserts than I’d prefer they share five or six and tell us all about them.