After 48 years, Fay Maschler is stepping down as the main restaurant reviewer of The Evening Standard. Countless industry figures will wish her well and rightly eulogise about her legacy to journalism but we couldn’t let this moment pass without paying our own tribute to someone so integral to the success of StreetSmart.
Back in 1998, Fay was instrumental in getting StreetSmart off the ground by encouraging restaurateurs to consider helping to raise funds for homeless people in London. Over 20 years later, she has still been kind enough every year, to put pen to paper, send emails and social media posts promoting our cause. We send her a request for help around harvest time, she never disappoints and we reap the rewards. This year with hospitality on its knees she wrote a heartfelt note, understanding but persuasive, urging those who felt they could help out to do so.
The impact of those notes shouldn’t be underestimated. For a small charity like ours, her standing in the industry demands the attention that we would otherwise not receive. So from old favourites like Bellamy’s and Riva to trendy newer spots like Madame Pigg and The Clove Club they have answered the call every Christmas and her endorsement has helped us raise millions of pounds for the homeless.
I love her writing. Her reviews are packed with information about venue, food and service alongside a sprinkling of history regarding proprietor or chef . We also get a little peak into her comings and goings as a true Londoner. She is clearly a lover of the arts, a pro-european and a champion of good causes. She’s never mean, always concise and her credibility is undeniable. She captures the essence of the dining experience which recently we’ve realised is so missable and is so important to us as social beings.
Seeing her weekly review in the pages of the Evening Standard is, to me as London as hailing a black taxi in the rain after a long lunch at St John. We will miss our weekly and her annual helping.