David Parkin on bake offs, chefs and Christmas wishes

IF I hadn’t embraced the Christmas spirit this festive season, then there was the perfect opportunity to do it at an event at the Andaz Hotel next to Liverpool Street Station in London this week.

The Andaz, formerly known as the Great Eastern Hotel, is an impressive part of Hyatt Hotels’ portfolio of London properties.

The group’s UK sales team hosted a lunch at the hotel which featured a Great Germanic Bake Off.

Fortunately, after donning our aprons, we didn’t have to bake cakes, just stack and decorate gingerbread stars in the shape of a Christmas tree.

I clearly hadn’t indulged in the wine too much over lunch as I displayed a steady hand with the piping bag containing the icing, even ‘double dotting’ a few of my gingerbread stars.

So what is the difference between a Germanic bake off and its British counterpart?

Well, for one thing, you don’t get the awful puns involving soggy bottoms, buns and baps.

If you look closely enough, you can see me holding my baking triumph in the photo above, alongside the Hyatt team, a glamorous bunch.

These days it seems everything needs to be accompanied by a hashtag.

Perhaps mine should be #nevermindthesizelookatthequalityoftheicing


ENJOYING the Yorkshire Asian Business Association advisory board annual Christmas meal last night, I gazed out of the window of Peachy Keens Indian buffet restaurant.

It overlooks Millennium Square in Leeds, currently home to the city’s annual German Christmas Market.

I’ve made unfavourable comparisons before between the city’s festive market compared to those of Birmingham and Manchester.

It looks from the outside like a shanty town. Mind you, given the state of some of those enjoying the beer hall, it probably looks something of a shambles from the inside, come chucking out time.

There’s probably a lower crime rate in the average Brazilian favela too.


IS it my relatively new Samsung phone or the service from O2 that sees about every other mobile phone call I currently receive dropping out?

As one caller pointed out to me yesterday: “This country can send a man into orbit to the international space station but we can’t ensure people can have a conversation on mobile phones when they are just a few miles apart.”


ONE of the small pleasures of a trip to London is picking up an Evening Standard to read on the train home.

Many complain that London’s newspaper has gone downhill since it became a free giveaway.

I felt it was one of the few newspapers to embrace change and look at a new model when the old one clearly wasn’t working.

If you didn’t like it then you didn’t have to pick it up.

Mind you, the two stories on page three of one copy this week did make me wonder.

The first story on the page was about a model I’ve never heard of called Suki Waterhouse.

She told the newspaper she currently has an “obsession” with the bicycles you can use around London, dubbed Boris Bikes.

After the revelation that she rides them on the pavement because she’s too scared to take them on the roads, she then goes on to inform readers that she is currently on the look out for a new sofa and likes ordering takeaway food to be delivered to her London flat.

The neighbouring “story” reported that chef Heston Blumenthal has introduced a new “nostalgia-themed dining experience” called The Journey at his celebrated restaurant The Fat Duck.

And he claims that it saved a couple’s marriage when they ate there recently.

Heston says that the couple, who had been contemplating divorce, didn’t want to cancel their booking because of the hassle they had gone to to get it, probably months before.

“They sat down and started talking about their favourite chocolate bars. The next minute, they’re saying, ‘Why are we getting divorced?’ They told me: ‘I think you’ve just saved our marriage’.”

I bet their dinner parties are a thrill. Their friends must be delighted that the divorce has been shelved.


THIS year began with me leaving TheBusinessDesk.com and then launching a new events and travel business called COPA.

If I thought that starting a business for the second time would be any easier, then I was mistaken.

But after a few months of hard graft we’ve started to build a bit of a pipeline of work for 2016 that will keep me out of mischief next year.

The business world presents all of us with plenty of challenges, but as long as the highs are more plentiful than the lows then that is what keeps most of us going.

Thank you for your support this year and we look forward to working with you in the future.

In the meantime can I wish you a very happy and enjoyable Christmas and a healthy and successful New Year.

But before that, have a great weekend.

1 thought on “David Parkin on bake offs, chefs and Christmas wishes”

  1. Nice picture David. Did they give you some form of a plinth to stand on? To be fair it’s not often you are towering over people.

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