Wednesday, 8 March 2017


Internationally renowned TV celebrity chef Tremayne Truelove is reported missing in Venice. He was last seen at his hotel on the Grand Canal – as evidenced by his blog at – but his bed had not been slept in when staff arrived in the morning. If anyone can provide information about his whereabouts please contact his editor David Pickering.

No reward.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

I’m back in my hotel room after a very disconcerting evening and feeling more than a little concerned for my welfare. My night out on the town in this most magnificent of cities started well enough with a stroll to the Rialto, where I bought a mask from one of the stalls to provide a suitable disguise just in case I might have attracted the attention of any undesirables. I then crossed over the Rialto Bridge to visit a trattoria I know to be among Venice’s very best. The prospect was so pleasing and the view from the bridge so beguiling I paused to take a snap with the new phone that my agent Barry insisted on me buying. You’ll recall that my old one ended up in the Grand Canal, but let’s not revisit unpleasant memories – read the book if you want to know why.

Here’s the result:

I must say it’s a lovely photo. If I hadn’t chosen a career as a top international TV chef I can quite see that I could easily have joined the elite in the photography biz. But fate has a way of diverting our talents at its own whim, doesn’t it? Ah, well.

After the usual show of delight from the staff at my arrival at the said trattoria I settled down to the serious matter of making choices from the menu. There were all sorts of things I would have liked to try but in the end I thoroughly enjoyed some splendid sarde soar, followed by some equally splendid spaghetti alla puttanesca. All the above was accompanied by a superb 2007 Brunello Di Montalcina (not cheap, but I figured I could pass the bill to the Italian rozzers as I was in the city at their request).

Sad to say, the dessert – tiramisu – wasn’t up to my old pal Walter’s standards. You’ll remember Walter from his appearance early on in my book ‘Travels with Truelove’, if you’ve had the good sense to buy yourself a copy yet (come on, people! It’s not like it’s expensive!). Anyhow, the tiramisu would have had Walter shaking his head in dismay, but by then I’d consumed the best part of the bottle I’d selected and was feeling far too mellow to kick up a fuss about it. Gordo might have done, I dare say, but I eschew his cheap theatricals. I communicated my disappointment more subtly by leaving a smaller tip than I might otherwise have done.

I don’t know what it is with me but with a full belly and a few glasses of red swilling around the system my next thought always seems to be for the ladies. I thought I might try my luck among the tourists who would no doubt still be milling around St Mark’s even at this relatively late hour, or see who was waiting to be dazzled by my repartee at Harry’s Bar, so I crossed back over the Rialto and ambled cheerfully down the busy alleyways in that direction.

Then I got this funny feeling that I was being followed. You know how it is – somehow you just know. I had put my mask back on when I left the trattoria, just to be on the safe side, but I still had this nagging sensation that I was being watched as I sauntered through the evening crowds. At first I tried to ignore it, but the sensation just wouldn’t go away. As I crossed one of the footbridges I risked a quick glance over my shoulder and snapped a rapid shot with my mobile, just in case my suspicions were correct and I could show it to the Italian police when we met up. This is what I caught:

My heart skipped a beat, I can tell you! As you can see, though I admit it’s not my best photographic work, there were two figures behind me, two men dressed in carnival costume with black cloaks and masks. One of them made a pretence of looking at his mobile, but the other was staring directly at – me!

I quickly averted my gaze, turned away and hastened on to St Mark’s, hoping to God they weren’t coming after me. If this pair was indeed following me perhaps I would be able to lose them in the crowds there.

No two places are very far apart in Venice and soon I was stepping out into the wide piazza before the basilica and the Doge’s Palace. It wasn’t as busy as I would have liked, but the open space and number of people taking photos reassured me. If I was being tailed by a couple of mafia hoodlums they wouldn’t try anything underhand when there were other people about, many of them taking photographs.

I fumbled with my mobile phone once more and switched on the camera mode. I wasn’t certain I had caught my pursuers in the previous shot and thought it might be a good idea to take another photograph as a back-up. If anyone was actually following me, one of the Vanni mob perhaps, a decent shot might help the rozzers to identify them. I paused and looked up at the bell tower, then made a pretence of photographing it before swiftly turning to point my camera behind me and pressed the button. This time I was sure I had got them:

They were there, all right. They had their phones out as though interested in taking pictures like any other tourist, but it was very clear that the only object of any interest to them was yours truly. Now I was certain that they were following me.

There was only one thing for it. Whenever circumstances threaten to overwhelm me, and there is no woman at hand to soothe my troubled brow, my solution is always the same. Head for the nearest bar. In this case my choice of retreat was Harry’s Bar on the waterfront nearby.

I half-ran past the Doge’s Palace, shouldering Japanese visitors out of the way as I hurried along the crowded pavements towards my goal. I didn’t dare to turn to see how close my pursuers were, but it was a safe bet they weren’t far behind.

Harry’s Bar, if you don’t know it, was a favourite watering-hole of Ernest Hemingway, but on this occasion sampling one of their cocktails couldn’t have been further from my mind. I crashed through their door with a grateful cry, attracting looks of alarm from all within. Without pausing to explain my haste I rushed through the bar and into the kitchens at the back. The staff backed against their stoves as I hurtled on past them. They knew me pretty well here, of course, and it was probably no great surprise to them to encounter an internationally renowned chef behaving like a panicked rhino in their midst. It’s just that amusing chap Tremayne Truelove up to his usual antics, they’d be saying to one another. Never mind him, he’s English.

I didn’t stay to renew acquaintances but sped for the back door. I was gambling on my pursuers hesitating for a moment before coming into the bar after me and being unaware that I knew the place well and that my plan was to get to the back door in record time and then disappear into the night before they realised what I was up to.

And so it turned out. Luckily for me, as I emerged into the night once more there was no sign of the two masked figures coming round the corner to cut me off. No doubt it would occur to them eventually that there might be another way out of the place but my speedy exit had outpaced them. I dived up the nearest alley and hared back to the safety of my hotel as fast as I could.

And that’s where you find me, huddled up on my bed in a state of panicked terror. My frame of mind was not improved when, a couple of minutes ago, I risked a quick look out of the window to check the alley outside and took another furtive snap.

Not encouraging, I think you'll agree...

And now someone’s knocking at the door. I suppose I’ll have to answer it. It’s probably room service asking if I want a late-night snack or something – they know how important food is to me. I’ll see them off and then phone Barry for his advice (though it’s usually rubbish). Or maybe I should contact the Italian police…

Better answer the door before they take it off its hinges. High time I pulled myself together. I’m not really frigh

Friday, 3 March 2017

‘We know you’re here.’ That’s the message I found scrawled on a scrap of paper outside my door when I went to answer. Just that and my name. Gave me quite a turn, to tell the truth. I shut the door pretty hastily, I confess.

Of course, it could be quite innocent, just the local constabulary indicating that they know I’m in town and will be in touch to arrange a formal interview. Funny way of communicating though, for an official body, and I don’t mind saying that my mind’s gone into overdrive trying to work out who else it might be from. One of my former conquests wishing to renew our acquaintance perhaps? Seems unlikely. And there weren’t any kisses at the end of the message to suggest a womanly touch.

There is another possibility, of course. It may have something to do with my recent unwitting role in the departure of a certain Mafia boss from this earthly realm. I’d quite thought that now he was no longer with us any threat to me was unrealistic. But then I remembered how these mobsters cherish their vendettas and whatnot and it’s not a comforting thought. There may well be some vengeful relative, one I haven’t bedded I mean, who’s out for my blood… a case of Sicilian omerta or whatever it is that they call it.

But what to do? I can’t very well stay in my room for days waiting till the police get in touch. And it would be a criminal waste not to enjoy the pleasures of the city while I’m here. Then it hits me. It’s carnival time! Everyone’s dressing up – all I have to do is pick up a jaunty carnival mask off a stall somewhere and no one will be any the wiser that it’s world-renowned culinary master and unintentional nemesis of organized crime Tremayne Truelove who’s in their midst. Simple.

You see, when you’re faced with an apparently insoluble problem, all it takes is a bit of intelligent reasoning to find a solution. Easy, really. Well, it helps a bit if you’re famished and ready to faint if you don’t tuck into a plateful of Venetian cod baked in salt or some breaded veal cutlets or something. And I am. Funny how fast the mind can operate in such circumstances.

So here goes. A foray towards the Rialto to secure necessary disguise, then off to whatever top Venetian eatery is at hand to stuff my face. Wish me luck!


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Now look here. It's all very well all of you saying the book's terrific and the drawings are out of this world, but that's not much use to me if a) you'd don't blinking well purchase the thing (at an unbelievably reasonable price) or b) do something when you hear I am in trouble.

And I am in trouble. No question about it.

Let me explain. You'll recall I said that I was about to beetle off to Venice once more at the behest of the Italian rozzers who wanted me to clear up one or two details about my adventures in that part of the world a few months back. Well, I'm a law-abiding so-and-so when not forced to bend the rules (it's a cut-throat business, this culinary lark, as I believe I've told you) – so it was off to Heathrow to do my humble bit for the good of society, defend law and order, etc etc. And take advantage of an expenses-paid bit of relaxation in what is surely the finest city on god's earth. If that's not a cue for another of my marvellous sketches I don't know what is...

Bearing in mind what happened last time I flew out of the UK I steered clear of the bars at the airport and settled for a coffee and Danish standing up (I ask you!) at a wobby steel table. It tasted of nothing but sugar and I shall probably be paying for it for the rest of my days.

But enough. Suffice to say I didn't get tiddly enough to end up by mistake in Rio de Janeiro and was soon trundling my self-willed little bag through the narrow alleys and canalsides of La Serenissima once more, savouring the sights and sounds of a city that is like no other. Claims that Birmingham is 'the Venice of the north' are enough to make you weep when you see the original. Even Amsterdam struggles to bear comparison.

I'll spare you any purple prose about the place – you'll have to fork out for the book if you want to relish the full magnificence of my writing style (even after that grammar-merchant David Pickering has gnawed at it, damn his alcohol-soaked hide). Similarly I'll skip over the business of my booking into my favourite haunt overlooking the Grand Canal and patiently receiving the adoring welcome of the staff there, who are always pleased to see me, of course, despite the fact that I only dish out tips when I think they've done something to deserve it, which isn't all that often to tell the truth.

I'm in my room at the hotel even now, but I must break off for a mo' as there's someone at the door. Here's a photograph to keep you happy while I'm seeing to business:


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

I forget if it was Heston or Bettina who told me, years ago now, that I'd never get anywhere in showbiz unless I realised it wasn't the cooking that the public were interested in but the cooks themselves. It was invaluable advice and, god knows, when you see what that pair come up with week after week you can see how ardently they took it to heart themselves. When Bettina leans over a steaming saucepan with her top three buttons undone it might as well be a pair of socks she's stewing up for all Joe Public cares. Heston has to work a bit harder, of course, not having Bettina's natural advantages, but it's all stage magic at bottom – doing something so distracting with one hand that no one notices the other hand as you slip in a can of Heinz Baked Beans or something. We're all at it, truth be told. Even that dear old dragon Mary B.

That was very much the frame of mind with which I approached the writing of the newly published 'Travels', let me add. Not too much about the recipes, but an awful lot about yours truly and the scrapes I always seem to get into. I had my qualms, of course, but that gnome Barry and that incorrigible boozehound David Pickering dictated that that was how it was to be.

It was me, though, who insisted that there should be some drawings of the places I visited, penned by my brilliant self of course. This was one of my favourites:

Now you'd think, after the depths I plumbed in the adventures detailed in the book (should you have had time yet to read beyond the opening pages), that I'd think twice about ever venturing over that particular ground again. Yet here I am, packing my bags as we speak in preparation for a triumphal return to Venice, the scene of some of my all-too-recent lamentable, lascivious and life-imperilling adventures. Your jaw drops open in surprise. I know, I can scarcely believe it myself.

The fact is I don't have much choice in the matter. The Italian police need certain points to be cleared up, and who am I to disappoint them when they're covering the air fare and hotel bill? All they really need to do is buy the book, of course, and everything would be made plain. At only £2.99 or $3.67 a throw for the e-version, it would be a helluva lot cheaper for them, but who am I to interfere? La Serenissima extends her dripping lily-white arms in my direction and I cannot deny her siren call.

Which makes for a good excuse to treat you to another of my delightful little sketches:

What I'm not sure about is what exactly the rozzers need to know. That's the trouble with the past. No one remembers things precisely as they happened, and that effect increases as time passes. When I re-read the book a couple of weeks ago, chiefly to marvel at the dreadful hash David Pickering has made of the thing, I could hardly believe some of the things that happened to little me. The night with that minx Mariana, for instance – I've only got the haziest recollections of that particular romp (and it's probably best that way). Ditto concerning her mother. And then there were the truly terrifying threats I faced in Rome, Naples and Sicily... it's enough to put me off my vittals, even now. Almost.

So, if anyone's popping over to Venice this weekend do let me know and we can share a knowing wink at least as we saunter through St Mark's Square. I believe it's the start of the Carnival season so I might don mask and cloak just for the fun of it. Actually, a bit of a disguise might not be a bad idea should word of my presence leak out to any associates of Mariana's father...


A presto,

Hello, everyone. Yes, this really is me here talking down to you – Tremayne Truelove, celeb chef and dilettante connoisseur of everything most delicious that this world has to offer. As you probably already know, I host of some of the most popular cook and travel shows to have been broadcast in recent years and am frequently to be found rubbing shoulders (as well as other parts of the anatomy) with other household names – though you'll understand if I refrain from listing them here, at least till we're better acquainted.

Well, why, you ask, is this doyen of today's culinary establishment taking time off from the usual day-to-day grind of filming for the BBC (and others) or dashing off another bestselling recipe book or luxuriating in the pleasures for which I am, a-hem, renowned, to share my thoughts with you as one the unwashed ranks of the bloggerati? The answer is simple, and here it is:

Yes, I've got a new book to flog. Well, I was fed up with the likes of Gordo and Jamie stealing the limelight all the time, the mercenary swine, so thought I'd help myself to a piece of their pie. The publicity says it's a picaresque adventure story, but I rest fanciful claims like that at the door of my feckless editor, David Pickering, who's also to blame for for the cringe-making back cover blurb, to whit:

At last, the book they said should never be written and could never be published. The book
that no agent would touch and that publishers everywhere sent straight back to the kitchen.

The controversial celebrity chef loved and loathed by millions finally lifts the lid on the
bouillabaisse of his life and the extraordinary things that happened to him after his
sensational bust-up with the big TV bosses. As usual, he’s all over the plaice à la 
meunière like a mad woman’s crème anglaise and, be warned, he’s not above spilling
the caramelized cannellini beans from time to time about his fellow-celebs…

Love may be blind, but Truelove is never bland!

'The bouillabaise of his life' – well, I ask you!

Barry Cullis, my buffoon of an agent, insists I add a link here so my legions of fans know
where to go to pile their plate high with this feast of a story, so here it is (satisfied, Barry?):

Anyhow, duty fulfilled for today. In future posts I intend to take the whole of life as my
province and along the way shall probably share a few titbits about fellow-celebs that I 
probably shouldn't... that should be enough to get the juices flowing, I hope!

Ciao for now,