Posted: 12/02/2021

View from HQ: “We will miss his palate, his pithy remarks and comedy timing”

Charles Campion
Charles Campion, centre, receives his Golden Fork for Contribution to Fine Food from the Guild’s MD John Farrand, left, and Nigel Barden, right

We’ve been canvassing the independent food & drink collective again and the results, like my mood of late, seem to fluctuate wildly. Some businesses are rejoicing at a solid December, others are on their financial knees.

We are at least open for business, unlike our friends in hospitality. The nail in the coffin (or oak cask) for our village boozer was not only were they instructed to call time, but the takeaway lifeline was cruelly removed too. 

While we all accept that stronger measures needed to be introduced, I do find it slightly irksome that the ‘safe’ solution is to endlessly divert people into the crowded supermarkets. And the more we do that the more the new wave of budding gastronauts across the country get used to overly processed, anodyne products created by ‘brand owners’ and marketers who have never seen the inside of a production unit, let alone made any food or brewed a pint. 

Local pubs selling beer-to-go from a cask to take away makes more sense than corralling everyone into one virus-ridden multiple. It would mean that the money spent would end up in the pockets of local people who care, and unlike the average supermarket, they’d be able to tell you a little bit about who made your pint and how to enjoy it. 

Charles Campion was a man who knew how to enjoy a pint. He enjoyed most food & drink and understood the nuances of terroir, varietals, breed, production, process and how to put ingredients together to a convivial end. He died just before Christmas and not only will Great Taste and World Cheese miss his palate, but I will miss his pithy remarks and comedy timing. The sometimes-gruff exterior was, in my opinion, a façade for his shyness and masked a caring man who gave generously of his time to celebrate and promote diversity and excellence in food & drink. 

We honoured Charles in 2018 with the Contribution to Fine Food award and he is the star of our latest video, What is Great Taste? We will ensure his wonderfully esoteric food and drink memory lives on. 

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