Michael Berkeley welcomes the food writer and critic Matthew Fort, who for over 20 years was the Food & Drink Editor of The Guardian. A keen cook for most of his life, he has also written for Vanity Fair, the Observer, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph and Country Living, among many other papers and journals. His books include Rhubarb and Black Pudding (1998), about the traditional foods of Lancashire; Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (2004), and its sequel about Sicilian food, Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons (2008). he has also contributed to Nigel Slater's book and TV series Real Food, and to Rick Stein's TV series Food Heroes.
Matthew is a passionate music-lover, and his choices begin with Schubert's Marche Militaire No.1 for piano duet, the first record he owned. The virtuoso piano music of the eccentric composer Alkan is another of his enthusiasms, as is the playing of the great Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti, who died so tragically young. His love of the English countryside is represented by Finzi's Romance for string orchestra, Op.11, while he has always loved opera, especially the works of Verdi, and La Traviata in particular. His final choice is a chamber sonata by Rossini, who was a great gastronome as well as a fine composer.