When Simon Rimmer was asked to help compile a list of the 50 food experiences you must try before you die, he knew it would be tough. So which tasty treats made the cut.
Suddenly bucket lists, those collections of things to do before you die - or, as the phrase goes, kick the bucket - are all the rage.
The practice has spiralled in popularity following the 2007 film of the same name in which Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman starred as two terminally ill characters on an adventure to sample all those experiences they always wished they had enjoyed.
Now there’s a Food Lovers’ Bucket List, dreamed up by Kenwood and a panel of experts including critic Giles Coren, Waitrose magazine editor and sometime MasterChef judge William Sitwell and Great British Bake Off finalist Miranda Gore Brown.
It’s not as heavy and emotional as Nicholson and Freeman’s road trip - think death by chocolate rather than actual death - but nevertheless it was a serious business for those who helped to compile it.
Simon Rimmer, best known as the cook on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, was among those deciding what had to appear in the top 50.
“There are many things that play a part, aside from ego and desire of those on the panel.
“First, we had to know where to pitch it. With myself, William and Giles, the natural inclination was to think about the most amazing thing we’d ever eaten, or the most unbelievable experience, but then you think what your mum might want, what my kids would like or what I’d like them to do.”
As a result, alongside visiting certain restaurants around the world, there are some simpler, yet truly rewarding experiences among the 50.
Cooking a curry from scratch is one of them, for example. Not something that should trouble even the most amateur home cook, and not needlessly extravagant, but something we should all do at least once.
Catching a fish and cooking it on the beach is another. OK, it’s not something you could do each day for your tea, but it does sound quite romantic.
Baking a chocolate cake with your children is a third choice, and perhaps typifies the idea of the simple pleasure.
“When that one came up everyone around the table just said ‘Oh yes, absolutely’,” says Rimmer, who says he’s done around 40 of the final 50 on the list.
“It was very tough deciding these things, and the meetings were fraught with lots of shouting,” says Rimmer.
There were three items he was particularly keen to fight for, and number one was Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate.
Rimmer loves the place - he had his wedding reception in the York branch of the tea room.
“It’s deliriously overpriced, but the level of service and quality of food make it worthwhile. You might pay £7 for a piece of fruitcake, but then if you were sitting opposite the Place de l’Opera in Paris, you wouldn’t moan about your nine-euro coffee, you’d just admire the view. These aren’t about everyday experiences, I’m not suggesting going there is something you do on your way to work.”