The Good Old Days of Epic, Expensive Lunches at the Financial Times


Want to take a quick break from our live May Day coverage? The Financial Times looks back at its long-standing column, Lunch with the FT.

It’s a fun look at the golden days of the celebrity interview. FT journalists drank cocktails at hotel bars with celebrities (who weren’t even promoting a project!) and dropped hundreds of pounds on fancy lunches around the world (the article has a chart of its most expensive meals). But this sort of lunch culture didn’t last long:

First smoking went out of fashion, then daytime drinking. Negroni-drinkers were dying out, or reforming. Wine began to be drowned out by absurd fizzy water. Then the food itself was threatened, partly because business lunches were becoming more businesslike, partly because interviewees were becoming more self-conscious.

And for journalists looking to sharpen their interviewing skills, Lucy Kellaway suggests lunch:

“Lunch is hugely helpful from an interviewer’s point of view. It might start with both of you nervous but a lunch is like a three-act play. The ordering and the eating keeps allowing you to change the subject, to catch them unawares and lull them into small talk.”

If you’re not familiar with the column, here are three recent stories to get you started: Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. security adviser, Han Han, the political blogger, and novelist Peter Carey (who chose Gramercy Tavern).

Via Financial Times