DaisyChain PR Q&A: Bristol’s top food critic, Mark Taylor

DaisyChain PR boasts some great supporters and this month, we catch up with Bristol’s top food critic, Mark Taylor.

Mark is a freelance food and music journalist who has been reviewing restaurants for the Bristol Post since the late 1990s. He also writes for a number of national and regional newspapers, magazines and guide books. He lives with his family in Cotham.

DaisyChain: What’s the best bit about your job?

Mark Taylor: To be paid to eat in restaurants, interview chefs and pop stars and write about it for publications with a huge readership in print and online is a huge privilege. I have never taken it for granted.

DC: And the worst?

MT: Apart from an increasing waistline all in the line of duty and daily copy deadlines, there really isn’t a down side. I’d be lying if I said there was.

DC: If you weren’t a food critic, what career path would you like to have taken?

MT: From about the age of 14, I only ever wanted to write, but not about food at that point. I’m a massive cricket fan so I originally fancied myself as a cricket correspondent spending long English summers watching games from the press box and then long, hot winters doing the same in Australia and the West Indies.

DC: Where’s your favourite watering hole?

MT: I love pubs, and it’s sad to see so many places closing. My local is the Highbury Vaults in Kingsdown, which is still as good as I remember it when I first drank there in the 1980s. The Colston Arms on St Michael’s Hill is also a great boozer with well-kept ales and some great characters. As far as ‘gastropubs’, The Kensington Arms in Redland is hard to beat.

Mark Taylor 1
Mark Taylor

DC: Where would you eat out for a special occasion?

MT: I’m lucky to eat in great restaurants all the time, but Bristol favourites include Pasta Loco and its sibling Pasta Ripiena, Wilson’s, Box-E and The Spiny Lobster. They all serve fantastic food and they’re also really informal. I hate stuffy restaurants where you can’t pour your own wine and have a laugh. If I was going to dress up a bit, it would have to be Wilks.

DC: Have you ever been asked to leave an establishment?

MT: No, but I’ve reviewed plenty of bad restaurants where I’ve wanted to leave sooner than I could.

DC: What’s your favourite local landmark?

MT: Christmas Steps.

DC: What’s your best quality?

MT: Punctuality and, I hope, good manners.

DC: And your most unappealing habit?

MT: Apart from when I’m interviewing people, I can be a bad listener.

DC: What trait do you most dislike in other people?

MT: Bad manners, especially people who insist on talking loudly on mobile phones on trains and buses. It drives me mad.

DC: Have you got a secret skill?

MT: I can bowl a mean yorker.

DC: What was the last live show/concert you saw?

MT: My daughter performing an Alice in Wonderland monologue at school. A proud dad moment.

DC: What’s your TV viewing guilty pleasure?

MT: Family Guy.

DC: Who or what makes you laugh?

MT: Peter Kay, Tommy Cooper and Les Dawson.

DC: How would you like to be remembered?

MT: “He may not have opened the batting for England, but he was good father and he could string a half decent sentence together.”

DC: Happiness is…

MT: Steak, chips, béarnaise sauce and a bottle of red.

DC: What’s in store for 2019?

MT: I turn 50 this summer so I’m sure there will be a few long celebratory lunches approaching. I’ve also promised my family that I’ll finally ‘declutter’ our loft, which is full of my books, CDs, papers and boxes I haven’t opened since we moved in. It represents about 40 years of collecting ‘stuff’ and I think I can finally ‘let go’. We’ll see.

DaisyChain PR

DaisyChain PR is an effective, honest and bespoke PR service.

The company was forged as a result of a highly effective working relationship between former Bristol Post Features Writer Natalie Banyard and ex-Bristol Hippodrome Press Officer Sarah Milne.

Through our network of contacts and combined 40+ years of experience, plus our driven, hard-working and friendly approach, we secure as much media and web coverage as we can for our clients.

And in terms of costs, we can offer personalised packages at highly competitive rates (including hourly) for those on a tight budget.

Simply visit daisychainprlimited.com to start the ball rolling.

“I wholeheartedly recommend Daisy Chain PR Ltd to all future clients and would be happy to be contacted to talk about my experience with them.”

Steve Jones, Head of Mar-Coms, The Bristol Hippodrome, ATG

“Fabulous coverage – what can I say, Daisy Chain PR are quite magnificent.”

Ellen Kent, Ellen Kent Opera & Ballet International

“I have no hesitation in recommending both Natalie and Sarah from DaisyChain PR – their professionalism and attention to detail are incredible.”

Julian Withers, Head of Fundraising & Communications – Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home

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