• London by Stage, Page and Plate with Bonnie Stern and Scott Sellers

  • London Bonnie Stern is a well-known Canadian food writer, cooking teacher, award winning cookbook author and the host of a ground-breaking book and dinner club. Scott Sellers is Vice President and Associate Publisher of Random House of Canada Limited. Bonnie and Scott are passionate about food, literature and London!

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Day 1 – Fri. April 01, 2016 London, founded in Roman times, is situated on the River Thames near its estuary on the North Sea. This colourful city has an exciting and renowned cultural life, rich with literature, history and pageantry and a vibrant culinary scene. From restaurants reviving classic British cooking to a huge range of international dining options, London has it all. Meet in the lobby of The Royal Horseguards Hotel at 900 AM located at 2 Whitehall Court in Westminster overlooking Whitehall Gardens on the River Thames. With views of the river and London Eye, the hotel is in a perfect location within walking distance of museums, galleries, shops and theatres. Since check in is at 400 PM and the rooms will not be ready, we will drop our bags off in the luggage room. Our deluxe rooms have been booked for 5 nights and includes full English breakfast each morning. Our first stop is Borough Market near the Thames off Borough High Street. This is where locals do their weekly shopping and food lovers come to buy specialties sold by artisans who can tell you all about what you are buying and how it was grown. Our local guide will help us discover the huge range of exceptional British and International produce. Our tasting tour will include a selection of unique foods and beverages like rare breed meats, superfood juices, fresh scallops, olives and antipasti, homemade Turkish Meze, coffee, pastries and other delicious treats. The final selection will depend on what’s available. You will be welcomed to the “world of cheese – London style” by one of London’s main cheesemakers, Neal’s Yard Dairy. In a classroom above Borough Market we will take part in a tasting of fine British cheese ending with a light lunch. Then off down Borough High Street to “The George” or George Inn, the only surviving galleried London coach inn, (named after the legend of Saint George and the Dragon) popular in the day of Charles Dickens. English writer Pete Brown has written extensively on the subject of beer and drinking cultures around the world and explores the history of this very pub in his book “Shakespeare’s Local”. On to the TATE MODERN – Opening its doors to the public in 1897, the Tate attracts some five million visits a year. The collection includes over 70,000 works by over 3,000 artists. Our visit today will feature highlights of the main collection. Our coach will be waiting to take us back to the hotel to check-in and freshen up before dinner at Berner’s Tavern, one of the most sought after restaurants in London. Michelin starred Executive Chef Jason Atherton puts his personal touch on contemporary British cuisine in a breathtaking setting using the very best produce in the British Isles.  Enjoy a delicious three course dinner with wine. The chef or manager will talk to us about the concept of the “Social Club”, its philosophy, food, service and expansion into New York. Day 2 – Sat. Apr. 02, 2016 LONDON Breakfast at the hotel and then off to a three hour cookery demonstration and lunch at Leith’s School of Food and Wine. Leith’s is the leading cooking school in London, where the Duchess of Cambridge took lessons. Leaving Leith’s our coach will take us to the British Museum. Built in Bloomsbury in 1753, it is considered one of the oldest museums in the world. During our two hour tour, our Blue Badge Guide will select highlights from the various collections. Enjoy dinner at The Palomar, an outpost of Jerusalem’s famous Machne Yehuda Restaurant and one of London’s most talked about eating places. The Palomar was recently awarded Restaurant of the Year by “Tatler”. A two minute walk takes us to the Gielgud Theater for a performance of one of the West End’s hottest plays, the Olivier Award-winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”. The play is a theatrical tour de force and tells of the story of teenage mathematician Christopher Boone, and his unexpected adventure in solving a baffling mystery. At the same time, Christopher’s family is being torn apart by the pressures of looking after him. Day 3 – Sun. Apr. 03, 2016 Breakfast at the hotel. This morning we will enjoy a literary (theater) walk along the south bank of the Thames following in the footsteps of two of Britain’s best writers – Shakespeare and Dickens. We will discover parts of London that we never knew existed. On to 221b Baker Street, where the fictional detective Sherlock Homes and Doctor Watson lived between 1881-1904, according to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Time has not changed the first floor study overlooking Baker Street. This private museum that opened in 1990 and is dedicated to his life. Coach transfer to the Truscott Arms, one of the Top 10 Gastropubs in Britain 2015 and the Sustainable Pub of the Year 2015. After lunch, a ‘Sunday Roast’, we will have our first book club. BOOK CLUB WITH MARIE PHILLIPS The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips Marie made an incredible splash when she published her debut novel Gods Behaving Badly, a hugely imaginative and entertaining tale that explores the twenty-first century lives of the Greek gods who have been living in obscurity in north London. The Daily Telegraph raved “what makes the novel stand out – and it really does stand out – is its originality and lightness of touch,” while the Guardian proclaimed it “ingeniously imagined and satisfyingly lusty.” We are very excited to welcome Marie to our London Book Club as she talks about her latest novel, The Table of Less Valued Knights, a witty and funny story about a down-on-his-luck knight of Camelot, his eccentric band of misfits and their madcap quest to restore order to their lives, and the realm. In the late afternoon/early evening we will visit Covent Garden, located between Charing Cross Road and Drury Lane. Once associated with a fruit and vegetable market, today it is a popular shopping street and tourist site. Your Blue Badge Guide will give you an introductory walk explaining the origins of Covent Garden and highlighting such wonders as St. Paul’s Church, known as the Actor’s Church, designed by Inigo Jones in 1631. On Upper St. Martin’s Lane we’ll have dinner at Dishoom Covent Garden, a traditional Bombay style café restaurant that won many awards and is listed in the 2014 Michelin Restaurant Guide. Day 4 – Mon. Apr. 04, 2016 LONDON Following breakfast our Blue Badge Guide will lead us on a walking tour of Westminster Abbey, previously known as the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster. Located just to the west of Westminster Palace, this has been the coronation and burial site of English monarchs. It has also been the venue for several marriages in the Royal Family including that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Your guided tour will include Poet’s Corner, the final resting place of Geoffrey Chaucer, Robert Browning, T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas. Leaving Westminster Abbey our private coach will transfer us to Marylebone, originally taking its name from a church dedicated to St. Mary. Our coach lets us off at The Providores for lunch. Featured in London’s 100 Best Restaurants 2015 as well as the Sustainable Restaurant Collection 2014, Executive Chef and Co-Owner Peter Gordon is widely recognized as an ardent promoter of the food industry in both his native New Zealand and the UK. After lunch we visit the vibrant area of Marylebone, location of the famed Chiltern Firehouse and London’s most beautiful book shop – Daunt Books. There are also new food emporiums, eclectic shops and design houses. Our second book club has been scheduled in a private dining room at Cambio de Tercio on Old Brompton Road. Located in the heart of Chelsea-South Kensington, Cambio de Tercio was established in June 1995 as a pioneer project offering modern and innovative Spanish cuisine in London. Although offering traditional Spanish recipes, it is Chef Alberto Criado’s creative dishes that define the restaurant. The restaurant was awarded the Premios Alimentos de Espana 2003 for the best Spanish Restaurant in any country outside of Spain and the Carlton TV Award in 2003 for the best Iberian Restaurant in London. BOOK CLUB WITH CHRIS CLEAVE Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. Our second Book Club is going to be very special as blockbuster bestselling novel Chris Cleave joins us to discuss his eagerly-awaited new novel, Everyone Brave is Forgiven. Chris captured the attention of critics and readers around the globe with the publication of his debut novel, Incendiary, the harrowing story of one woman coming to terms with the aftermath of an act of shocking violence. The book was published in 20 countries, won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. It was also adapted into a critically-acclaimed film starring Michelle Williams. Chris’s second novel, Little Bee, a profoundly beautiful and deeply moving exploration of loss, hope and identity, was a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Costa Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In Canada, it was a national bestseller, and a reader and book-club favourite. Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a breathtaking new novel set during the Blitz. As World War Two begins, Mary–a newly qualified teacher in London, left behind to teach the few children not evacuated–meets Tom, a school official. They quickly fall in love, but this is not a simple love story.  Moving from Blitz-torn London to the Siege of Malta, this is an epic story of love, war, prejudice and incredible courage. What makes this Book Club so special is that our group will be the first in the world to hear Chris talk about the book, which is scheduled for publication later in the spring. Everyone will receive a collector’s edition advance reading copy of the novel in order to prepare for the book club and will then receive a signed, finished copy of the Everyone Brave is Forgiven when it is published in May. Day 5 – Tue. Apr. 5, 2016 After breakfast, our coach will drop us at London’s East End focusing on Shoreditch and Spitalfields so that we can explore the unique tapestry of the East End, once the poorest areas of London and today a rich cultural and culinary delight. A chance to explore the streets revealing Georgian style mansions built from the French silk trade. Pass the Roman burial grounds and Brick Lane, the hub of London’s Bangladeshi community and a vibrant culinary street lined with curry kitchens. Today it also has a reputation for warehouse art exhibitions and trendy clubs and bars. The morning takes in the juxtaposition of old and new – Victorian workshops, factories and a brewery now being used for the new “street food” emporiums, gastro pubs, pop up cafes and an eclectic array of restaurants. Enjoy tastings along the way before ending up at Ottolenghi Spitalfields for a delicious lunch. Since their arrival on the culinary scene in 2002, the creativity of Jerusalem-born chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi have taken London by storm. The afternoon is free. Our London adventure culminates this evening with a 5 course dinner at The Clove Club. In addition to having a 1* Michelin rating it is climbing up The World’s Best 100 Restaurant list. The Clove Club has gained enormous acclaim and is a favourite of chefs and journalists. Day 6 – Wed. Apr. 6, 2016 Breakfast and checkout by 1100 AM. Our trip together is over but our delicious memories will last forever. Make your own way to the airport for your departure home or stay on a few more days.  It’s time to say “cheerio”. YOUR LAND ITINERARY INCLUDES: Traffic in London is very hectic. We will travel by private coach where appropriate and at other times, like Londoners, we will take the tube or walk together. Everyone will receive an Oyster Card Services of a professional tour manager (Blue Badge Guide) from arrival until departure Five nights accommodation based on double occupancy at The Royal Horseguards Hotel including five buffet breakfasts All VAT @ 20% and service charges Tipping to the tour manager and driver assigned to the tour Sightseeing as indicated including entrance fees to points of interest specified All meals and beverages Novels and cookbooks YOUR LAND ITINERARY DOES NOT INCLUDE: Round trip airfare Departure taxes, fuel surcharges or airport improvement fees Arrival and departure assistance and transfers Insurance – health, trip cancellation, trip interruption insurance. Premium is non refundable Luggage handling fees at the airport Extra beverages not included in meals Early check in/late check out Single supplement quoted separately Gratuities for individual services such as laundry and valet service and any other items of a purely personal nature Tipping for services other than the driver and tour manager assigned to the tour E. & O.E. LAND COST PER PERSON – $6995.00 CDN. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT – $1344.00 CDN./* The land rate quoted is based on a minimum number of participants and the current rate of exchange. For information and reservations please contact: Idit Papular (Monday – Thursday) idit@aufgangtravel.com 905-660-0860/Toll Free – 1-800-789-7117 ext. 733 TICO # 50012754