HILARY ALDERSON MOON's Profile
Dear Chow Hounds,
Hilary Alderson here! Thank you all for your interest and for remembering ‘Say Cheese’!
It is such a joy to read peoples’ fond memories of the restaurant and food that served London and community for over 30 years. Our family also holds sweet memories of dedicated customers and staff close to our hearts.
The Cheese Soup recipe has not been shared publicly. Maybe someday . . . . . and if I don’t publish it , it will be left in the family Will !!
I think that one of the secrete ingredients of the ‘Cheese Soup’ and many of our other favourite dishes like Shropshire Stew and Fisherman’s Pie, was the special dining atmosphere. From the carefully-chosen music, to wine tastings, food festivals, the in-house bakery and cheese store, and many little creative touches as we wanted the restaurant to be like no other. We worked over many years to create a warm, relaxed, unpretentious place where regulars were recognized and families could entertain. Where famous and infamous people found a haven from their brightly lit lives, and ordinary folk like us were our VIPs. We were also lucky to have a team of dedicated, inimitable staff (yes, like the late Terry Preston – a waiter who was was loved by hundreds of customers who called him friend)
As for the Cheese Soup: The ‘secret ingredient’ in this recipe is a principle I cook by: Only the very best ingredients - no compromises, and freshly made from ‘scratch‘ every day. No secrets there! The difference between “real” versus “processed cheese, real whole vegetable stock versus pre-made soup bases, slowly cooked for hours versus zap heated, hand stirred versus machine whipped…at every step, I believe it makes a difference to the final taste.
I’ve often been asked to re-create the Cheese soup, but the price of cheeses today, together with the quantity of cheese our recipe calls for, makes it prohibitive to make, especially in smaller quantities.
When I am too old to enjoy going out to parties any longer, I may sit down and write a book about our years growing up with 'Say Cheese' - the wonderful moments, the people, and of course, the recipes.
A little note for ‘Justcallmemartha’ (someone in the know: Nov 2008 ) - the beef bone stock you refer to was actually the base for our classic French Onion Soup. The Cheese Soup was 100 % vegetarian (not Vegan) - developed especially for the big swing to Vegetarianism in the 70’s.
For franca50 - like you, I smile about the myths, the legends and drama this soup, and 'Say Cheese' itself, has generated. Still, at parties, and when we are out-and-about almost anywhere, people often share all sorts of stories they have about the restaurant, cheese shop, wine events, catering, staff, and parties. I continue to relish the positive impact and happy memories that that funky Cheese Place still holds. I smiled hugely when reading that I was recently spotted at a local party and am apparently now in my 80’s (a ways to go until that!)… if that’s how I appeared, it’s obvious it was well past the time that I should have gone home to bed!