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The London Restaurant Industry Is Raising Money for Australian Wildfire Relief

And it’s starting on Instagram

Wildfires burning in New South Wales, Australia Saeed Khan/Getty Images

Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is tactical.

News of the week

It’s 2020, and the world is on fire and quite conceivably will soon be at war. Yay! Before it all went to hell, though, for about 12 hours a more conventional January question was front and centre in people’s minds — namely, how best to live one’s life. Go all-in on the ethically motivated prohibitions of Dry Veganuary, or resist the urge to go gently into the grim midwinter night, and double down on the festive season’s excesses, as an adherent of what might be termed Wet Hamuary? There are compelling cases to be made for both approaches, but everyone can probably agree on one thing: The diet industrial complex can do one.

Festivities of the week

In the wrong hands, New Year’s Eve is a bit like a bad Stag or Hen do — a lot of enforced fun, a nasty hangover, and precious little to show for it. In the right hands, it might look a bit like this.

Good cause of the week

Tragically, 2019 tipping into 2020 is more likely to be remembered as the moment at which the world watched great swathes of Australia burn. Stranded on the other side of the world, it may not feel like there’s a lot we in the UK can do — but that’s not a reason not to try. Here are some initiatives to support.

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#AustraliaIsBurning . Devastating scenes from my home country with DOZENS of people confirmed dead or missing, THOUSANDS of homes and businesses destroyed, and an estimated HALF A BILLION animals killed because of the extreme heat and bushfires that have been ongoing since September 2019. Over 15 million acres of land (6 million hectares) have now been burned to the ground in just a few short months. This is over two times more than the recent Amazon Rainforest fires! . . Yesterday's temperatures soared to a record high of close to 50°c ~ with strong winds spreading the wild fires even further. It's been absolutely heartbreaking to watch people losing their homes, loved ones & livelihoods. . In the UK, we'll be organising a few fundraising lunches & dinners in the coming weeks ~ working in collaboration with Australian (+ local) chefs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars & businesses to support independent businesses such as Australian producers, winemakers (growers in the Adelaide Hills have been particularly affected) & farmers who have been impacted by the fires. We will also raise valuable funds for the embattled communities & the brave fire service men & women. . THANK YOU to @wanderrestaurant @bright_restaurant @pfranco_e5 @milkbeachlondon @thelaughingheart_london @elliotscafe @districtcoffeeldn @daisygreencollection @crosstowndoughnuts @pacificlondon @qualitywinesfarringdon @grangerandco @bill.granger @spring_ldn @skyegyngell & many others who are supporting & leading the way. Many more will be joining this effort soon by stocking Aussie wines, salt, olive oil, honey + adding £1 to the bill throughout Jan/Feb or hosting special dinners. . More details on how to get involved will be shared shortly... but feel free to DM me or email (see bio) if you'd like to get involved or TAG someone that might be able to help . If you are in a position to DONATE directly, please see accounts such as @nswrfs @cfavic @qldfire @redcrossau @salvosau @vinniesnsw @foodbankaus @wireswildliferescue @kiwildlifepark @adelaidehillswine for more information. . Although we cannot bring back what's already been lost, TOGETHER we can help REBUILD. . #AustraliaIsBurning

A post shared by CLERKENWELLBOY • FOOD + TRAVEL (@clerkenwellboyec1) on

Blank canvas of the week

It might be a new year, but some things never change. Instagram continues to love the humble egg, which as a social media phenomenon has all the versatility of a successful meme template. Classic? Classical? Well-travelled? Demotic? Vehicle for elaborate flights of creative fancy? Relax, London: eggs have got your back.

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“And a full English for the table please”

A post shared by Nick Bramham (@nick_bramham) on

Correct opinion of the week

It’s the Italians’ fault, probably, what with their refusal to put parmesan on seafood pasta — an act of self-abnegation on spurious grounds that has gone on to infect a generation’s culinary thinking. It’s their loss.

Burgeoning trend of the week

If 2019 was the year of the rockpool, 2020 is yet to develop its signature Instagram lewk. In the interim, though … Double rockpool, from its London originator?

Disruptive entrant of the week

Swipe right for evidence of London’s first restaurant-based robot — outside certain Michelin-starred places that shall remain nameless.

Alternative seasonal delicacy of the week

Call it Epiphany Cake, call it Galette des Rois. No offence, but it’s not as nice as a cheese and onion pie.

Dish of the week

Let’s see a questionable high street chain vegan version of this.

Shot of the week

Sitting down for a late lunch in January like: