Magazine Minute: John Torode, Winston Churchill, the Varadkar look, Stephanie Meadow

The very best of The Sunday Business Post Magazine this week

16th June, 2017


When he started out cooking, John Torode never thought he would become a restaurateur. Today, fronting MasterChef - a show watched by no fewer than 255 million people across the world - and traversing the world for his series of food-meets-travel documentaries, Torode offers a simple explanation for his rise in prominence: not a desire for personal wealth, but rather knowing what people want. “There’s far more exciting things out there than making money,” he tells Elaine Prendeville in this Sunday’s Magazine. “Swimming in the sea, for one. Now that’s luxury.” In a wide-ranging interview, Torode also hails what he terms the cocktail revolution, and remembers the late AA Gill. “He was a lovely man, a genius,” as he puts it, “and I was fortunate to spend quite a lot of time with him.”


“History will be kind to me,” Winston Churchill is reputed to have said. “For I intend to write it.” What the wartime prime minister might not have anticipated is that others would write it for him, and take great creative licence in doing so. A case in point is the recently-released Churchill biopic, which has sparked a backlash among academics for its portrayal of historical events - one Churchill acolyte describing it as a “foul slander”. This weekend, Andrew Lynch probes the often contentious relationship between history and fiction, asking whether artists should be allowed to tamper with facts in pursuit of compelling drama. Historians Patrick Geoghegan, Antony Beevor and Alex von Tunzelmann all weigh in on the debate in a compelling in-depth feature.


Taoiseach-in-training Leo Varadkar has done all the heavy lifting and achieved the look to match, trading in unflattering suits in favour of Abercrombie T-shirts, preppie slacks and sunglasses, and dubbing himself a “fitness fan” on his Twitter biography. With one newspaper recently devoting acres of coverage to his weight loss, Nadine O’Regan argues that Varadkar’s personal transformation counts for little in an age where political authenticity trumps window-dressing. “If Theresa May has proven to be all fur coat (well, chocolate brown-flared leather trousers, courtesy of her Vogue magazine shoot) and no knickers,” she writes, “her rival Jeremy Corbyn has won love from the public because it’s apparent he cares more about politics than ponchos.” Read her column in full this Sunday.


Irish men are twice as likely to participate in team sports when compared with women, a statistic Antrim golfer Stephanie Meadow is seeking to redress. The 25-year-old sportswoman, who has secured qualification for next month’s US Open, shares her stance on female participation in sport in this weekend’s Magazine cover interview. In conversation with Cian Murtagh, Meadow says “Hopefully young girls can so what I’m doing and think: ‘I can do that too’. Golf is a great game and it teaches people a lot about life and values, even if you don’t want to play it professionally.” Read the full interview in this Sunday’s Magazine.

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