SAUCY SECRETS OF MY DINNERS; Sophia Loren Bared Her Soul over an Exquisite pasta.Warren Beatty Cheated on Julie Christie after Dessert. in a Deliciously Indiscreet Diary, MICHAEL WINNER Spills the Beans on His Dinner Guests
Byline: by Michael Winner
SINCE the age of five, I have been eating in superb restaurants, which means I've had a 70-year-long binge. Despite rationing, I remember the food during the war as being very good. It was also much better in the Fifties than the food today.
First, it was not chemicalised, massproduced and deep-frozen. It was fresh. Every vegetable had an individual taste. As did the meat and fish.
It was simply presented, without ridiculous red and yellow squiggles, and generally described as meat and two veg. That meant you got some meat, two green vegetables plus potatoes.
Since the plate decorators and poncified chefs took over, food has not improved at all. It has become pretentious. It has become miniportions, whose descriptions on the menu take longer to read than the food takes to eat.
I've had good meals and I've had atrocious ones. What hasn't changed is that many of the lunches and dinners I've shared -- and continue to share -- have been with some of the most interesting people on the planet...
THE night Warren Beatty came to dinner, he'd just been to the airport to see off his girlfriend, Julie Christie.
At the time, I was with Geraldine, who is now my fiancee. We'd had a number of, shall I say, liaisons over the years.
As she came down a beautiful spiral staircase to the living room, Warren went absolutely bananas. 'My God, who's that?' he asked.
I said: 'Warren, it's my girlfriend.
Keep your hands off her.'
One of the girls at my dinner party was a beautiful English actress called Carol White, who was blonde and looked a bit like Julie Christie. To nobody's surprise, Warren left with her that evening, and doubtless they greatly enjoyed each other's company afterwards.
I used to see Warren quite a bit when he was in London. Some years later, when he was with The Mamas And Papas singer Michelle Phillips, he again came to dinner at my house.
After the meal, we went to my private cinema where I often showed films prior to their West End release. That evening, it was John Schlesinger's movie The Day Of The Locust, a film about old Hollywood.
So I was watching it from the front row with my girlfriend. Warren was on a sofa at the back with Michelle.
Occasionally, I'd sneak a look -- and they were doing something that I will not describe because I'm of a delicate disposition. I don't blame them, really, because the film was a bore.
A few days later, I was telephoned by Alf Jarrett, the head of UIP, one of Britain's biggest film distribution companies.
'Michael,' he said, 'I'm afraid I can't give you any more films. I gave you a print of The Day Of The Locust and Warren Beatty has been going around ever since saying it was one of the most awful films he's seen.'
This got back to John Schlesinger, who asked: 'How on earth could Warren Beatty have seen the film? It isn't out yet.'
Somebody had then told the director that Warren saw it at my house. Schlesinger went ballistic. I'm not surprised. I would have, too.
I promised that from then on, I wouldn't have anyone in the cinema apart from myself and my girlfriend. And I didn't. Shows how careful you have to be when you ask stars to dinner.
Chris de Burgh OnE of my most memorable meals was at the Sandy Lane hotel, Barbados, where they used to have a pianist playing at breakfast. I was sitting with the singer Chris de Burgh and his wife, so I urged him: 'Get up there and play the piano and sing a song, Chris.'
He said: 'no, of course I won't do that. I'm on holiday.'
I like stirring things up, so I said: 'Come on, Chris, don't ponce about, we'd like a song. It would be very nice to go with the bacon and eggs. Get up there and sing.'
Chris, by now getting a bit shirty, said: 'no I won't!' About five minutes later, the local Barbadian pianist started to play and sing Chris's famous hit song, Lady In Red. …