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The enema within

Ian Belcher took some persuading to go on a colonic irrigation holiday, even at a Thai beach resort. It is, he discovered, quite astonishing what gets flushed out in the course of a week’s treatment. But did he feel the better for it?

When photographer Anthony Cullen heard the clank of glass on porcelain, he didn’t need to examine the contents of the toilet bowl between his legs. He instinctively knew he had just passed the marble he had swallowed as a five-year-old; the small coloured sphere – “I think it was a bluey” – had lodged in his colon for 22 years. His nonchalance was understandable. Having flushed 400 pints of coffee and vinegar solution around his large intestine through 10 enemas, and taken 100 herbal laxatives, he had become hardened to extraordinary sights. He had already excreted yards of long stringy mucus “with a strange yellow glaze”, several hard black pellets and numerous pieces of undigested rump steak. Like an iceberg breaking away from a glacier, the marble was simply the latest object to drop off the furred up wall of his colon.

Within 30 minutes it had become a burning topic of conversation among guests at The Spa resort on the Thai island of Koh Samui. Most listened, nodded earnestly and smiled, a flicker of mutual support, before describing their own bowel movements in unnervingly graphic detail. It was just another day at the tropical health farm where conversations that would be deemed unpleasant, if not obscene, in any place outside a gastro-intestinal ward, are mere idle chit-chat among the sun-soaked clientele.

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Class of 2002

Who are the heirs to Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White? One thing is certain – tomorrow’s big names are likely to have passed through the kitchens of today’s superchefs. Jay Rayner picks Britain’s brightest hopes

In 1989 a photograph was taken in the kitchens of a small but increasingly well known restaurant in south London called Harvey’s. At one end of the preparation table stands the chef, a young, wild-haired chap called Marco Pierre White. On the other side of the table stands his sous chef, a heavy-browed young man who, at the time, would probably only have been recognised by the other foot soldiers who then staffed London’s kitchens. Today that back room boy is instantly recognisable as Gordon Ramsay; the chef who, in his time, was tipped as the new Marco Pierre White. The lesson from that grainy photograph is clear. If you want to find the star chefs of tomorrow you should start by looking in the kitchens of the star chefs of today.

So it has proved. Five of the seven chefs that we have marked out for great things have spent time in the kitchens of the greats who came before. They have worked for the big five star chefs of their day: Nico Ladenis and Pierre Koffman, Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White and now, of course, Gordon Ramsay himself. Indeed three of our ‘New Gordons’ – Marcus Wareing, Jason Atherton and Angela Hartnett – are currently part of Ramsay’s growing empire. That’s the way Ramsay wants it. ‘A really good chef always has to have someone alongside to help them through,’ Ramsay says. ‘Standing alongside me I have my father-in law, Chris Hutcherson, who deals with the business side.’ That, in turn, gives Ramsay the space in which to help support, and profit from, the next generation. ‘Some of the big chefs, like Nico or Marco, didn’t nurse the talent in their own kitchens. They just rolled out branded chain restaurants. I don’t want to do that. I want to roll out the talent.’

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