Manchester restaurateurs have today hit out at the local restaurant scene from the wife of Premier League footballer Ilkay Gundogan after she complained there are no good places to eat in the city.
Sara Arfaoui, whose husband earns £140,000 a week playing for Manchester City, said she is tired of ‘terrible food’ in the region, adding that its restaurants ‘focus on making money with drinks and shots’.
The 27-year-old model and TV presenter, who was born in France but moved to Italy as a child, added in an Instagram post that she couldn’t find ‘a real Italian or good sushi or just fresh food… everything frozen’.
Mrs Arfaoui, whose German husband plays as a midfielder, had been asked to name her favorite restaurant in Manchester – but her answer has not gone down well with local chefs and industry champions.
Restaurateur Gary Usher of Channel 4’s The Rebel Chef said today: ‘We have two restaurants in Manchester and I’m really glad footballers and their wives don’t come because I’d question our offer if they did.
‘Good taste and class are hardly synonymous with footballers’ wives and their leopard-print cinema rooms.’
Manchester City footballer Ilkay Gundogan, 31, with his wife Sara Arfaoui, 27
Sara Arfaoui was born in France but moved to Italy as a child and worked as a TV presenter
Sara Arfaoui said in an Instagram post that she is fed up with ‘terrible food’ in Manchester
TV chef Gary Usher said: “We have two restaurants in Manchester and I’m really glad footballers and their wives don’t come because I’d question our offer if they did.”
Food critic Jay Rayner told The sun: ‘This is a ridiculous point of view. Manchester is full of brilliant independent restaurants.
‘It’s an absolute gem of a place to eat and comments like this in difficult economic times are not helpful to businesses struggling to make ends meet.’
And Thom Hetherington, managing director of the Northern Restaurant and Bar event, told Manchester Evening News: ‘Local restaurants need our support now more than ever.
“And to be fair as a club, Manchester City, its players and its management have supported hospitality in the city.
The model said she couldn’t find ‘a real Italian or good sushi or just fresh food’
Mrs Arfaoui is a model who was born in France and worked as a TV presenter for Rai 1 in Italy
Mrs Arfaoui met Gundogan early last year and they married in Italy in May this year
‘Some have actually opened their own places like Tast on King Street – and Ilkay himself launched a fantastic appeal to support Mancunian hospitality businesses during the pandemic.
‘I would find it genuinely sad if people like Sara, who have lived and traveled all over the world, came to my hometown, lived here for many years, had a terrible time, at least gastronomically, and left feeling that the city had a terrible food scene.’
In an Instagram post, Ms Arfaoui wrote: ‘Sorry I’m sorry to be honest but nothing. I’m tired [sic] so bad to find a good restaurant but terrible food everywhere.
‘Can’t find a real Italian or good sushi or just fresh food… everything frozen. Restaurants here are the focus [sic] on making money with drinks and shots [sic] like nightclubs, not quality food. Maybe in London, but in Manchester nothing. Sorry.’
Ilkay Gundogan and Sara Arfaoui announced their engagement last December
Ms Arfaoui met Gundogan early last year – and they announced their engagement in December
It comes after Jorgelina Cardoso, the wife of former Man United star Angel Di Maria, said in August that food in the UK is “disgusting” and “the women look like china”.
Among the well-known top restaurants in Manchester are the Spanish eatery Tast, which is co-owned by City boss Pep Guardiola, and Mana, which in 2019 received a Michelin star.
Ms Arfaoui, who worked as a TV presenter for Rai 1 in Italy, met Gundogan early last year – and they announced their engagement in December.
The couple are believed to have married at a registry office in Denmark before holding a lavish wedding for friends on Lake Como in Italy in May.
Gundogan played for Manchester City in last night’s win over FC Copenhagen at the Etihad
Jorgelina Cardoso, wife of former Man United star Angel Di Maria (pictured together in May 2015), said in August that food in the UK is ‘disgusting’ and that ‘the women look like china’
Gundogan was manager Pep Guardiola’s first signing for Manchester City when he moved in 2016 in a £21million deal from Borussia Dortmund.
The Gelsenkirchen-born footballer has made 264 appearances for City since then, scoring 51 goals – including two strikes in 12 games so far this season.
He played in City’s 5-0 win over FC Copenhagen last night, with Mrs Arfaoui posting pictures on Instagram of her at the Etihad Stadium in a company box.
Gundogan has played 62 games for the German national team and scored 16 goals – including one against England in a Nations League match last week at Wembley.
From black pudding to dried peas and Eccles cakes: some of the culinary delights of Manchester
There are 1,712 restaurants across Manchester according to TripAdvisor, with the highest rated being The Laundrette in Chorlton, which specializes in pizza.
Among the well-known high-end restaurants are the Spanish eatery Tast, which is co-owned by Pep Guardiola, and Mana, which in 2019 received a Michelin star.
Celebrity chefs with restaurants in Manchester include Saturday Kitchen’s James Martin, whose restaurant is at the Manchester235 casino, and Adam Reid of the BBC’s Great British Menu, at The French at The Midland Hotel.
Here are some of the local delicacies that the city and its surrounding towns are best known for:
The delicacy often found on full English breakfasts is a blood sausage, typically associated with the town of Bury, just outside Manchester. The first Bury black pudding is believed to have been made in Casewell’s Pudding Shop in 1810.
MEAT AND POTATO TIES
Meat and potato pies originated in northern working-class towns such as Manchester and Wigan during the Industrial Revolution. Although they are now generally made for a single person to eat, a giant pie would originally have been made and eaten by the whole family.
Dried peas, also known in Lancashire as black peas, are a type of mush traditionally served with vinegar and eaten around the time of Bonfire Night in North West England.
The pastry cakes are made with flaky and buttery layers with currants, sugar and spices inside. They were first sold commercially in 1793 by James Birch at his shop in the town of Eccles, just west of central Manchester.