Table Talk: Where Tim Smit eats..

I never go out for business lunches - I only really have them here at the Eden Project. There just doesn't seem much point when we've got so much here, and the local town has nowhere else to eat. That's not an exaggeration. I don't mean the pubs don't do a passable steak and chips - it just lacks anywhere with an atmosphere that would make you linger.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Our Med Kitchen serves Mediterranean food, because it's built alongside our Mediterranean biome. You can see right inside. We use the same herbs and spices that grow there. I was really keen to have good pizzas and offer no choice. I hate choice - it's one of the greatest stresses of our times. When you go to a pub and it's only serving two dishes, you know it's freshly cooked. We cook in front of people - you can see the pizzas coming out of the oven. We also do homemade ravioli with Cornish goat's cheese and chicken caesar salad with local ingredients.

It's a casual atmosphere. The lady who rules the roost there is Babs, who's in her seventies. She's like Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served? She used to run a hotel and didn't want to retire, so she came here. She's very theatrical, asking things like 'where would madam want to be?' Customers love her end-of-the-pier posh.

Most of my lunch meetings act as a catalyst - our talent is to introduce people who don't know they should know each other. Call us an intellectual dating agency. People come here and we introduce them to people who can pull them out of their intellectual log-jam. We're not exactly at the puritan end of things, so these tend to be casual affairs with a few drinks, lasting a couple of hours. If your business lunch lasts only an hour, it means you really don't like the people.

The Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG, 01726 811911,
Average price: £25 per head
Recommended dishes
Ravioli with goat's cheese: £7.50
Nine-inch pizza: £8.00
Chicken caesar salad: £7.50

Tim Smit is chief executive of the Eden Project.

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