The Steeple Times asks The Nth Degree Club’s founder Robert Walton MBE: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
The desire to create.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
The customer is always right. We are all selling something, and customer service is king. If you don’t deliver exceptional customer service in everything you do, someone else will do it and take that customer from you.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2014?
Judging: I hope Kerry Katona’s friends and family didn’t think she was unacceptable.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
I hope I’m not missing anything. I’m healthy with a loving wife and family and a fantastic future ahead. I believe in always looking at the positives.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Health – but at the moment I have enough of both, thankfully.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
The banks have not been doing enough to support businesses and their strategy has been to defend the line, after taking us into the crisis into the first place. I share most people’s frustration with the banks and am very happy to see entrepreneurial avenues such as crowdfunding being embraced to enthusiastically.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
“Assume”: Never assume.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
I’m a trustee of Hospitality Action and a passionate life patron of Springboard. The industry is my home so that’s where my charitable time is spent.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
How extreme. We are living in an exciting technological age. Just be safe and sensible and above all polite. I don’t believe mobile phones have a place at the table during meal times.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Thomas Keller, Sir Winston Churchill, the Rat Pack, The Queen of England, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Gates, Escoffier, Steve Jobs and Andreas Bochelli.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
Champagne, foie gras, caviar and lobster at The Ritz.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
11am on holiday, 5pm the rest of the time.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Black coffee in the morning.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
My friend Bill Anton. He’s not known as ‘Champagne Billy’ for nothing.
Who is the most positive person you know?
My wife, Donna Ida.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Watching Britain’s Got Talent.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I love Heinz baked beans on toast.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
Pictures of my family and candles.
Robert Walton MBE is the founder of The Nth Degree Club, the world’s leading private dining club, and president of the Restaurant Association of Great Britain.
Follow him on Twitter at @BDNthDegree and The Nth Degree Club at @NthDegreeClub.
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and what on earth if so terrible about assumption?
Where did he buy his whistle & flute Mark & Spencer’s?!