Londoner’s Diary: Ukrainians dismantle Norman Foster’s plan for Kharkiv

Norman Foster  (Dave Benett)
Norman Foster (Dave Benett)

NORMAN FOSTER’s grand plans to assemble a team of international experts and rebuild Kharkiv in Ukraine as a “city of the future” have been slapped down by Ukrainian architects.

Officials from the Kharkiv School of Architecture have warned leaders to be wary of “intellectual colonisation”. Speaking at an online event hosted by Architcture Today, the school’s founder Oleg Drozdov and deputy vice chancellor Iryna Mastevko graciously welcomed the interest of a renowned architect like Baron Foster, but stressed the importance of involving local designers to avoid a rebuilding Kharkiv as a “copy-paste” metropolis. “There are a lot of architects who already have experience working in Ukraine and experts who already deal with post-war reconstruction.”

Baron Foster met with the mayor of Kharkiv in Geneva last week to outline his vision for the “rebirth” of the Ukrainian city. The British architect, who designed Millenium Bridge and the Gherkin, and was made a baron in 1999, made his offer at a time when the school has had to evacuate their premises and teach from a temporary location in Lviv. Thanks, but no thanks.

‘Think differently about pricy food’

Tom Kerridge (Getty Images)
Tom Kerridge (Getty Images)

CHEF Tom Kerridge says it’s time for a “shift” in how we think about expensive food. “We’re not just buying a piece of chicken or a bowl of pasta, you’re paying for that whole experience of it getting there,” he told us last night. Kerridge has come under fire in the press for expensive dishes at some of his restaurants, but explained: “What’s happening is the reality of costs of running restaurants is beginning to show their true colours through the restaurant industry.” He added that what’s needed is “just a slight shift in mindset, but it’s not a hard one to make”. Rethink time.

Kate’s cookbook was recipe for rage

Kate Humble (CHANNEL FIVE)
Kate Humble (CHANNEL FIVE)

KATE HUMBLE seems an unlikely candidate for a book-writing meltdown, but it seems even the wholesome TV presenter is not immune from the pressures of a deadline. While writing her new cookbook, Home Cooked, she admitted she “turned into a monster”, found herself “waking up at two in the morning, screaming at my computer”, and nearly wrecked her marriage before she moved out for a month to finish the book. “I felt like Ernest Hemingway”, but without the whisky, “just Marmite and tea”. Still wholesome.

Is Brillo’s pod a road to recovery?

Andrew Neil (PA Wire)
Andrew Neil (PA Wire)

ANDREW NEIL is back on the airwaves the same week as TV rival Piers Morgan, but this time he’s taking a different path. Unlike Morgan, Neil is off the small screen and into podcasting. He’s hosting a new show, The Backstory, for slow news outfit Tortoise. Brillo has been in something of a broadcast wilderness after leaving gaffe-prone GB News after just a few months last year. Could this be a road to redemption for the ex-BBC man burned by his TV experience?

Food or films? I’ll have both, says Tucci

Diary 27th April

STANLEY TUCCI is the film star-turned-food maestro, but don’t ask him to choose one or the other. When the Londoner put the question to him at last night’s GQ Food and Drink Awards, Tucci smiled: “I’ll always do both — I love both.” Presenter Miquita Oliver and writer Grace Dent were among those also at The Standard where the bash was sponsored by Veuve Clicquot. Over on the Strand, models Erin O’Connor and Jourdan Dunn joined Pixie Geldof for the International Woolmark prize.


LINDSAY HOYLE has form for summoning journalists to discuss articles. “I wrote something disobliging about him last year and was called in to account for myself,” revealed broadcaster and writer Iain Dale this morning. Defending Hoyle, he added, “It never occurred to me to say no. I put my case, he put his, and we parted as friends.”


NIGEL FARAGE is one of those happy about Elon Musk buying Twitter. “I’ve had zero growth for 18 months and engagement is at an all-time low,” he moaned last night about his own social media interactions. “Twitter’s algorithm now needs to change — and change fast.” Sure Nigel, it’s the algorithm’s fault.