Haute cuisine ruled in London's fine dining scene at the beginning of the twentieth century, with the Ritz and Escoffier partnership continuing to have considerable influence over the hospitality industry. With her father and grandfather both working at the prestigious Carlton Hotel during that period, Yvonne Wakefield, 83, shares some of her favourite memories.
Yvonne Wakefield’s father, Will Eaglen, worked at the Carlton Hotel along with his father between the First and Second World Wars. The latter was a pot washer while Will was a waiter, working at the prestigious Carlton Hotel for many years before moving to legendary jazz club Frascati’s on Oxford Street. Yvonne, 83, told us what it was like growing up in a household with such close ties to one of London’s most exclusive hotels.
A spirited artist with a can-do attitude Yvonne Wakefield naively leaves behind a secure life in the lush Pacific Northwest to teach art in the desert state of Kuwait. Over the course of six years, she will instruct university aged Muslim women, earn her students’ trust, and learn the consequences of freedom of expression, taken for granted in one culture but not granted in another.
Despite obstacles set by her detractors, she persists, and her students. and life in Kuwait flourish. Yet the traps never disappear, only multiply as others set more for her, intent on denying what they have no desire to understand. Told from the unique perspective of an artist, Suitcase Filled with Nails is a colorful, true, timely, rare and riveting tale about living and coping in the Middle East.