I read with great interest on the Ian Fleming Publications website that the Dorchester will be serving a special 'James Bond breakfast' between 28th September and 30th November in celebration of the publication of William Boyd's James Bond novel, Solo. I understand that the novel opens at the Dorchester with Bond treating himself to a plate of his favourite food, scrambled eggs.
According to the publicity for this event, the breakfast William Boyd describes comprises scrambled eggs made with four eggs per person, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon and strong black coffee. Given that Bond avidly consumes the dish throughout his adventures, we are able to reconstruct how Bond likes his eggs in quite some detail. So, to ensure that the scrambled eggs served at the Dorchester are as authentic as possible, may I respectfully suggest that the following points are borne in mind by your kitchen staff?
001 I don't think Bond would object too much to the four eggs, but when he orders room service in a New York hotel (Live and Let Die), he asks for three eggs lightly scrambled. His preference for three eggs is reiterated in the recipe for scrambled eggs given in the short story '007 in New York' (the recipe is for four 'individualists' and 12 eggs are required).
002 The eggs should be laid by Marans hens. We know that when at home, his boiled eggs are made with such eggs (From Russia, with Love), and presumably his eggs for scrambling come from the same source. In any case, avoid white-shelled eggs.
003 The eggs should be served moist. This reflects Ian Fleming's own preference for runny scrambled eggs (a letter from Ann Fleming mentions that Fleming liked the eggs 'très baveuse').
004 Milk should not be added to the eggs. In Live and Let Die, while dining in Jacksonville, Florida, Bond disdainfully observes that milk will be added to the scrambled eggs, and the 'no milk' rule is confirmed by the recipe noted above.
005 Customers will no doubt have their own preferences with regard to the bread used for the toast, but ensure that wholewheat (From Russia, with Love) or rye (Diamonds Are Forever) bread are available for the Bond purist.
006 I expect Bond does eat unsmoked bacon from time to time, but he also likes smoked bacon, preferably hickory-smoked. Will customers get a choice?
007 I have nothing to add about the coffee. It should be strong, black and unsweetened. If anyone asks for tea, tell them you don't serve cups of mud (Goldfinger).
Follow these tips, and you will create the perfect Bondian breakfast. And if you'd like more information on Bond breakfasts, or if you're thinking of expanding your menu to include Bond lunch and dinner items, then I invite you to read my James Bond cookbook, Licence to Cook: Recipes Inspired by Ian Fleming's James Bond. Good luck!
Photo of scrambled eggs by Clare McIntyre