Hooking up with Mohamed Al-Fayed at Harrods Food Hall

Harrod’s Food Hall (photo credit: Jeff Short)
As the Summer Olympics in London loom, I was reminded of a trip to one of our favorite cities.

When our son was two years old, our family went to London for a week just after Christmas around the year 2004. We flew across the “pond” on Virgin Atlantic from SFO and rented a small apartment in the Kensington neighborhood. Our son slept quietly in the bulkhead (and being just two years old, we paid next to nothing for his fare).

Being a food fan, we did some shopping at Harrod’s famed Food Hall, not far from our rented flat. Even in the dead of winter, you can find fresh fruit (from Africa, for example), beautiful oysters and Dover sole. (They filet it for you on the spot). It’s not cheap, but we are a small family. And the presentation is mind boggling.

One afternoon we were in the Food Hall, and I spotted Mohamed Al-Fayed walking through the store, greeting visitors. Al-Fayed owned Harrod’s (much to the Royal’s chagrin). His son was with Princess Diana when both died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Anyway, I was excited to see the owner of Harrods — a regular — while holding our son in my arms next to the fish monger. Overly excited, I suppose, I shouted across the way to my wife: “Shannon, it’s Al-Fayed, Al-Fayed.”

Immediately, a half dozen bodyguards came out of the woodwork and stood guard around him (and near me and our son).

I did not have a chance to greet him, but he shook many people’s hands and thanked them for coming to the store.

The experience still cracks me up. This weekend we will watch the Olympics quietly on the “tele.”

Mohamed Al-Fayed

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: