The Food Programme
About this podcast
Investigating every aspect of the food we eat
About this podcast
Investigating every aspect of the food we eat
The Food Programme
The Medical Field: Why student doctors are getting out on farms
The Food Programme first met Iain Broadley and Ally Jaffee in 2017, when they were studying medicine in Bristol. The pair saw a disconnect between the rise of diet-related diseases, and the training they received around nutrition - with some students getting as little as eight hours of compulsory nutrition education during their entire time at medical school. So Ally and Iain founded Nutritank, an organisation championing better nutritional education for healthcare professionals, which earned them the Pat Llewellyn New Talent trophy at the 2019 BBC Food and Farming Awards. Today Nutritank's active in more than 20 medical school societies across the UK, and has been part of a working group charged with finalising a new nutritional curriculum for medical schools, due out this autumn. Now, they're piloting a scheme taking student and junior doctors out on farm visits - in a bid to better educate future healthcare professionals about food production and nutrition, so that they in turn can better advise their patients. So could it work? Sheila joins them on a farm visit to the Great Tew Estate in Oxfordshire, to find out. She also speaks to Kate Henderson from the estate's farm team, Liz Lake and Caroline Drummond from Linking Environment and Farming, and Dr Glenys Jones: a registered public health nutritionist and deputy chief executive of the Association for Nutrition. Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
Eat Your Art Out: How Art Makes Us Eat
Eating with our eyes is no new concept, but can visual art itself inspire or alter the way we eat? and can food be used to help more people appreciate art? Jaega Wise meets artist, curator and gastronomy enthusiast Cedar Lewisohn to see his collection of artist's cookbooks, and hears how influential they have been. At Tate Modern, the idea of wanting to eat like an artist has been taken a step further with the restaurant offering menus inspired by exhibitions. Head chef, Jon Atashroo tells us some of the stories that have gone into the dishes. The concept of creating food inspired by the stories of artists lives and works has been picked up by museums worldwide. During lockdown, while many people have been getting more adventurous in their kitchens, galleries have been using recipes inspired by artists to bring a slice of their culture into people's homes. Jaega has a go at making a Mango-Pineapple Mezcal Margarita inspired by the work of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo from the "Cooking with LACMA" series. Hear how she gets on in full at the end of this podcast. And the artists using their medium to influence change in our food systems. Turner Prize nominees 'Cooking Sections', tell Jaega how their exhibit at the Tate Britain has influenced the institution to stop serving farmed salmon. Presented by Jaega Wise. Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan. Mango-Pineapple Mezcal Margarita: Makes one cocktail. Ingredients: 50g Tajín (seasoning) 1 lime wedge 2 tablespoons fresh mango (a chunk) 2 tablespoons fresh pineapple 3 Mint leaves 1 to 2 sugar cubes * 30ml Lime Juice (or juice of 1 lime) 15ml Orange Liqueur 45ml Mezcal
Tom Kerridge: A Life Through Food
Tom Kerridge is probably best known as the first chef in the UK to be awarded two prestigious Michelin stars for food served in a pub, not even a year after opening 'The Hand and Flowers' in Marlow in Buckinghamshire in 2005. Then he was in his early thirties; Known, in the business, for his hard work ethic and hard partying. Today, he's given up the booze and the partying, but as Sheila Dillon finds, he's as driven as ever with a string of restaurants, a food festival company, a catering company, a TV production house, a shelf full of cook books and many BBC food TV series' to his name. Not to mention advocating on a national level for the hospitality industry and working with footballer Marcus Rashford to do his bit to end child food poverty. In line with Tom's latest BBC TV series 'Saving Britain's Pubs with Tom Kerridge', Sheila finds that the democratic environment of the pub has shaped Tom's life and his career in hospitality. And hears why these important community spaces need investing in at all costs. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
India's Covid Crisis: The Food Story
Dan Saladino looks at covid's impact on food in India and the heroic efforts underway to feed communities. Lockdowns and job losses have disrupted access to food in this country of 1.4 billion people. A further 400,000 covid cases are being reported on a daily basis and 300,000 deaths have been recorded so far. For much of the world the pandemic has primarily been seen as a health crisis, accompanied by significant economic pressures. In India however, the impact on the food system has been considerable. Among the most vulnerable are the daily wage earners and labourers who go from pay check to pay check. When India went into a sudden lockdown in March 2020 many lost their income overnight and also their ability to purchase food. Meanwhile, millions of migrant workers left cities across India to travel back to their villages. This also resulted in people experiencing food shortages and hunger. Chhavi Sachdev, a journalist and broadcaster based in Mumbai joins Dan to report on food stories from the pandemic, from people who survived lockdown in some of the city's most densely crowded slums to home cooks who took it upon themselves to feed people in need. The London based Indian chef Asma Khan describes how she has been trying to send food supplies to a village close to her family's home. Although it's an agricultural area, food supplies have been running low and some people have been at risk of starvation. Bhawani Singh Shekhawat of Akshaya Patra, an organisation that provides hot meals to millions of school children in India each day, explains how the pandemic initially disrupted their ability to provide food, but also led to them innovating and finding new ways of feeding even greater numbers of people. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
Socially Distanced Dining: Indoor restaurants reopen again
As hospitality businesses in most parts of the UK are allowed to resume serving customers indoors this week, Leyla Kazim heads to Padstow to meet a couple who have moved their restaurant out of town in order to adapt to the new rules. Prawn on the Lawn in Padstow is a fishmonger with a small restaurant, which can typically fit around 22 diners, but only 12 with social distancing. Owners Rick and Katie Toogood have now relocated the restaurant into a marquee on a nearby farm, where all the restaurants vegetables are grown by Ross Geach from Padstow Kitchen Garden. Over the past 15 months since the first Coronavirus lockdown forced hospitality to shut down, many businesses have had to adapt to keep going. Some restaurants started selling takeaway, others did 'heat at home' boxes, or meal kits. Many have used the Government furlough scheme, taken advantage of rent holidays, government grants and loans. For some, it's not been enough. Research from CGA and AlixPartners suggests there are now nearly 10% fewer restaurants to choose from than before the pandemic, while analysis from The Local Data Company for The Food Programme suggests certain types of cuisine fared better than others in staying open. During the programme we meet Oskar Ali, the owner of Falafilo Island, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Newport, which shut down after Christmas because of financial pressures. We also hear from restaurants and cafes around the UK that have been adapting to keep going, including Contini's in Edinburgh, Hangfire in Barry, Fodder in Downpatrick, and Ivy Chutney in Leicester. Presented by Leyla Kazim Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
Pure umami: should we learn to love MSG?
Monosodium Glutamate is probably one of the most contentious ingredients in modern food. Increasingly there have been calls to tackle the stigma attached to it especially as this has been linked to Chinese restaurants and people with East Asian heritage. In this programme Leyla Kazim aims to demystify MSG. She looks into where it came from, what it is and how it became so demonised. Professor Lisa Methven from the University of Reading explains the taste science behind how and why we like MSG. David Gott from the Food Standards Agency clarifies what the science says around the health issues associated with it. Historian of Science Dr Sarah Tracy tells Leyla about the complicated history of MSG. MiMi Aye and Huong Black from the MSG Pod talk about their experiences with MSG and coach Leyla on how to use it in food. Alison Cheung and Marina Lai’s families both own restaurants in London’s Chinatown, Plum Valley and Lotus Garden. They talk about how they want to confront the decades long stigma Presented by Leyla Kazim Produced by Sam Grist in Bristol
1971: A year that changed food forever?
Dan Saladino asks if the year 1971 was a turning point for how the world eats? It was a year of contrasts: McDonalds increased the portion sizes of the beef burger it served with the launch of the Quarter Pounder, meanwhile one of the best selling books of 1971 was full of vegetarian recipes, 'Diet for a Small Planet' by Frances Moore Lappe, which argued hunger could be eliminated from the world if we stopped eating meat and embraced plant-based diets. In the UK the food industry was innovating like never before and creating new types of processed foods and supermarkets were expanding across the country. Some embraced these changes, whereas others reacted to them, a split that was reflected in the publication of two important books that year. Delia Smith's 'How to Cheat at Cooking' offered tips on how tinned convenience foods could be used to create quick and delicious dishes, whereas, Jane Grigson's Good Things, was a celebration of slower, seasonal and more traditional cooking. Senior staff writer at Bon Appetit magazine Alex Beggs argues 1971 was a turning point for food and explains how social changes and economic forces helped transform the way people ate in the United States (from the opening of the first branch of Starbucks to cups of instant noodles going on sale). Food historian Polly Russell explains how a similar process was also underway in the UK and how we can see the legacy of that transformation in our food today. Dan also speaks to Professor Tim Lang about the importance of the Concert for Bangladesh, organised by George Harrison to fight famine in south Asia. He also catches up with Frances Moore Lappe to ask what 'Diet for a Small Planet' can tell us about food and our world fifty years on. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino
The Joy of Heat
The chilli revolution of the past decade has made the UK a nation of chilli-jam lovers, and windowsill spice-growers. But our desire for the fiery kick of heat-giving food goes back centuries. What is it about us that makes us crave the pain and pleasure of chilli, wasabi, and horseradish? In this programme Sheila Dillon investigates our love for the hot stuff, speaking to chefs, growers, and researchers who are taking heat to new, extravagant heights. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Melvin Rickarby
A Nominations Celebration
The BBC Food and Farming Awards are back for their 20th edition, ready to celebrate the people across the UK who are changing lives for the better, through food and drink. Marking the official opening of nominations, Sheila Dillon chats to this year's head judge, chef Angela Hartnett, about how the hospitality industry's coped over the past year - and the brand new awards categories up for grabs. Because although it's been a time of incredible stress and hardship for many in the industry, there have also been staggering displays of imagination, generosity and creativity; which is why this year's awards will focus on the people and businesses who’ve gone above and beyond during the pandemic. Nominations are open until just before midnight on Monday 17th May. For more information on how to nominate for the 2021 BBC Food and Farming Awards, visit: bbc.co.uk/foodawards Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
Lab-grown meat: How long before it's on a menu near you?
The first lab-grown beef burger was cooked and eaten in London in 2013. Since then more than 15 types of meat have been re-created by food scientists - including lamb, duck, lobster and even kangaroo. Last year, Singapore became the first country in the world to approve the sale of a cultured chicken nugget - so how far away are we in the UK from seeing cultured meat on the menu? The companies producing lab-grown meat say it is the answer to many of the world's problems; deforestation, factory farming, antibiotic resistance and carbon emissions. Sceptics say it is too expensive, highly-processed and any 'green' credentials have yet to be proven. In this programme, Sheila Dillon speaks to some of those at the forefront of developments, and asks if lab-grown meat is the fix the meat eating world has been asking for? Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
The Urban Growing Revolution
Planting and growing food has had a massive boost during the pandemic - and that hasn't been limited to those with gardens. Right across the country, people have been making the most of balconies, rooftops, even window boxes to get their green-fingered fix, as increasing numbers of us enjoy the benefits of interacting with nature and having a hand in producing our own food. Hot on the heels of her own spring planting project, Leyla Kazim explores stories of food being grown in cities: from individuals re-purposing tiny outdoor spaces during lockdown; to community garden projects providing fresh food and mental health support; through to innovative urban farms offering ideas for our future food security. Leyla speaks to writer and YouTube gardening sensation Huw Richards; Dr Jill Edmondson from the University of Sheffield, who's collecting data on national growing habits; and a range of first-time growers who've been following her tutorials on social media. She also hears from Woodlands Community Garden in Glasgow, and the Grow Cardiff city growing project - and heads to Stockport rooftop garden The Landing with chef Sam Buckley from Where The Light Gets In and Jo Payne from Manchester Urban Diggers, to find out just how valuable a green space for growing food in the heart of a city can be... Presented by Leyla Kazim; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
The Magic of Mussels (And Their Troubled Trade)
Dan Saladino finds out how Brexit could wreck plans to turn the mussel into a mainstream food. They're good for our health and the environment so why are producers facing ruin? From their base in Lyme Bay in South Devon Nicki and John Holmyard grow mussels out at sea. Their pioneering farm, once completed, will be the largest of its kind in European waters, capable of producing ten thousand tonnes of mussels each year. Since January however, they haven't been able to harvest the shellfish which they mostly sell into to Europe. Following Brexit a dispute between the government and the EU has meant the export of much of the UK's live bivalve molluscs (oysters and cockles as well as mussels) has ground to a halt. Dan explains what lies behind this trade dispute and the devastating impact its having on the industry. Exports into the European Union are essential to mussel farmers in the UK because we eat so little of the shellfish we produce. So why do these bivalves matter? Mary Seddon, a mollusc expert, explains why this source of food was so important to our ancestors and also describes the environmental benefits mussels bring to our coastline. Belgian food writer Regula Ysewin (pictured) reveals why it was Belgium that fell in love with mussels and also provides a guide to cooking them. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
Food, James Bond’s food
We don’t often see James Bond eating in the films, but in the novel food is almost as important as espionage, cocktails, sex, villains and travel. As many await the release of the new Bond film, we want to take your taste buds on a journey, to the flavours that were so unimaginably exotic when these books were written in the 1950s and 60s. Tom Jaine, former restaurateur and editor of The Good Food Guide, came of age when the Bond books were written. He remembers sneaking a copy of Casino Royale from his parents’ book group and being transported by it’s exoticism. The food was completely beyond the imagination for a post-war generation who were newly out of rationing. We meet Edward Biddulph, archaeologist by day, Bond enthusiast by night who has written Licence to Cook, in which he recreates the meals in the Bond books. Edward teaches Sheila how to make Bond’s most iconic dish - scrambled eggs. Biographer Andrew Lycett explains how the appetites of Ian Fleming made it into James Bond’s own tastes. And food journalist Clare Finney connect with the desire to be transported on a culinary adventure when the world around you is rather drab. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Emma Weatherill
Food in Lockdown: One Year On
A year after the UK was first put into lockdown, Sheila Dillon catches up with some of those who have been keeping the nation fed. If you listened to news reports, you might have thought getting food in lockdown was all about supermarkets and delivery slots, but as we have been hearing during the past year, it has been quite a bit more complicated than that. Coronavirus and lockdown has reset our minds to local and opened our eyes to how widespread hunger is in Britain. In this episode, Sheila brings together the Chief Executive of the UK's largest and longest-running food redistribution charity, Fareshare; the owner of a Rhondda convenience store who during the year has started a new online-delivery business; a London cheesemonger who has seen producers alter and adapt for a changed market; and she meets a pastry chef who has given up the restaurant business to deliver cakes and treats from her home. So what have we learned during this past year about our food supply chains, and how are we doing things differently? And how much of what has changed will last forever? Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
The Barrel Effect: Why Oak casks have stood the test of time.
Brewer Jaega Wise looks into the history of the oak barrel, and hears how despite their shape, sizes and names having barely changed in hundreds of years, their use for flavouring drinks really has. There are an estimated 25 million casks in Scotland, mostly filled with Scotch whisky. Although their contents could not be more Scottish, the casks themselves are generally not. We find out why most in fact originate in the United States, and from one State in particular.. Kentucky. Jaega speaks to Scottish distillers about why they use second-hand casks for maturation, how different varieties of oak can impart different flavours, and why some are keen to get more Scottish oak casks in use. She meets beer brewers, who are using oak to create new flavours for a new generation of drinkers keen to try alternative flavours. And she hears why English wine makers might prefer to age in oak compared with vintners in warmer climates. Plus as the number of coopers in the UK starts to creep up again after years of decline, Jaega meets one of William Grant and Sons' newest recruits. Dylan Carter worked as a chef before being furloughed during the Covid pandemic, and has recently successfully become an apprentice cooper. Presented by Jaega Wise Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
Genome editing and the future of food
Dan Saladino looks at the future role of genome editing in food and farming. A public consultation is underway on technologies such as CRISPR. What could it mean for farmers and consumers? Unlike transgenic technologies (in which DNA is moved from one species to another), genome editing can be used to create changes to the DNA of plants and animals within a species. Helping to explain how the technology works is a plant biologist working at Cold Spring Harbour in the United States, Zach Lippman. He's using CRISPR to create new types of tomato plants, some of which are higher yielding, more compact and better suited to urban agriculture. Meanwhile, Dr Mike McGrew, a molecular biologist based at the Roslin Institute in Scotland describes how genome editing might help result in future breeds of chickens that are completely resistant to avian influenza, a serious problem for all forms of poultry production. The public consultation has been prompted by the UK government's desire to change the legal status of genome editing. At present, because of a decision by the European Court of Justice back in 2018, the technology is as strictly regulated as all other forms of genetic modification. Brexit makes it possible to diverge from the EU's position. Lawrence Woodward of the campaign group Beyond GM has concerns over the process. For such a powerful technology, one that could potentially transform the future of food and farming, he argues we need a much bigger public debate. Farmer Guy Watson of Riverford Organic and Philip Lymbery of Compassion in World Farming both fear the technology will result in more intensive, industrial forms of production. Gideon Henderson, DEFRA's Chief Scientific Adviser gives his response. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
School Food: Re-imagined
What is the current school meal model, how well is it working and how has the pandemic highlighted existing problems and created new ones? More importantly, given the very public problems that have cropped up in recent months, how can the system be improved and made more sustainable and resilient? Sheila Dillon brings together a panel of school food visionaries to re-imagine the way we provide meals to pupils across the UK, and consider whether and how we could change the system for the better. They are Jeanette Orrey - a former dinner lady and winner of the BBC Food and Farming Awards Cook of the Year, now a school meals campaigner and co-founder of Food for Life, an organisation focused on transforming school food and food culture; Nicole Pisani - a former head chef at Yotam Ottolenghi’s London restaurant NOPI, now a school chef and co-founder of the organisation Chefs in Schools, bringing together chefs and teachers to change attitudes to school meals and food education; and Christina Adane - a food poverty activist and chair for the Youth Board of BiteBack2030, a youth-led movement on a mission to fight child obesity and give young people access to healthy food and lifestyles. The panel also hear from past programmes that featured schools doing something special around food provision: St Winnow’s School in Cornwall, Logie Primary School in Moray and Washingborough Academy in Lincolnshire. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Lucy Taylor Photo: Washingborough Academy's Chef Michael Richardson prepares meal boxes for delivery during the pandemic (2020).
Everything Stops For Tea.
The past 12 months have been tumultuous for us all. But imagine, for one second, how it would have been without a cup of tea? In the first three months of lockdown, we spent an additional £24 million on tea and coffee according to research firm Kantar. And despite tea trends diverging from the traditional cuppa over the years, the UK and Ireland remain two of the top tea drinking nations per capita, in the world. In this programme Jaega Wise looks at the connections we've built over tea, and why it plays such an important role in our lives. From the intricately performed traditional Japanese tea ceremony, courtesy of Camellia Flower Teahouse in Kyoto. To the significance, and potentially health giving ritual, of a brew between friends as uncovered by Newcastle University's Dr Edward Okello. And she focusses on a tea ritual of a very different kind - the art of tea tasting with Twinings Master blender Rishi Deb. Presented by Jaega Wise. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
Charles Campion: A Life Through Food.
The writer Charles Campion, who passed away recently, was an obsessive collector of food stories. With the help of Jay Rayner, Cyrus Todiwala, Nigel Barden, Mark Hix and Angela Hartnett, Dan Saladino finds out why. Charles had first worked in advertising, then became a chef in his own hotel-restaurant and eventually turned to food writing. He made numerous appearances on The Food Programme and was a longstanding judge in the BBC Food and Farming Awards. As Jay Rayner explains in this edition, 'the food world will be all the poorer for him not being in it.' Produced and presented by Dan Saladino. Photo credit: Dominick Tyler.
Amar Latif, entrepreneur and presenter, became the first blind contestant on BBC One's Celebrity Masterchef in 2019. During the series he inspired viewers, sighted, blind and partially sighted, as well as the Masterchef judges with this recipes and flair for flavours. Amar is one cook speaking to Sheila Dillon about his culinary inspiration and his rejuvenated enthusiasm for cooking. Sheila also speaks to double world champion, Paralympic Gold medal winning tandem cyclist, lifetime home cook and healthy food blogger Lora Fachie MBE about what role cooking has played in her life and career. And blind writer Simon Mahoney explains why he was inspired to write his first cookbook when he taught himself to cook after his wife, "his eyes" passed away. Sheila hears food stories and kitchen inspiration for aspiring cooks, whether sighted or blind. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.