The Food Programme

The Food Programme

By BBC Radio 4

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


Child Food Poverty: What next after the Government's U-turn on Free School Meals?

Last month, footballer Marcus Rashford wrote an open letter to MPs calling for them to continue funding free schools meals during the summer holidays. He called for support to a petition started by teenage campaigner Christina Adane, and within hours, the Government responded. All children eligible for free school meals in term time in England would benefit from the ‘Covid summer food fund’. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would also continue with voucher programmes. But funding would stop, Boris Johnson confirmed, after the summer. So what then? In this programme, Sheila Dillon is joined by two young campaigners on child food poverty Jani Clarke and Shane Robinson who've been hearing from young people across the UK with first-hand experiences of food poverty in their communities. They explain how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected home life and access to nutritious food. And why they are working with food campaigning charity The Food Foundation to demand more action from the UK government in their updated Right2Food charter. Sheila also asks actor and campaigner Dame Emma Thompson on why she's calling for the Government to listen to these young people. Deputy Mayor of London for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement Debbie Weekes-Bernard explains how the pandemic has affected opportunities for families living in food poverty, and journalist Louise Tickle describes the potential long term impact on children’s' access to education and opportunities should food poverty figures rise in the UK. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
12/07/2028m 54s

Is it harder to make it in the food industry if you’re black?

The Black Farmer thinks we’re at another #MeToo moment in world history following the death of George Floyd and the protests and discussions about racism it has sparked. For presenter Jaega Wise, it’s the first time in her life she has experienced race being talked about so frankly across society. She talks to three people who have been at the forefront of the conversation: Melissa Thompson who runs the food and recipe project Foulmouths, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones who runs the brand The Black Farmer, and Riaz Phillips - author of Belly Full, a book about Britain’s Caribbean food. All three have spoken out about diversity in the food media, hospitality and the supply chain in the last few weeks and Jaega hears their experiences and opinions on being black in Britain’s food industry. Presenter: Jaega Wise Producer: Tom Bonnett Picture courtesy of Samer Moukarzel
05/07/2028m 53s

Rethink: The Food Dimension.

As part of the BBC's Rethink series Dan Saladino asks how we can create a better food future for all in a post-Covid world. Among a cast of experts and activists offering their visions of the future are Microbiome expert and geneticist Professor Tim Spector focuses on diet, nutrition and the lessons learnt during the pandemic. Community cook Dee Woods addresses concerns over poverty and how disadvantaged communities can get better access to food. Produced by Dan Saladino.
28/06/2031m 5s

Why The Corner Shop Has Come Into Its Own

Remember March? Before the UK lockdown. Remember desolate supermarket shelves? Toilet rolls, eggs, flour nowhere to be found? Where did you turn? Chances are you may have hit the jackpot in your local corner shop. Sales in corner shops and independent grocers were up by 63 per cent in the three months to May according to industry analysts Kantar. For many small grocery shops, business has never been better. But as Sheila Dillon finds out, that's gone hand in hand with exceptionally long hours, miles and miles driven to cash & carries, finding new local suppliers, entrepreneurial social distancing solutions, and alot of community support. In this programme Sheila checks in with the people running corner shops across the country, and with their customers. She hears from Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing, whose local shops inspired them to write 'The Cornershop Cookbook'. And Babita Sharma, author of 'The Corner Shop: The True Story of the Little Shops - and Shopkeepers - Keeping Britain Going' talks about her experience of growing up 'behind the counter'. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
21/06/2028m 47s

Seed Stories from the Lockdown

Dan Saladino meets some of the people who turned to seeds and grew food in the lockdown. As well as supermarket panic buying, seed sellers also saw huge spikes in sales. Seed producer David Price describes how, as lockdown approached, orders from customers increased by around 600 per cent. The impact Covid-19 has on food supplies explains some of this. Many farmers who supplied restaurants had to quickly start growing different types of food which they could sell into markets that hadn’t been shut down. Veg box schemes were also seeing unbelievable levels of demand and needed access to more seed to ensure future supplies. Lockdown also meant that people gardens were spending more time in them and perhaps experimenting by planting seeds to grow food for the first time. Seed producers became aware that many customers were being motivated by a desire to become more self-sufficient and escape the growing supermarket queues. With the help of gardener and writer Alys Fowler Dan finds out more about our changing relationship with seeds and the power and autonomy seed saving provides. Phil Howard, Associate Professor at Michigan State University explains how the global supply of seed now rests in a small number of corporate hands. In Bristol, Dan meets people who are striving for a new form of food independence during the pandemic, and beginning to grow their own. Another seed producer Fred Groom of Vital Seeds argues that more of us should be saving seeds, growing food and helping to save diversity. He's setting up an online course this summer as a way of recovering some of these lost skills (to find out more go to For decades, helping to keep the seed saving flame alive in gardens and allotments have been various communities around the UK who have continued to rely on them for fresh food. Among them are people who arrived from the Caribbean in the 1950s. Dan meets two inspirational Jamaican growers, Mr Brown and Leon Walker, both are evangelical about the power of seeds to shape our lives. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
14/06/2038m 6s

How food on film is the secret ingredient to storytelling

Leyla Kazim meets Bend it like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, OBE to hear how she uses food to bring her films to life and hears from Nathalie Morris of the British Film Institute about how breakfasts and arguments over butter tell the story in Phantom Thread. With all this food on screen, inevitably we’re left wanting to eat it. Leyla discovers the people painstakingly recreating recipes like writers Olivia Potts and Kate Young with their TV dinners and the YouTube phenomenon Binging with Babish, who gets millions of views for revealing how to make dishes from TV and film’s biggest hits - like the ram-don noodles from Oscar-winning film Parasite. Featuring clips from: Bend it Like Beckham, directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Gurinder Chadha, Guljit Bindra and Paul Mayeda Berges with production companies Kintop Pictures, Bend It Films, Roc Media, Road Movies, Filmproduktion What’s Cooking? Directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges for BeCause Entertainment Group Phantom Thread, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson for Production companies Annapurna Pictures, Ghoulardi Film Company and Perfect World Pictures. Binging with Babish: Ram-Don from Parasite – produced and presented by Andrew Rea YouTube channel Maangchi video ‘Jjapaguri with steak (aka "Ram-don" from the movie Parasite)’ American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes, written by Alan Ball and produced by Jinks / Cohen Company Presenter: Leyla Kazim Producer: Tom Bonnett
07/06/2028m 33s

Why Eat Wild Meat?

Dan Saladino looks at the legal and illegal global trade in wild meat. After links have been made between the Covid-19 pandemic and wild animal populations, there have been calls for a complete ban on the hunting, trade and consumption of wild animals. As Dan explains, this would be a mistake and could even lead to greater risks to human health and livelihoods. Most food cultures still feature wild animals, from deer, rabbit and game birds in northern Europe, to cane rats, porcupine and antelope in Africa. Much of this is legal and sustainable, however, in an increasingly globalised world, a parallel and unsustainable illegal trade has been flourishing. Because of its illicit nature hard figures are hard to come by, but the illegal wild animal business is put at around $10bn a year; below the gun and drugs trade but on a par with international people trafficking. Current thinking is that the Covid-19 outbreak originated at a so called 'wet market' in Wuhan in China; the virus is believed to have spread from bats, through other wild or domesticated animals packed together in a market and then passed onto humans. Because of this scenario, there have been calls from health professionals and politicians for a complete ban on the wild meat trade. Everyone agrees that the wild animal markets need to be reformed and current bans on the illegal trade should be enforced. However as Dan hears from EJ Milner-Gulland, Professor of Biodiversity, University of Oxford, who has spent thirty years working on animal conservation, this blanket approach is far too simplistic and could create more harm than good. There are communities around the world still dependent on wild animals for their food security and economic well being. A blanket ban would do serious harm to many already vulnerable populations. Professor Milner-Gulland also explains that there is blurring between wild animals used as food and those used as medicine, which has created a complex supply chain that also blurs the legal status of these animals. What we also need to be focusing on, she argues, is the impact of our own industrial food system on biodiversity and future risks of pandemic. This is a point echoed by Professor Andrew Cunningham, an expert in animal diseases at ZSL. He also explains the long history of zoonotic diseases such as measles, small pox and mumps as they jumped from animals to humans, in some cases thousands of years ago, and then moved around the world as humans travelled and traded. The Chinese food expert Fuchsia Dunlop explains that although the wild meat trade is a big issues in China, live animals have been disappearing from markets in towns and cities in recent decades as the country modernises. To provide an insight into how important wild animals are to the identities and food security of some cultures Dan Saladino speaks with Alyssa Crittenden, based at the University of the Nevada, Las Vegas, an expert on one of the world's last remaining hunter gatherers, the Hadza. Nature, their environment, including wild animals and their meat, are essential to the survival of the Hadza in their remote part of Tanzania Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
31/05/2027m 41s

Last Orders: Does coronavirus spell boom or bust for Britain’s drinks sector?

Alcoholic drinks are not just big business in Britain - they are an essentially social business. Whether it's hitting your local with colleagues after work, raising a reception toast to newly-weds or selecting a favourite bottle to accompany dinner at a special restaurant, those traditional opportunities to buy and sell alcohol have been all but wiped out under lockdown. As Jaega Wise discovers, pubs, bars, restaurants and the drinks producers who supply them have been some of the hardest hit by virus control measures. But at the same time, alcohol sales have soared in recent weeks: retailers have enjoyed a boom in online orders, as have the producers and venues who've been able to adapt and target this new, stay-at-home market. So what does this mean for the British drinks sector in the longer term - and, once we're allowed to meet mates down the pub again, just how significantly will the UK's social landscape have changed? Presented by Jaega Wise, produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
24/05/2028m 54s

Joe Wicks: A Life Through Food, through lockdown

When Joe Wicks, the personal trainer, started making Instagram videos in his kitchen in 2014, he couldn't have imagined he'd become author of the second biggest selling UK cookbook of all time. He built a social media brand with millions of followers, nay disciples, on Instagram and YouTube who came for the quick healthy recipes and online fitness workouts. And then, just as he was about to embark on a tour of UK primary schools, the Coronavirus pandemic swept the world and the UK. We were told to stay at home. Schools closed. Overnight, Joe came up with an idea. What if he could keep P.E lessons running from people's front rooms? In this programme Sheila catches up with 'The Body Coach' to hear how the huge spotlight on him during lockdown has affected him and his family. And there's a chance to listen again to what happened when Sheila and Joe cooked together in 2019. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced by Clare Salisbury.
17/05/2028m 53s

The Kitchen Front: How wartime food strategies influenced our eating ethos

Making do, digging for victory, the hedgerow harvest, the garden front: food and farming was front and centre during the Second World War, with hearty phrases like these encouraging the population to pull together and do their bit for the national diet. Now, 75 years after Victory in Europe was declared, we’re hearing similar language in political speeches and across the media, as we “wage war” against coronavirus, in a country under lockdown. The rhetoric might be extreme – but as Sheila Dillon discovers, there are lessons to be learnt from the wartime eating ethos; particularly in this current climate of store-cupboard cooking, making do and reducing food waste. In fact, the war years marked a period when British diets and health actually improved. They also paved the way for agriculture’s Green Revolution, the expansion of processed and industrially produced edibles, and the drive towards cheap and plentiful food for all. As the UK marks a VE Day anniversary like no other, Sheila Dillon hears how the food legacy of WWII has influenced our modern diets - and considers what lessons we could still learn from the wartime eating ethos. Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
10/05/2028m 25s

Sheffield: A story of a city through its food

Leyla Kazim finds the independent spirit of Sheffield’s self-employed ‘little mesters’, who once combined to power the city’s steel industry, is now being channelled into new models for how food and drink can shape the future of cities. To guide her through the city’s story, artist Pete McKee and musician Richard Hawley tell Leyla what food was like in Sheffield when they were growing up, what’s changed and how a bottle of table sauce called Henderson’s Relish has become iconic. She has pie, chips and peas and a few drops of ‘the black stuff’ with Kane Yeardley who runs pubs and bars in the city, roasts coffee and brews beer with his company True North. Jules Gray from Hop Hideout bottle shop talks about striking out to move to run a bar, Matt Bigland who owns the city’s Cutlery Works food hall talks about the regeneration happening north of the city centre and Professor Vanessa Toulmin and Tim Nye sit down for a coffee at Marmadukes café near the famous Crucible Theatre to explain why the future of Sheffield’s independents could be opening up in the heart of the city. Presenter: Leyla Kazim Producer: Tom Bonnett Picture: Meat 'N' Tater Pie by Pete McKee
03/05/2029m 37s

Bonus Podcast: More from Sheffield's Pete McKee and Richard Hawley

Hear an extended version of the interview with artist Pete McKee and musician Richard Hawley from the programme Sheffield: A Story of a City Through It's Food. Picture: Meat 'N' Tater by Pete McKee
03/05/2020m 49s

Covid-19: The Food Waste Dimension.

Dan Saladino investigates how the coronavirus crisis has not only resulted in vast amounts of food being wasted but also saved and redirected to feed people in need. The global food system has been exposed to levels of disruption not seen since World War II. According to Andre Laperriere, of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Covid-19 has led to levels of food waste in developed economies increasing from around 30 per cent to 40 per cent of everything that's produced, distributed and consumed. Many farmers in Europe and north America have been unable to harvest their crops, supplies of food inside restaurants have been left uneaten and dairy farmers have had to dispose of millions of litres of milk. However, Covid-19 is also leading many people to rethink supply chains, reinvent national food systems and innovate. Dan hears about some of these ideas now being put into practice. He finds out how 'Disco Soups', online events that are taking place around the world combining cooking, music and dance is saving tonnes of food going to waste (and providing fun and social interaction). Meanwhile, specialist cheesemakers around the UK are exploring new ways of selling their cheese after restaurants, pubs and cafes were closed for the lockdown. One solution is a forthcoming British Cheese Weekender. This free online event will see cheese makers and experts present tastings and tutorials. The nation is being encouraged to buy cheese from small scale producers and eat along. This way it's hoped hundreds of cheesemakers at risk of going out of business can be saved. Dan also speaks to Tristram Stuart, the food campaigner and author of Waste: Uncovering The Global Food Scandal, about his efforts over two decades to stop good food being wasted and hears how some of the ideas and networks created during that time could provide answers to how we can create a more sustainable food system in the post Covid-19 world. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino. For more information on the British Cheese Weekender go to the Academy of Cheese website: and for information on setting up your own Disco Soup find out more from the Slow Food Youth Network: and look for the Step-by-Step guide.
26/04/2028m 6s

Love In The Time Of Corona: Stories of community support through food

Every day, with the UK on 'lock-down' as part of government measures to halt the spread of Covid-19, we're hearing inspirational tales of community groups and volunteer services springing up to help others - very often, through food. Over the course of this programme, Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino - chatting remotely from their respective lock-down locations - hear from just a small selection of the incredible community efforts going on across the country, supporting the most vulnerable during the outbreak: from delivering essentials to the ill and the elderly, confined to their homes; to providing meals for hospital staff working long shifts in Intensive Care Units; to supporting children missing out on their regular free school dinners. This episode is not only a recognition of the ingenious solutions being found - but also looks at how these local strategies, developed in response to a national crisis, could help change our food system for the better in future. Presented by Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino, and produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
19/04/2028m 56s

Takeaway transformed: Inside the food delivery revolution

Stepping into a 'dark kitchen', Sheila Dillon explores why takeaway apps are changing food culture and explores how delivery is offering a lifeline under lockdown and diversifying to help people in need. She hears stories from restaurants turning to delivery to stay in business and the people dropping groceries at people's doors and getting food to those who don't have a home. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Tom Bonnett
12/04/2028m 43s


In a special programme - recorded online from self-isolation - Sheila Dillon explores the new art of cooking in lockdown. As we all get used to spending more time at home, what better opportunity for an expedition into our kitchen cupboards? What lurks at the back behind the mountains of stockpiled pasta and tinned tomatoes? And how to feel confident using only the absolute basics - from a tin of beans to a bag of flour. Sheila masters Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp to join some of our favourite chefs and home cooks in their own kitchens, to see how they're passing the time in quarantine. Mary Berry is keeping herself busy with gardening and jigsaws. Baker Richard Bertinet is getting used to making loaves at home after closing his beloved cookery school (luckily, he's got plenty of flour to keep him going). Food writer Felicity Cloake is taking the opportunity to sort out her freezer - and makes a dramatic discovery. And author Lola Milne is embracing the creepily perfect timing of her new book, 'Take One Tin: 80 delicious meals from the storecupboard'. Sheila talks to Dr Rupy Aujla about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet during this challenging time. And we share recipes from the kitchens of Britain as Food Programme listeners send in tips for simple, back-of-the-cupboard cuisine. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced by Anna Jones.
05/04/2028m 34s

Eating After Cancer: Can rebuilding relationships with food help cancer patients with their recovery?

One of the unexpected side-effects of dealing with cancer can be how it impacts relationships with food and eating. The various treatments can take away both appetite, and the ability to eat and enjoy food - which has a knock-on effect on the patient's health, social life and wider wellbeing... Sheila Dillon knows this better than most: eight years ago, she was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, and has experienced firsthand what it's like to lose the ability to enjoy a good meal, because of illness. This is an issue that hasn’t always been given due attention, by medics or patients – but a shift is underway: there’s growing recognition that people with cancer not only need nutritious food, but also that the pleasure of eating can actually aid their wellbeing and recovery. Under self-isolation in the coronavirus outbreak because of her 'immuno-compromised’ status from being on maintenance chemo, Sheila delves into the stories of people recovering from or living with cancer, who have been forced to readdress their relationship with what and how they eat; as well as the researchers and cooks pioneering new, food-based solutions. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
29/03/2028m 53s

Coronavirus and Food: Your Questions Answered

As the government updates its plans for coronavirus, Dan Saladino answers your food questions.
22/03/2028m 42s

Covid-19: The Food Dimension.

Dan Saladino tracks the origins and impact of coronavirus within the global food supply chain. Where are pressures being felt and who's making decisions about feeding Britain? The spead of Covid-19 around the world isn't just proving to be a challenge for public health and economies, it is also proving to be one of the biggest tests faced by the global food system. With around fifty per cent of the UK's food supplies coming from overseas and our dependence on a complex and interconnected food system Dan investigates where the pressures are being exerted and how the government and retailers are responding. Concerns are growing for food banks, charities dependent on surplus food and the most vulnerable in society. Dan also hears from people who have had to feed themselves during the lockdowns in China and Italy. He also speaks to Professor Andrew Cunningham, an expert in zoonotic diseases, about the origins of coronavirus within the food supply chain. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
15/03/2028m 15s

Is the Pasty Really Cornish?

In the week that Cornish people celebrated their Patron Saint St Piran, Dr Polly Russell & Sheila Dillon ask why the pasty remains an emblem of Cornishness for people around the world. There would have been a time when pasties were eaten all over the UK, but the PGI protected Cornish pasty has persevered in Cornwall. Today the Cornish Pasty Association estimate that on it's own, production of Cornish pasties is worth around 20 per cent of the value of the county's food and drink industry. In this programme we hear what the pasty means to people in Cornwall, and all over the world; Because when Cornish miners emigrated away from the UK in the 19th century, they took their pasties with them. At 2020's World Pasty Championships, we meet pasty makers from as far as the USA, Argentina, Jamaica, and closer, from Kent, Sheffield and Bristol. We hear from Bridget Galsworthy de Estavillo, who has helped to reconnect Mexican paste (pasty) makers with their Cornish heritage in the mountain communities of Hidalgo. And we ask what the Cornish pasty says about a new generation's sense of regional/national identity. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
08/03/2028m 32s

Lights, Camera, Reaction: Life after Great British Bake Off with David Atherton

What's it like becoming a celebrity overnight? Bake Off Winner David Atherton talks fame, food and post-GBBO freak outs with presenter Leyla Kazim and shares stories and gets some advice from Masterchef winner and Wahaca co-founder Thomasina Miers.
01/03/2028m 19s

A Tale of Two Fish: Salmon, the wild and farmed

Dan Saladino investigates the possible extinction of wild Atlantic salmon within 20 years. Dan travels from the River Spey on Scotland's east coast to fish farms in the west in order to plot the decline of one species, the wild salmon, and the rise of another, farmed salmon. From a population that was close to ten million, wild Atlantic Salmon numbers are now down to below two million. It's cousins further south, the wild Pacific Salmon hasn't seen declines of anything close to this. The author of the ground breaking food books on Salt and Cod, Mark Kurlansky has now turned his attention to the decline of the wild salmon and tells Dan some of the factors that are causing the crisis, from the pollution and dam building in the 19th century, to overfishing on the 20th and the effects of climate change on the oceans in the 21st century. Because the fish goes from being a freshwater fish to becoming an ocean going one, salmon provides, Kurlansky argues, the perfect barometer for how we how humans are treating our our planet, both the land and the oceans. Mark Bilsby of the Atlantic Salmon Trust adds his concerns about the impact the salmon farming industry is having on the wild fish population, from the huge numbers of sea lice that can radiate out from farm pens, containing thousands of fish, out the sea, infecting wild salmon. Escaped fish are also a problem he says. Earlier this year, more than seventy thousand farmed salmon escaped from one pen because of storm damage, Bilsby says events such as these are resulting in a weakening of the salmon's gene pool as the domesticated (and genetically different) farmed fish is now breeding with the wild species. Rory Campbell and Ian Roberts of Mowi, the world's biggest producer of farmed salmon explain the changes they are making in order to make their industry more sustainable and how schemes such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council are helping to bring lice levels down and improve welfare standards. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
23/02/2028m 49s

What Is Making My Child Fat? Part 2: The Debate and Your Questions.

When Professor Dame Sally Davies left her role as Chief Medical Officer for England in Autumn 2019, she didn't go quietly. Instead, she published a strongly titled, independent, 96 page report 'Time To Solve Childhood Obesity'. "The Government ambition" she wrote "is to halve childhood obesity by 2030 – in England, we are nowhere near achieving this. Yet, if we are bold, we can." What followed were a plethora of recommendations for Government bodies, local authorities, schools, researchers, the NHS, the private sector and more. In the second of two programmes, Sheila Dillon invites an expert panel into the studio to discuss the issues, possible solutions and to answer your questions on child obesity related health and disease. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced by Clare Salisbury.
16/02/2029m 14s

What Is Making My Child Fat? Part 1: Finding Solutions to the UK’s Child Obesity Issue

When Professor Dame Sally Davies left her role as Chief Medical Officer for England in Autumn 2019, she didn't go quietly. Instead, she published a strongly titled, independent, 96 page report with a rallying call: 'Time To Solve Childhood Obesity'. "The Government ambition" she wrote "is to halve childhood obesity by 2030 – in England, we are nowhere near achieving this. Yet, if we are bold, we can." What followed was a plethora of recommendations for Government bodies, local authorities, schools, researchers, the NHS, the private sector and more. In the first of two programmes, Sheila Dillon meets the young people at the heart of this issue. She asks them what they think needs to change for them to lead healthy lives in the future and walks to school with 14 year old Dev Sharma to ask what he thinks can be part of the solution. She meets individuals, schools and organisations trying to make sense of the complex issues surrounding child obesity and asks what really needs to change before we see a reduction in levels of child obesity in the UK. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced by Clare Salisbury.
09/02/2028m 11s

Mary Berry: A Life Through Food

Sheila Dillon speaks to a veteran of the British food scene; a writer and television presenter who has made cooking – in particular baking – accessible, and achievable, for millions: Mary Berry. In a candid conversation over exemplary lemon drizzle cake, Mary talks us through her life through food: from the challenges of forging a culinary career as a woman and a mother in the 1960s, to learning how to handle celebrity in her seventies. With the new series of Best Home Cook, Mary is continuing her quest to educate people of all ages about the joys of cooking. But, as Sheila discovers, this ambitious cook is also a huge advocate for women in the industry - as Mary shares tales of her own struggles to carve out a niche in the culinary world, challenging female stereotypes and sexual harassment in the kitchen… Over the course of the programme, Sheila gets some insight into ‘the real Mary’ from her long-term collaborator and cookbook co-author Lucy Young - as the renowned TV judge discusses careers highlights to date, including Bake Off, becoming a style icon and meeting Royalty; as well as opening up about trials she has faced in her lifetime, including the tragic death of one of her children.
02/02/2029m 3s

The Physicist In the Kitchen

Can a grounding in science help us become better cooks? Dan Saladino speaks with chefs Heston Blumenthal, Raymond Blanc, food writers Harold McGee and Niki Segnit to find out what a little chemistry and physics can do for our kitchen skills. Each of these chefs and cooks have been influenced by a lecture delivered to the Royal Institution in 1969 delivered by an Oxford professor of physics, a Hungarian called Nicholas Kurti. In his talk, titled, "A Physicist In The Kitchen," Kurti came up with the memorable quote, "I think it is a sad reflection on our civilisation that while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus, we do not know what goes on inside our soufflés." He believed that food and cooking were such important features of human life they deserved greater attention from science, and that likewise, that cooks should better understand the science that unfolds when we mix, heat and chill ingredients. The lecture and the quote inspired chef Raymond Blanc, who in the 1990s made a television series with Nicholas Kurti, and whose own cooking was transformed by working with the physicist. Heston Blumenthal was also inspired. He was among a group of chefs who attended a series of food and science workshops held in Sicily and founded by Kurti. It set him on a voyage of scientific discovery and some of the most experimental cooking seen and tasted in the UK. Dan caught up with Heston as he was researching a new menu for the restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, at an exhibition at the Ashmolean. New scientific techniques are revealing how people in the ancient city were eating and cooking before Vesuvius erupted. From this research the Dinner team have created a menu featuring ancient varieties of spelt flour served with butter, and crafted to resemble lava rock. As well as the role of science in creative restaurant cooking, physics and chemistry have been at the heart of the work of food writers Harold McGee and Niki Segnit (author of The Flavour Thesaurus and Lateral Cooking). They explain how learning about copper ions and flavour molecule can transform a dish. To explain who Nicholas Kurti was, Professor of Physics, and Radio 4 presenter Jim Al-Khalili sheds light on Kurti's career and shares his own thoughts on the role of science in the future of our food. Presented by Dan Saladino. Photograph: Emily Jarrett Photography
26/01/2028m 30s

Yes We Can: What do the tins we eat say about the UK?

Baked beans, tinned pies, corned beef, creamed tomato soup, plum tomatoes, ackee, pineapple chunks and condensed milk. Our store cupboards are bursting with tins of food, they provide comfort, cheap family meals, quick lunches and easy dinners. Maybe even a sure stock of ingredients as Brexit edges closer. Yet over the years, the UK market is dwindling. Stats show young people are less interested in tinned fruit and fish. And then there's the image problem. Tinned food has a reputation in the UK it's struggling to shake off. Cheap, unhealthy. Fine for those making do with tiny budgets, not if you can afford the fresh equivalents. As Madrid born Patrick Martinez found out first hand when he set up a bespoke tinned fish company in Liverpool, we have a funny relationship with tinned food in the UK. A relationship quite unlike our continental neighbours. We deeply love these foods, but we might not admit our affection openly. In this programme Sheila Dillon speaks to food writer Jack Monroe about the politics of tinned food and why she thinks we ought to cook and love the tinned foods lurking in our cupboards. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
19/01/2028m 34s

Pints of progress: The brewers changing attitudes to learning disabilities

Brewer and broadcaster Jaega Wise visits breweries where a progressive approach to employing people with learning disabilities is pouring away preconceptions. Helping tell the story is Michaela Overton, a brewer at Ignition in Sydenham, South London, a brewery founded to create meaningful work for people with learning disabilities, which has gone from glorified homebrew to running two taprooms selling their beers. In this programme, we follow their collaboration with London brewer Gipsy Hill to make a beer as part the Social Brew Collective. Jaega joins in the project teams up with Spotlight Brewing in Goole in East Yorkshire. There she meets Neil, Michael and Kev and Ric who are making beers with names like Undiagnosed and Spectrum to raise awareness of learning disabilities. Spotlight and Ignition are a taste of change to come but Jaega finds opportunities like these in the food industry are hard to come by for most people with learning disabilities so she meets Mencap's Natalie Duo to talk about her work training potential employers in the changes they can make to create a more accessible workplace. Presenter: Jaega Wise Producer: Tom Bonnett
12/01/2028m 14s

Could eating microalgae be the next big thing?

Sheila Dillon enters the murky green and bright blue world of microalgae and cynobacteria to meet the people who believe humble pond scum could be the secret to securing food for the world's growing population. She visits YeoTown Kitchen in West London where Mercedes Sieff serves up a platter of brightly coloured delights and then meets Andrew Spicer, CEO of Algenuity, who is exploring how microalgae could be an egg replacement of the future. Somehow, their conversation leads Sheila to make a green Victoria sponge. Away from the kitchen, Sheila tells the story of Saumil Shah who is growing spirulina on rooftops in Bangkok and Simon Perez who has been inventing hot dogs, crisps and salad dressings from spirulina in Copenhagen. She hears from one of the world's leading algae scientists, Professor Alison Smith, Head of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert before finding out from Dr Gisela Detrell how microalgae could feed astronauts on missions to Mars. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Tom Bonnett Photograph: Space10
05/01/2028m 28s

Is The Dinner Party Dead?

Cast your mind back to the days when as a child you’d be pushed into the backroom with the TV on a Saturday night whilst your parents ‘entertained friends’ in the dining room. Three courses, nibbles. If you were a child of the 70s, prawn cocktails and stroganoff. In the 80s, parents made vol-au-vents and devilled eggs, black forest gateaux slaved over all day. (Course you’d make do with cheese on toast before your mum got changed.) Today it doesn’t happen like it used to. Homes are built without dining rooms, that’s if you can afford your own place anyway. We’re too frightened of the elaborate dishes cooked by TV chefs that we prefer to meet up with friends over Sunday roasts or bottomless brunch. Yes we might have people over for food, but it’s shared out in the kitchen, or eaten on knees in-front of the TV. So are we in a post-dinner party era? Or should we invest in a decent table cloth and be proud about entertaining the people we love? Leyla Kazim speaks to New Yorker and author of 'Nothing Fancy', Alison Roman who is not mourning the dinner party. Instead, Alison gives her ultimate guide to having friends over for food, complete with a 'washing up' dance party. British podcast host and writer Alexandra Dudley defends the glitz that only comes with a proper party and shares some simple hacks. And best-selling author Josceline Dimbleby describes how the way she cooks for friends has changed since she released her first cookbook in 1976. Presented by Leyla Kazim. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
29/12/1928m 22s

Michel Roux Jr: A Life Through Food

Sheila Dillon visits London restaurant Le Gavroche, to speak to renowned chef Michel Roux Jr about food, family and festive inspiration. Michel Jr is the second generation of the Roux family to run the Mayfair restaurant, which was started by his father Albert and his uncle Michel. When he took over the kitchen nearly 30 years ago, he fought to put his own stamp on the style – and write the next chapter of the family’s food story. Michel kicks off in the kitchen, cooking two dishes that have special importance to him: Soufflé Suissesse, his father’s decadent cheese soufflé creation that diners won’t allow to be taken off the menu; and roast quail with potato fondant and mushrooms, a dish that he loves and often cooks at home for the family. Over the course of cooking and eating the meal, Sheila asks Michel about his life, his love of food, his inspirations and drive – as well as the pressure that come with being part of a dining dynasty. They also discuss how he’s dealt with the challenges in his life: from the pay scandal of 2016, when Gavroche employees were found to be earning below minimum wage – to his regret over never quite managing to achieve a work/life balance. They’re later joined by Michel’s daughter Emily, who now has her own restaurant in London with her husband Diego Ferrari, and who has a fresh perspective on the industry and how her family have shaped her career. The programme also hears from one half of the team who originated this dynasty: Albert Roux shares his take on his son’s success. Presented by Sheila Dillon, produced by Lucy Taylor.
22/12/1941m 26s

The Sugar Plum Shift: Exploring the ballet world’s changing approach to food, nutrition and body image

Sparkling lights, twinkly music, frothy tutus and perfectly pirouetting dancers: what could be more magical – and festive – than ballet? This is an art-form that’s been revered over generations, romanticised by books, magazine and movies… but it hasn’t always had the best of reputations when it comes to health and well-being. Ballet dancers are ethereal, elegant, poised – and were, traditionally, often tiny. Over the years, around the world, there have been stories of ballet dancers having unhealthy diets, eating disorders and mental health issues. In more recent decades, the ballet world has recognised this – and a shift is well underway, in attitudes towards food, eating, diet and nutrition… one that’s seen the big ballet companies employing dedicated nutritionists and strength training coaches, training their dancers like professional athletes. The evolution of the art-form has seen ballet become more demanding - and as a result, the ideal ballet body image has shifted to strong, lean and toned; meaning dancers need to be on top of their diet and nutrition, in order to perform. Today, the industry says its focus is on education, and building positive relationships with food and body image right from the start of a dancer's career. So how far has the industry come - and what more could yet be done? Sheila Dillon dons her tutu and ventures into the world of British ballet, to ask: does playing the Sugar Plum Fairy still mean sacrificing any hint of a sugar plum? Presented by Sheila Dillon, produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor. PICTURED: Yasmine Naghdi, principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, dancing Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. ©ROH, 2017. Photographed by Bill Cooper. * * * Special thanks to The Royal Ballet for letting us attend and record their rehearsals for Coppélia, featuring dancers Laura Morera in the role of Swanilda and Bennet Gartside as Dr Coppelius - with coaches and former Royal Ballet dancers Leanne Benjamin and Stephen Wicks, accompanied by pianist Kate Shipway. Also thanks to the staff and students of Elmhurst Ballet School for letting us watch and record one of their dance classes, taught by Gloria Grigolato and accompanied by pianist Dominic Mason.
15/12/1928m 44s

Cookbooks of 2019

Pinch of Nom, Charred and East are among the titles up for discussion as Sheila Dillon and guests gather in Hay-on-Wye to review 2019's best cookbooks. Featuring Cerys Matthews, Lia Moutselou and The Bookseller's Tom Tivnan. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced by Clare Salisbury.
08/12/1928m 53s

Eating Animals Part 2: A Meat Q&A.

Dan Saladino, Sheila Dillon and a range of experts ranging from climate scientists to beef producers answer your questions on meat eating and the future of farming and our diets. Featuring questions on methane, scientific trials of more carbon friendly beef, the impact of rice in climate change, the nutritional benefits of grass-fed meats and the value of traditional diets. Among the contributors are Dr Michelle Cains, a Climate scientist at the Oxford Martin School, Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers Union, Professor of Epidemiological Genetics at Kings College London, Patrick Holden, The Sustainable Food Trust, Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network and environmental campaigner George Monbiot.
01/12/1929m 1s

Eating Animals Part 1: The Future of Meat

Dan Saladino finds out why tensions are running so high over animal vs plant based diets. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030. Coming under greater focus were sources of CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions linked to our food; cows and sheep. For some the science was enough to justify ever greater calls to reduce meat and dairy consumption and rein in the global livestock population. To others, the focus on meat has become too simplistic and driven by ideology. So, who's right and what should the future of meat look (and taste) like? In the first of two programmes Dan asks a number of experts to explain their different points of view. Author (and vegetarian) Jonathan Safran Foer argues that saving the world starts at breakfast and we should all be avoiding meat until the last meal of the day. That way he believes we can begin to bring our consumption of meat under control. Morten Toft Bech, the founder of The Meatless Farm which makes plant based beef alternatives, explains why he set out to help replace animals in the food system. Professor Frederic Leroy of Brussels University in Belgium has been monitoring the meat debate of recent years. He's concerned about the tendency to lump together vastly different production systems, good and bad, to create an anti-meat narrative. Dairy and meat farmer Simon Fairlie describes a possible solution, an approach he calls "default meat". In part two, the following week, it's over to the programme's listeners and their questions on the future of meat. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino.
24/11/1928m 38s

The Food Programme at 40: Looking Forward (Part II)

Andi Oliver, Rick Stein and Yotam Ottolenghi join Sheila Dillon at the BBC Radio Theatre to celebrate 40 years of The Food Programme and ask what changes the next four decades might bring to the way we eat and drink. Together with restaurant critic for The Guardian and MasterChef regular, Grace Dent and food blogger and presenter Leyla Kazim, they’ll traverse the food trends which have shaped our eating in and eating out, and face questions from listeners from all over the country. From fad diets to food fraud, from the scandals which have shocked us to the cook books we reach for in our flour-coated, milk-spattered kitchen time of need; the highs and lows of 40 years in food and drink. The Food Programme was commissioned in 1979 as a six-part radio series fronted by Derek Cooper. Join in as we share the food stories which have helped make the series the place on BBC Radio 4, for hungry minds across four decades. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury. (Part II of II)
17/11/1928m 40s

The Food Programme at 40: Looking Back (Part I)

Andi Oliver, Rick Stein and Yotam Ottolenghi join Sheila Dillon at the BBC Radio Theatre to celebrate 40 years of The Food Programme and ask what changes the next four decades might bring to the way we eat and drink. Together with restaurant critic for The Guardian and MasterChef regular, Grace Dent and food blogger and presenter Leyla Kazim, they’ll traverse the food trends which have shaped our eating in and eating out, and face questions from listeners from all over the country. From fad diets to food fraud, from the scandals which have shocked us to the cook books we reach for in our flour-coated, milk-spattered kitchen time of need; the highs and lows of 40 years in food and drink. The Food Programme was commissioned in 1979 as a six-part radio series fronted by Derek Cooper. Join in as we share the food stories which have helped make the series the place on BBC Radio 4, for hungry minds across four decades. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury. (Part I of II)
10/11/1932m 41s

Smoke and Celebration: Exploring Bonfire Night food traditions

Autumn is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – when the air is perfumed with bonfire smoke, sweet crisp apples are weighing down orchard branches, and root vegetables are plump and ready for picking beneath the soil. It’s a time of year when a whole new palette of British produce is ripe and ready to turn into pies, pickles, chutneys, cakes, jams and stews: hearty comfort food to warm and nourish as the weather turns colder. Autumn is also a season for festive gatherings: with Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night leading swiftly into the frenzied run-up to Christmas, providing plenty of opportunity to eat, drink and be merry - and on November 5th in particular, food traditions abound across the UK; from regional specialities to family favourites. In this programme, Sheila Dillon heads to North Yorkshire, to gather round a fire with Michelin-starred chef Tommy Bank; cook and food writer Meera Sodha; and chef and restaurateur Andrew Nutter. Together, they keep the autumn chill at bay with a bonfire feast – whilst sharing stories of their seasonal food memories.
03/11/1929m 2s

Brexit: The Tomato's Story. What can one food tell us about the future?

Dan Saladino uses the story the tomato to examine the impact of the new Brexit on food.
27/10/1928m 52s

Could a food project from India solve the UK’s holiday hunger problem?

As many UK schools break for half term, chef Romy Gill and Sheila Dillon focus on our national problem with holiday hunger. Earlier this year, a UN special rapporteur found poverty in the UK to be "systematic" and "tragic". The Work and Pensions Committee published a separate report suggesting that while poverty rates are much higher in households where no-one works, almost one in 10 households with children where all adults work full-time are in poverty. In the school holidays, food budgets are stretched even further. Now a charity from India, who regularly feed 1.76 million school children, says it can help. In this programme, Romy visits a holiday club in Croydon in South London where Akshaya Patra are working with local groups and trialling a new way of providing school meals. Could the organisation's success in India help solve a UK holiday hunger crisis? Presented by Sheila Dillon and Romy Gill. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
20/10/1928m 38s

Joe Wicks: A Life Through Food

When Joe Wicks, the personal trainer, started making Instagram videos in his kitchen in 2014, he couldn't have imagined he'd become author of the second biggest selling UK cookbook of all time. Today he is a phenomenon. He's built a social media brand with millions of followers, nay disciples, on Instagram and YouTube who come for the quick healthy recipes and online fitness workouts. Yet, Joe tells Sheila Dillon, somewhat modestly, "I'm not really great at cooking..." In this programme Sheila visits Joe at home in London to find out what drives his ambition and enduring popularity. They talk cooking, parenthood, and how his own fame has affected his whole family. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
13/10/1928m 22s

The Return of Zing: How to Get Sour Back into Your Life.

Dan Saladino explores the taste and temptations of sourness, from our evolution to the way we cook and eat. A story of puckering pickles, science, fermentation and edible ants. It's only in recent times that we have understood how and why we experience the sensation of sourness. The leader in the field is EMILY LIMAN, Professor of Biological Sciences at University of Southern California in the USA. She explains the recent discoveries about what happens when we put something sour in our mouths. Forager Miles Irving takes Dan on a wild walk through a field in Kent in search of sources of sourness from insects to red berries. Chinese food expert Fuchsia Dunlop whose new book Sichuan Cookery, focuses on the food of southern provinces explains the role of pickles and vinegars. In the studio Mark Diacano gives a guide to bringing more sour back into your life with lessons in piccalilli making and a beginners guide to kombucha. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
06/10/1928m 14s

Food Additives, Part 2: The Debate

In the second part of The Food Programme's focus on additives, Sheila Dillon takes a closer look the myths and realities around these extra ingredients and their roles in our everyday diets - through addressing questions and comments from listeners. She's joined by a panel of food aficionados as well as an audience of industry professionals and interested listeners, at the BBC's New Broadcasting House in London - to discuss a range of points raised by listeners and audience members. The panellists are: - Dr Helen Crawley, a dietitian and public health nutritionist, who currently manages and coordinates the First Steps Nutrition Trust: an organisation focusing on the need for expert, independent information and support for good childhood nutrition; - Ralph Early, a food scientist, a Trustee of the Food Ethics Council and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. He was formerly Professor of Food Industry at Harper Adams University and has also worked in the food industry itself, primarily in the dairy sector. - Helen West, a dietitian "on a mission to cut through the untruths and nonsense in the world of nutrition"; she’s also co-founder of The Rooted Project: a community that says it aims to make evidence-based nutritional information accessible to all. - And Sanjay Kumar: a chef hailing from Calcutta, who trained in Oxford under Raymond Blanc and has worked in kitchens around the world – but now runs a cookery school, teaching people of all generations to cook and eat better, on a budget. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced by Lucy Taylor.
29/09/1942m 40s

Food Additives, Part 1: Sherbet and other E number experiments

From Vitamin C and fruit-flavoured sherbet, to the chemicals adding flavour to ultra-processed foods - Sheila Dillon delves into the world of food additives, to learn about the impact E Numbers have had on modern diets. Sheila meets with food scientist and entertainer Stefan Gates, for some entertaining and surprising E Number experiments in his lab-kitchen... She also hears more about the background to food additives from Stacey Lockyer at the British Nutrition Foundation; and explores some of the impacts, questions and controversies around these added extras, with gut microbiome expert Professor Tim Spector, and science policy professor Erik Millstone. Following this introduction to the world of additives, The Food Programme invites listeners to get in touch and share their questions and thoughts on these ingredients, ahead of a panel discussion on the role of additives in our everyday lives, taking place in front of a live audience next week. Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
22/09/1929m 6s

Island to Island: The journey of Mauritian cuisine

Mauritius recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence from the UK – and since that day in the 1960s, tens of thousands of islanders have made the UK their home; bringing with them a unique, diversely influenced cuisine that seems to enthral eaters from the first bite. For those with Mauritian heritage, food - and the very act of coming together to eat with friends and family - is an almost sacred part of life; a tradition packed with love, laughter and lip-smacking dishes. So why hasn't Mauritian food made more of an impact on the UK food scene, over the decades? And is that now starting to change? Food and travel writer Leyla Kazim sets out on a journey to explore her own Mauritian heritage and the island’s growing culinary influence within the UK, learning more about a cuisine that has diversity and family – particularly matriarchs – at its very heart. Leyla meets with pioneering cooks Selina Periampillai and Shelina Permalloo, two women who learned classic recipes handed down over the generations, who are proving that the second generation of Mauritians in the UK are determined to earn their cuisine the recognition it deserves... She also learns more about the diverse history of the Indian Ocean island and its multicultural influences - and hears the moving tale of Clancy Phillippe, a Mauritian living in Australia who was inspired by his wife to introduce traditional Mauritian fare to the world. Presented by Leyla Kazim and produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
15/09/1928m 27s

Ice Cream Nation

We might like the occasional 99 in the rain in the UK, but not for us the piled high gelato cones of Italy, the tubs of sweet American sundaes, nor the eiscafes of Germany and Austria. Right? Yasmin Khan is on a mission to prove you wrong. In this programme Yasmin (Ice cream fanatic) uncovers the UK’s rich but lesser known ice cream culture, taking a trip down memory lane to visit people making ice cream in places where she's lived. She’ll hear about our overlooked regional specialities like the ‘lemon top’ of Redcar near Middlesbrough. And she’ll hear how our sweet tooth is driving a new market for high street dessert parlours and struggling dairy farms. She’ll find how our love affair with ice cream all goes back to hundreds of years of immigration, from the Swiss Italians in the 19th century to young entrepreneurs today. It’s not an ice cream renaissance, because our love of ice cream has never disappeared. (And also there is nothing wrong with a 99 in the rain.) Presented by Yasmin Khan Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
08/09/1928m 31s

Taste the Music and Dance

Dan Saladino reports from the Taste The World stage of the world music festival Womad. In 2006 a director of the festival Annie Menter had the idea of asking musicians if they could tell food stories from their home country and cook a dish linked to their food culture. More than a decade on it's become a format that used at Womad events all over the world, providing fascinating and delicious insights into the connections between food and music and the evolution of dishes around the world. Find out what happens when you mix Turkish psychedelia with dumplings and what a Yoik served with Sami bread involves. The artists and their food. Anandi Bhattacharya (Bengal, India) Chicken Rezala. Nimba, (West Africa), Fish in peanut sauce Rura (Scotland) Cullen Skink and Mince and Tatties. Marja Mortensson (Norway) Sami stew with Sami bread. Baba Zula (Turkey) Manti beef dumplings Maija Kauhanen (Finland) Blueberry Pie. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino.
01/09/1928m 19s

Jamie Oliver: A Life Through Food Part II

On the anniversary of TV series 'The Naked Chef', Jamie Oliver talks to Sheila Dillon about two controversial decades dominating food on our TV screens and online, our home cooking, and dining out. In a two-part programme, Jamie describes being propelled into the limelight as 'The Naked Chef'. The charismatic young line chef given an unexpected TV pilot. His decision not to aim for Michelin stars, but to open a training restaurant for young people who wouldn’t have considered a career in catering. From writing his best-selling books, mainly into a dictaphone due to his Dyslexia, to his relationship with the UK press, and his successes and failings working with a succession of UK governments to get the UK eating healthier. Sheila also speaks to Instagram chef Joe Wicks, Netflix chef Samin Nosrat and members of Jamie’s inner team on the influence of the highest grossing British food writer of all time. This is the second part of two programmes on Jamie Oliver's Life Through Food. Part one was broadcast on Sunday 18th August 2019. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury
25/08/1928m 50s

Jamie Oliver: A Life Through Food Part I

On the anniversary of TV series 'The Naked Chef', Jamie Oliver talks to Sheila Dillon about two controversial decades dominating food on our TV screens and online, our home cooking, and dining out. In a two-part programme, Jamie, arguably the UK’s most successful food entrepreneur, reveals where it all went wrong with ill-fated restaurant chain 'Jamie's Italian’; the restaurants were supposed to disrupt mid-market dining, but after more than a decade, the chain collapsed in May. He takes Sheila back to his childhood home, above his dad's Essex pub restaurant where his life in professional kitchens began, clearing up fag ends and polishing urinal pipes. Cooking, the only thing he was “any good at” would propel him into the restaurant scene of 1990s London, and eventually onto our TV screens. This is the first part of two programmes on Jamie Oliver's Life Through Food. Part two will be broadcast on Sunday 25th August 2019. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury
18/08/1928m 47s

Why did the chicken cross the road? How food became more than a comedy punchline

Food has been larking about in comedy since Charlie Chaplin first slipped on a banana skin and made bread rolls dance: but somewhere along the way, it's evolved from the slapstick sidekick to a much more significant comic entertainer... From the disastrous duck at Fawlty Towers, to Fleabag’s calamitous catering efforts – via wry dinner ladies, caravan fry-ups, comedic fried chicken shops and dark food-blogger satire – food has come a long way, baby. It’s no longer a simple prop, but a much-loved theme at the very heart of modern entertainment. In between performances at the renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe, comedian and creative cook George Egg takes us on a journey down the Royal Mile and through the history of culinary comedy; discovering that, as with so much humour, the power of food lies in its normality. And that it’s this everyday appeal that allows food, and comedy, to conjure up safe settings in which to address much bigger issues. Presented by George Egg, produced by Lucy Taylor. Featuring clips from: I'm Alan Partridge: 'A Room with an Alan' Created and written by Peter Baynham, Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci; performed by Steve Coogan. Victoria Wood as Seen on TV: ‘Waitress’ Written by Victoria Wood; performed by Julie Walters. The Return of Mr Bean: ‘Steak Tartare’ Created and written by Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis and Robin Driscoll; performed by Rowan Atkinson and Roger Lloyd-Pack.
11/08/1930m 24s

The Search for Esiah's Seeds

Dan Saladino tells the story Esiah Levy who shared seeds and changed lives. It all started with a squash. Soon after he started to grow his own food he cut open a particularly delicious variety and discovered hundreds of seeds inside. He felt compelled to share them with people so they could enjoy the same experience. So began a mission to encourage anyone who would listen, where ever they lived, whatever their background, to grow their own food. In his spare time and using allotments and his mother’s garden he grew food, built a seed bank and sent seeds around the world through . He created a project called SeedShare to distribute the varieties he selected, from corn to pumpkins, tomatoes to beans to fellow gardeners around the world, He also made friends with other seed savers including Vivien Sansour, a Palestinian woman who had created a seed library to save disappearing crops on the West Bank. When Esiah Levy passed away suddenly and tragically young at the beginning of this year, Vivien set out to find out what had happened to the seeds he had shared and who had planted them. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
04/08/1928m 24s

The BarbeQ'n'A

Rain or shine, the British barbecue is a summer tradition: and we want to help your al fresco feasts go with a bang! Sheila Dillon calls on Genevieve Taylor - a food writer, food stylist and presenter with an affinity for the outdoors that’s led to books including How to Eat Outside, The Ultimate Wood Fired Oven Cookbook and most recently Charred: a guide to vegetarian grilling and barbecue. She's also the host for today's programme, with a garden packed full of more barbecues and outdoor ovens than your could shake a sausage at. Joining Sheila and Genevieve for some flame-grilled fun are Christian Stevenson, otherwise known as DJ BBQ: a presenter and barbecue fanatic with a YouTube channel boasting more than 175-thousand subscribers, whose latest publication - The Burger Book - came out earlier this year; and Samantha Evans, one half of the barbecuing duo The Hang Fire Girls: a pair of friends who took a road trip across America in 2012 which fired their enthusiasm for US-style barbecue, and who now run the hugely popular Hang Fire Southern Kitchen in Barry, Wales. They've also written The Hang Fire Cookbook: Recipes & Adventures in American BBQ. Their mission today isn't just to create a fabulous, inspirational barbecue feast, but to answer all our listeners' grilling questions and help banish boring barbecues for good! Helping them out with a bit of specialist advice are the American author Harold McGee, who wrote the renowned book 'On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen'; the London-based chef, restaurateur and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi; and Jack Adair Bevan, an award-winning food and drink writer, co-author of The Ethicurean Cookbook and more recently author of 'A Spirited Guide to Vermouth: An Aromatic Journey with Botanical Notes, Classic Cocktails and Elegant Recipes'. Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
28/07/1941m 1s

Good Enough for Granny: What's so special about the food our grandmothers cook?

We asked you to tell us stories of meals you remember your grandmothers making. Now Sheila Dillon asks why these dishes - whether delicious or otherwise - stick with us into adulthood. Food writer Alissa Timoshkina shares her Grandparents Siberian recipes which provide the essence for her book 'Salt & Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen'. Blogger Ann Storr reminisces about her grannie's high standards at the table. And we hear from people trying to preserve age old recipes, before they disappear for good. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
21/07/1928m 33s

Is There A Perfect Diet Just For You? The Future of Personalised Nutrition

Dan Saladino takes part in a gruelling nutrition study to work out what to eat. Founded by Professor Tim Spector "Predict" is one of the biggest food and diet studies ever devised. A technological revolution means it is now possible to monitor large groups of people as they eat food. With this accumulation of 'big data' and the use of Artificial Intelligence it's also becoming increasingly possible to personalise nutritional advice. Dan spends two weeks on the study, being tested and scanned as he eats specially formulated muffins, drinks and meals, all designed to test his response to fats and carbs. At the end of the tough eating regime, Tim Spector gives him some good and bad news about his relationship with different foods. Dan also speaks to Professor Eric Topol, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in California and the author of Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. He believes this more individualised approach to nutrition will soon create the biggest shift we've seen in modern medicine. In the future our phones, watches and smart speakers will be providing increasingly detailed information about how and what we should eat. To get even more of his own personalised nutrition advice Dan has his gut microbiome tested by a company called Atlas Biomed. The microbiome is the collection of trillions of bacteria inside all of us that we now know exerts a big influence on our health. The lead researcher at Atlas Biomed Dmitry Alexeev tells Dan what (or perhaps who) is inside his gut and what this might mean for his future health. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino.
14/07/1928m 41s

Playing with Food: The world of video game gastronomy

Dan Saladino embarks on an epic quest into a world of food-filled computer games, to find out how and why foraging, cooking and eating have become such important components of the genre. Food has taken on a major role in many modern games - not only in terms of beautiful, Instagram-worthy designs bringing dishes to life on screen, but also food-related quests and story-lines - and even game-based recipe books inspiring players to cook their favourite on-screen meals. And even if you don't play these games yourself, the technology behind such virtual vittles could have a significant impact on how and what we eat in future. In between battling monsters in huge open-world fantasy adventures such as Elder Scrolls Online, and trying to beat the clock in the cooperative kitchen-based stress-fest Overcooked 2, Dan speaks to games enthusiasts and developers to find out more. He even finds time to do a little game-inspired cooking himself... Presented by Dan Saladino. Produced by Lucy Taylor.
07/07/1929m 10s

Can Anyone Learn To Cook? - A Life Through Food with Samin Nosrat

Netflix chef and author of 'Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat', Samin Nosrat says anyone can learn to cook delicious food. Samin shares a life of food memories with Sheila Dillon. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
30/06/1928m 49s

Baking in the Nordics: The Bread Adventures of Chef Magnus Nilsson

Magnus Nilsson takes Dan Saladino on a Nordic baking tour. For a nearly a decade Magnus, who is one of the world's most celebrated chefs, travelled through the region (which includes Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and the Faroe Islands) and reached an important and controversial conclusion. He argues that the Nordics has the most diverse and the deepest baking culture in the world today. His research resulted in a hefty tome, The Nordic Baking Book (Phaidon), full of more 700 of the thousands of recipes he discovered when he visited cooks in their homes. Why the world's most diverse baking culture? Magnus's reasoning is that because the region covers such a vast geographical area and its population is spread out across remote villages, information spread slowly historically. This includes recipes and so a huge amount of diversity can still be found in these isolated pockets. When it comes the depth of the baking culture, Magnus points to the fact that fresh yeast is so ubiquitous in the Nordic countries, you can often buy a packet from a newsagents or convenience store. I also has some dramatic climatic extremes, as summer starts to arrive in one area, there can be snow and ice in another. This means that while wheat can be grown in one location, only barley, rye or oats might only be possible in another. Again, this adds to the richness of its baking culture. To illustrate this Magnus takes Dan to a communal oven set in a remote farmhouse in northern Sweden to show how families gather once or twice a year to make flatbreads with barley and rye, a speciality of an area called Jamtland. Meanwhile, another kind of diversity is flourishing in the region's fields with the rediscovery and revival of ancient grains. Farmer Fintan Keenan describes some of the old (but new) varieties; what they taste like and why they might prove to be important for all of our food futures. Presented by Dan Saladino.
23/06/1928m 58s

The BBC Food & Farming Awards 2019: Second Course

The winners of the BBC Food & Farming Awards 19 are revealed at a ceremony in Bristol. In part two, Jamie Oliver reveals the winner of the inaugral Pat Llewellyn New Talent award. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
16/06/1929m 2s

The Food & Farming Awards 2019: First Course

The winners of the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2019 are revealed at a glittering ceremony in Bristol. In the first course of the 2019 awards story, Sheila Dillon is joined by food industry experts including Angela Hartnett, Matt Tebbutt, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Andi Oliver - to celebrate the cooks, shop keepers, farmers, producers, entrepreneurs and food pioneers who make up this year's finalists. The first instalment of our awards coverage features Best Food Producer, Best Drinks Producer, Best Street Food or Takeaway and Best Shop or Market. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor
16/06/1924m 54s

Ten Good Things

With days to go before we learn who the winners are of the 2019 BBC Food & Farming Awards Dan Saladino looks at the remaining food and drink ideas on this year's shortlist. Drinks writer Alice Lascelles guides us through the drinks makers; an experimental brewer from Leeds, a distiller based on the east coast of Scotland and a cider and perry producer from Herefordshire. Genevieve Taylor describes the street food offer this year, including a pie shop team who bake in the shadow of Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium and a fish and chip shop in Nottingham run by a former chef. Barney Desmazery explains the finalists in the inaugural Pat Llewellyn Award set up to recognise young talent in the food world, including two young doctors working to increase the amount of nutrition training in their profession and a young entrepreneur who has devised an ingenious solution to food waste in restaurants. Presented by Dan Saladino.
10/06/1927m 44s

Faith, Fasting and Feasting – A Ramadan Special

As Ramadan 2019 draws to a close, many British Muslim reach the culmination of a month of fasting during daylight hours. But that doesn't mean that food is forgotten. On the contrary... In this programme, food writer Yasmin Khan celebrates the social, cultural and culinary rituals of Ramadan, the most holy month in the Islamic calendar. She speaks to comedian Tez Ilyas about celebrations with family and friends and a very memorable 'Happy Eid cake'. And in Bristol, Yasmin joins thousands of people coming together for a 'Grand Iftar', a vast street party of Muslims and non-Muslims, who have come together to share a meal with their neighbours once the sun goes down. Presented by Yasmin Khan Produced by Clare Salisbury
02/06/1928m 39s

An Education: Life lessons through food

Genevieve Taylor sets out to meet a few of this year's BBC Food and Farming Awards finalists, and hear how learning about food has changed their lives for the better. The first stop is Liberty Kitchen - a finalist in the Best Street Food or Takeaway category. This social enterprise operates at Pentonville Prison, where inmates produce a diverse range of 'street balls', including classic Italian meatballs, macaroni cheese balls and veggies balls; these are then sold at London street food markets. Genevieve visits the bustling prison kitchen with founder Janet Boston, before checking out the Liberty Kitchen stall at Leather Lane market in Clerkenwell - and hears overwhelming praise from current and ex-inmates involved in the scheme, who say it's giving them hope of employment post-prison. Next up, Genevieve checks in with Food and Farming Awards judges for the Cook of the Year category: Jeanette Orrey, co-founder of the educational initiative Food For Life, and Paula McIntyre, a cook, food writer and lecturer. They've been to the Moray region of Scotland, to visit finalist Logie Primary: a rural school with just 28 pupils. Although it's small, this primary school’s making a mark with a food-focused social enterprise that’s teaching pupils food and kitchen skills, and at the same time bringing together the local community. The school's older pupils launched the Cup of Joy Community Cafe two years ago, using vegetables grown in their school allotment and eggs from the school chickens; today, it's not only teaching them valuable nutrition and life skills but providing a hub for this rural community. Our final stop is London, where the judges for this years’ Pat Llewellyn New Talent Award - Ben Adler, whose late wife Pat inspired the award; and Barney Desmazery, food editor at large for BBC Good Food magazine - have been to Ealing to join the team behind Fat Macy’s supper club: a dining experience with a difference… The kitchen and front-of-house team are all homeless people currently living in hostels. The founder Meg Doherty launched the project three years ago, as a way to give people in temporary accommodation an opportunity to learn new skills, while earning enough money to get them back into the housing system. Presented by Genevieve Taylor; produced by Lucy Taylor.
26/05/1928m 44s

Stranded! How to eat on a desert island.

Dan Saladino arrives on a beach for a Robinson Crusoe experience. Will he be able to survive on wild food? Chef Gill Meller and foragers John Wright and Monica Wilde lend their expertise. This castaway coastal feast is something of a tribute to the 300th anniversary of the publication of Daniel Defoe's novel, a story itself inspired by the experience of a Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk who in 1705 survived for four years on a remote and uninhabited island in the Pacific. Selkirk survived on wild cabbages, shellfish and goat meat, Dan and his forager friends try and recreate something of the sailor's desert island menu. But during their expedition an unexpected guest arrives on the beach, a real life, modern day Robinson Crusoe. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
19/05/1928m 24s

What makes an excellent food producer?

What does it take to produce delicious food of the highest quality in the UK in 2019? This year, it was the turn of chef, food writer, BBC TV presenter, and this year's head judge in the BBC Food and Farming Awards Angela Hartnett to find out. In this programme, Angela and Sheila Dillon spend a day with each of the finalists in the Best Food Producer category. Together, they visit three farms, in Cornwall, Herefordshire and Cumbria. Among the dedicated people they meet are Tanya the 'Duck Dabbler', a woman whose expertise in duck rearing are sought far and wide, Ed the 'first-time' farmer, working slowly and sustainably in the Black Mountains, and Martin whose dedication to making cheese extends even to the starter cultures themselves. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury
12/05/1928m 15s

Feeding the High Street: Are food shops the answer?

At a time when shops are closing across the country, we visit three food retail businesses that are bucking the trend. Levenshulme Market in Greater Manchester, A Small Good Thing in Bolton and Squash in Liverpool are all making a positive impact in their communities Sheila Dillon meets entrepreneur John Timpson to find out what this could tell us about the future of our high streets. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Siobhan Maguire
05/05/1927m 36s

How reassuring are food assurance labels?

Food assurance labels come in all sorts of forms, appearing on all sorts of ingredients available from shops across the UK. Their logos promise certified standards in a range of production attributes - from environmental impact to animal welfare to safety to chemical usage. But how well are these schemes understood? What does the general public really want to be assured about? How much impact can assurance labels have, in a world where we're eating more and more processed food? And what could such schemes contribute to a post-Brexit UK food system? Sheila Dillon is joined by an expert panel to discuss some of the questions around food assurance labels: Dr Siobhan Mullan, a Senior Research Fellow in Farm Animal Science at the University of Bristol Veterinary School, who's currently helping to develop a new food standard, the Global Federation of Higher Animal Welfare Assurance; Erik Millstone, a Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex, whose work focuses on how we structure our food system; and Phil Brooke the Research and Education Manager at the animal welfare lobbying organisation Compassion in World Farming - which has an ongoing 'Honest Labelling' campaign. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Lucy Taylor
28/04/1928m 37s

Top Banana: The Future of the World's Most Popular Fruit

Dan Saladino meets the scientists working on the future of a truly global food, the banana.
21/04/1927m 25s

How to Start a Food Revolution: The Food Adventures of Claus Meyer

Can you reinvent a food culture? Dan Saladino meets a man who did, Denmark's Claus Meyer, the co-founder of Noma, one of the world's most influential restaurants. From there he went to Bolivia and set up a restaurant to rescue lost foods of the Andes and Amazon, and onto New York where he founded a cooking school in a neighbourhood with some of the worst levels of food related illness in America. So what is he now doing in Newport, South Wales. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino. (Photo: Stephan Gamillscheg)
15/04/1928m 49s

Tipping Point: Time to Rethink the Service Charge?

Should you leave a cash tip or is card just as good, do you prefer a service charge or would you get rid of tipping altogether? Sheila Dillon finds out when she meets the co-founder of Hawksmoor Restaurants William Beckett to talk about our attitude to tipping in the UK and how it varies from city to city. Peter Davies of WMT Accountants describes how high-profile scandals have dented our trust in tipping and Alex Wrethman of the Charlotte Group of restaurants explains how that could be hurting businesses now. Sheila then draws on examples from the US where Saru Jayaraman is President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centre. Jayaraman explains how the system in many states has forced workers to rely on tips to earn the minimum wage and been a cause of poverty and sexual harassment. We hear from the poet Jan Beatty about waiting tables in the US for 15 years and then look at one of the most forward-thinking tipping models in the world, dreamed up by restaurateur Danny Meyer who founded New York’s Union Square Cafe and Gramercy, and ask whether it could be rolled out in the UK. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Tom Bonnett
08/04/1928m 22s

Life of Pie

One September Ella Risbridger tried to kill herself. She survived and left the hospital thinking about making a pie. When she got home, her partner persuaded her to make the pie, and it set Ella on a course to teach herself to cook. And in teaching herself to cook, she has taught herself to live. This is a programme about pies. The pork pie of Pete Brown and his ‘soon-to-be-wife’ Liz’s first date in Barnsley market. The pies that Julie Jones made with her mother which helped to keep her calm after a dementia diagnosis. Pies crafted by chef Calum Franklin, inspired by the surroundings of his London childhood, and pies creating a new future for young Preston businessman Robert D'Orville. Sheila Dillon travels to hear these stories, and uncovers a pie story of her own. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
31/03/1929m 2s

Would you let a robot cook you dinner?

Robots are building burgers, stretching dough in pizzerias and cooking up a media storm. Soon, they could deliver our groceries, invent recipes using machine learning and cook in our homes with arms dangling down either side of our stoves. But should they and what will this mean for the future of everyone that works in the food industry? Sheila Dillon talks to the inventor of the Moley Robotic Kitchen and the chef who taught it to cook crab bisque, MasterChef winner Tim Anderson. Find out how Tim felt being immortalised in cyber cooking history, how IBM and McCormick Flavour Solutions could be concocting a recipe for your next meal and hear whether The Guardian journalist John Harris and restaurant workers' rights activist Saru Jayaraman think robots are ushering the end of work for millions of us or could be liberating us to a life of more fulfilling careers. Producer: Tom Bonnett
24/03/1928m 38s

Delicious and Endangered: The Story of Bluefin Tuna

Dan Saladino travels from Brixham to Tokyo in search of Bluefin tuna. In recent months there have been more sightings of the endangered fish in British waters but does that mean we can eat them? The Bluefin is the rarest, most valuable and at risk of the seven tuna species found around the world. Found in three main stocks around the world, in the Pacific, Southern and Atlantic Oceans, some populations of the fish have declined by more than 97 per cent. The vast majority of these large, fast and magnificent predators end up being auctioned in Japan where they are prized by sushi chefs. Dan looks at the past, present and possible future of our relationship with the Bluefin Tuna, hearing how its numbers fell into decline in the latter half of the twentieth century and why there are hopes for its recovery in years to come. He travels to Tokyo to witness the tuna auctions at which some single fish have fetched prices as high as £2.5 million and finds out what led to its appeal in Asia. Chef Mitch Tonks describes his own experience of Bluefin, both as a fish he's watched hunting along the UK's southern coast and as a food he's eaten in Japanese sushi bars. Professor or Marine Conservation Callum Roberts explains how we should react to the increased sightings in the Atlantic, and a police investigator describes how criminal networks are also targeting the Bluefin trade. For the fascinating tale of how Bluefin tuna came to be so important in Japanese food culture Dan talks to Trevor Corson, author of The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice. Presenter: Dan Saladino
17/03/1928m 20s

A different kind of S.W.A.T team

10 years ago, Randeep Singh and his colleagues had a moment of realisation. More than 200 people in their immediate local community were living without a home. They were hidden from normal life, living beneath bridges or in refuse collection rooms. Together, they decided they could do something to help them, and they begun a project cooking hot meals and sourcing food donations. Their volunteer base grew and by 2012, they'd helped many of the people off the streets. But they didn't stop there. Nishkam S.W.A.T (Sikh Welfare & Awareness Team) was only in it's infancy. A decade on, Randeep and his central team now co-ordinate a fleet of vans, and more than 1000 volunteers, who gather several times a week to provide food and drinks, health services and support at locations across the country and the world. The project comes from the Sikh concept of 'Langar', a volunteer run kitchen found in Sikh temples, and inspired by the message of Guru Nanak. But this is food for anyone who needs it. In this programme, chef Romy Gill cooks with some of the volunteers, and becomes part of the S.W.A.T team serving people in central London. She hears how volunteers have gravitated towards the project, inspired by the difference the project is making, and meets people coming to eat. Presented by Romy Gill. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
10/03/1928m 7s

Why is CBD on everyone's lips?

CBD Gummies, CBD croissants, CBD coffee, CBD pesto, CBD beer... CBD is everywhere. Presenter Charlotte Smith tells the story of how this oil from cannabis that doesn’t get you high is becoming the biggest buzzword in food and drink from its beginnings in the US with the legalisation of medical cannabis through to the proliferation of products on the market today that claim to help with everything from pain to public speaking. Can it live up to the hype? Charlotte heads to the UK's first cannabis-infused restaurant, Brighton's Canna Kitchen, to try it for herself. Producer: Tom Bonnett
04/03/1927m 55s

The Secret Life of Spaghetti

Dan Saladino looks at our long and tangled relationship with spaghetti. Both carbs and meat are under scrutiny and Mintel, which monitors consumer behaviour around the world, says we're eating less pasta. With that in mind Dan explore the past, present and future of a much loved British classic, Spaghetti Bolognese. Food historian Polly Russell uses the British Library's archives to help plot Britain's love affair with pasta, and goes in search of some of the earliest references and recipes for 'spag bol'. The food writer Daniel Young of Young and Foodish takes Dan on a tour of spaghetti history with lunch at The River Café, not the world famous restaurant but a traditional British café of the same name run by an Italian family who arrived in London in the 1950s. Spag Bol has been on their menu for nearly half a century. Meanwhile Dan's dad Liborio, who arrived in the UK in the mid 1960s finds out if his Britalian style spaghetti Bolognese sauce has enough to impress Giorgio Locatelli. The historian, John Dickie, author of Delizia, explains how making a television series for Italian television, Eating History (for SBS Food), led him to the world's first ever pasta factory. Dan also visits Italy's biggest pasta factory, owned by the Barilla family, where miles of the 'Spaghetti No.5' shape flows off the production line. Jacob Kennedy, chef and owner of Bocca di Lupo, together with Daniel Young, help Dan stage a pasta pop-up event at which the authentic Tagliatelle al Ragu Bolognese is pitched against a 1960s style Spag Bol. Have British eaters become too sophisticated for the home grown and will they vote for authentic Italian tradition instead? If this programme doesn't make you want to sit down to a big bowl of pasta and ragu, nothing will!
25/02/1928m 3s

Should I boycott palm oil?

You will have heard of palm oil... but do you really know why? Possibly the things that come to mind are orangutans, deforestation. Perhaps you know that most of it is grown in Malaysia and Indonesia? Maybe you were aware of the frozen food specialist Iceland's very public decision to avoid using it in it’s own brand products? In this programme Sheila Dillon delves into the complicated world of palm oil. She hears how the fat made from the fruit of the oil palm has become the world's most used vegetable oil. She speaks to environmentalists, and food producers about the environmental and social impacts the growth of the industry is having worldwide. And hears why avoiding palm oil completely might not be the simple solution that it sounds. We're making this programme, because so many of you have written to us asking whether you should avoid palm oil, so we help to shed some light. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury
17/02/1928m 37s

Curry house crisis... where are the women?

The British Asian restaurant sector says it's suffering the consequence of major staff shortages. Many high street takeaways and curry houses are facing closure. While restaurants search for a solution, some are questioning whether enough is being done to encourage women into traditionally male dominated kitchens. And whether if they could, this might be part of the solution. In this programme Sheila Dillon meets pioneers of British Asian cooking. Chef Romy Gill MBE, one of the first Indian women to own and run her restaurant 'Romy's Kitchen' near Bristol. Winner of BBC One's Masterchef Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, whose multi-faceted career takes in cheffing, food writing, raising children and working as a doctor. Asma Khan, soon to be the first British restauranteur on the Emmy nominated Netflix series 'Chef's Table'. Takeaway chef Salina Ahmed, finalist in the British Takeaway awards for her cooking at 'Sizzlers' in Winchester. And Rakesh Ravindran Nair, Group Development and Training Chef at the Cinnamon Club in London. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
10/02/1927m 59s

Who are the new generation shaking up the food system?

Who are the new voices pushing for change in the food system? Sheila Dillon hears from Alice Thompson of Social Bite, a charity that distributes over 100,000 hot drinks and meals to Scotland’s most vulnerable people every year from its sandwich shops and every Monday afternoon they invite people experiencing homelessness to their restaurant Vesta for a free sit-down two-course meal. Sheila also meets Ben Adler who was the husband of TV producer Pat Llewellyn who made stars of the Two Fat Ladies and Gordon Ramsay and launched Jamie Oliver's TV career. Pat died of metastatic breast cancer in October 2017 and we hear from Jamie Oliver about his memories of Pat and what made her so good at nurturing new talent. To honour the impact Pat had on the food industry the Food and Farming Awards is launching a Pat Llewellyn New Talent Award. It will see Ben and his co-judge Barney Desmazery, Senior Food Editor at BBC Good Food, on the search for fresh voices in the food system who could be campaigners, innovative cooks and people taking a different approach to a food or drinks business. To understand more about the types of people they might be looking for they met one of the strongest but lesser-known voices in the food system today. At Where The Light Gets In restaurant in Stockport they met founder Sam Buckley who is taking a new approach to every facet of running a restaurant with unflinching principles when it comes to responsibility for his staff and for the environment. We also hear from last year's Food and Farming Awards winner Kimberley Bell and our Future Food Award judges entrepreneur William Kendall and the Oxford Cultural Collective's Don Sloan meet Safia Qureshi who is building an alternative to disposable cups with her business CupClub. Producer: Tom Bonnett
03/02/1928m 45s

What does a no-deal Brexit mean for our food?

With just over 60 days before we're set to leave the EU Dan Saladino gathers thoughts along the food supply chain, from farmers and retailers to exporters and so called "preppers", on the prospects of a no deal Brexit. The likes of the British Retail Consortium, which represents the major supermarkets, and the Food and Drink Federation, which speaks on behalf of the biggest processors and producers in the UK have voiced their concerns that a "no deal" and more disruptive Brexit could mean significant delays importing food into the UK. For this reason their members have been stockpiling supplies to prevent disruption for customers. However, as farmer Guy Watson explains, we are entering the so called hungry gap, meaning that by March 29th we'll be supplying very little of our own fruit and veg. Businesses such as his, the Riverford box scheme, will instead be depending on fresh produce brought in from Italy and Spain. He believes more than four days of disruption could wipe out his profits, and two weeks of delays could bankrupt the business. Meanwhile other members of the farming community believe we should stay focused on the idea that food benefits will come from Brexit, whilst others are convinced trading under World Trade Organisation terms will provide us with plenty of new options for imports. Dan travels along the supply chain to hear a range of different views on what the next few weeks might hold as farmers, food producers and retailers wait for the stalemate in Westminster to end.
27/01/1929m 3s

The one where we talk about deep fried Mars Bars

Deep frying our food is a fast efficient way of cooking and it's not new.The ancient Greeks staged comedies involving frying pans. The Romans fried fish in copious amounts of oil. But these days deep frying often gets a bad press. British chip shops compete to create ever more outrageous deep fried dishes. Deep fried chocolate orange anyone? American state fairs hold extreme deep frying competitions involving butter and cookies. And in the west of Scotland the 'munchie box' is a fearsome thing to behold. Rachel McCormack explores different cultures' approach to deep frying asking why in Britain it's often regarded as unhealthy and lower class, whilst in Italy and Spain fritto misto has its place in a balanced healthy diet. Producer: Maggie Ayre
20/01/1927m 32s

Feeding the Falklands

Would you buy a pineapple for £15? The Falkland Islands provides much of the squid we eat in Europe. And they can produce more lamb and beef than they could possibly eat. But some food - like fruit - is not so easy to get hold of. Gerard Baker meets islanders to discover how a remote community meets the challenge of providing a varied diet. Producer: Chris Ledgard
13/01/1927m 47s

Dog's Dinner

Premium pet food has become big business. In the past year, loving dog owners in the UK spent 379 million pounds on posh nosh for their pooches. What's more, more and more of us are seeking out humanised doggie dining experiences as well... Accompanied by her faithful canine co-host Gertie - a five-year-old rescue dog who is totally Zen until the postman calls - Sheila Dillon asks whether this is this new dog food focus is in our pet's best interest - or whether we're simply imposing our own food values on our canine companions? Sheila visits Butternut Box - a food box delivery service creating nutritionally balanced meals delivered to the door, for dogs; hears from Glossop butcher John Mettrick who's launched a side-line making raw pet food; learns what goes into a high-end brunch for pampered pooches, at M Restaurant in London; and meets Agnes, a vegan dog-owner who's dog has also been vegan for nearly a decade. Produced by Lucy Taylor.
07/01/1928m 2s

Weak, small and free: How no and low alcohol is finding power without strength

As people cut down and cut out booze, no and low alcohol drinks are pouring onto the market. Brewer Jaega wise explores this show against strength that's shaking up alcohol sector. Jane Peyton from the School of Booze puts on a tasting session at London's first no alcohol bar Redemption and there Jaega and Jane meet Laura Willoughby and Jussi Tolvi, founders of a mindful drinking movement called Club Soda. Jaega heads to Small Beer where they're reviving the tradition of weak beers that before water purification were drunk by everyone, even school children. She visits Nirvana, a low alcohol and zero alcohol brewery in Leyton, East London, and talks bubbling apothecary with Ben Branson from non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip. Producer: Tom Bonnett
30/12/1828m 38s

Nigella Lawson: A Life Through Food

"I am not a chef. I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater." So writes Nigella Lawson in the preface to her first book 'How To Eat', published 20 years ago. In this programme, Nigella shares the food memories, the dishes and flavours which have shaped her life. Being taught to cook by a mother with eating disorder, balancing a career in journalism with cooking for young children, what food means when you lose those closest to you, and how navigating a rise to food-icon status sometimes feels like joining the circus. When food writer Diana Henry read 'How To Eat' for the first time, it was on a rainy afternoon after the birth of her first child. Nigella's recipes got Diana back into the kitchen and when she said so in a recent article, she realised the electric influence Nigella has had on home cooks all around the world. Now Diana joins Nigella at home in the kitchen to talk life, death, and roast chicken. Marmite sandwiches to 'Steak Mirabeau', grouse to goose fat to Christmas "goddess". This is Nigella in her own words. Presented by Diana Henry Produced by Clare Salisbury
25/12/1834m 38s

The Changing World of Chocolate

Presenter Charlotte Smith puts down her beloved Kit Kat to discover a world of rich, bitter and often rather pricey chocolate as she explores how small producers and big manufacturers are adapting to demands for less sugar and less dairy but hopefully not less fun. She asks what this means for growers and for us when we pick up a bar for a pick me up.
16/12/1828m 31s

Sweet Chestnuts

Rachel Roddy and Sheila Dillon share their love of Sweet Chestnuts and find out how they're for so much more than just roasting over an open fire. Like a lot of people Rachel's first memories of Chestnuts is as stuffing for turkey, but when she moved to Rome in 2005 where there was a Chestnut seller on every corner she embraced Chestnuts as an ingredient. She and Sheila discuss the soups, cakes and stews that are made using Chestnuts and how for one restaurant-owner they're a hero ingredient which saved a population from starvation. Fabio Parasecoli, Professor of Food Studies at the New York University explains why Chestnuts were so important to the Italian region of Abruzzo and how he still makes his Grandmother's Chestnut and Chickpea soup on Christmas Eve. Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust in Dartington sells 750Kg of Chestnuts a season and explains why he would like UK producers to challenge the imports from Italy, France, Portugal and increasingly, China, and Simon Melik from Besana UK gives an overview on the industry. Producer: Toby Field
09/12/1828m 31s

Cookbooks of 2018

Sheila Dillon is joined by cook and food-writer Chetna Makan, Tom Tivnan from The Bookseller’—the book industry’s bible, and Kate Young who won the Guild of Food Writers Blogger of the Year award in 2017 discuss the cookbooks of 2018. The list includes books by Diana Henry, Caroline Eden, Thom Eagle, Bosh!, Yasmin Khan and Snoop Doggy Dogg. They also discuss the inspiration for writing a book, how the books are produced, and the role social media plays in deciding who gets a book deal and how the books are produced and marketed. Rachel Roddy also gives her favourites of the year. There are also nominations from Mitch Tonks, Olia Hercules, Russell Norman, Bee Wilson and Paula McIntyre. Producer: Toby Field
02/12/1828m 39s

The Food and Medicine Debate

Food as part of a prescription for health and wellbeing. What has gone wrong with our diets in the UK and how are doctors and experts trying to redress the balance to get us well again. Sheila Dillon and a group of food, diet and medical experts continue the discussion with contributions from Dr Rangan Chatterjee, BBC's Doctor In The House, Professor Tim Spector author of the Diet Myth, Henry Dimbleby who drew up the School Food Plan and Dr Rupy Aujla, founder of the Dr's Kitchen. Producer: Maggie Ayre
25/11/1828m 29s

The Big Carb Debate

The Food Programme invites a panel of four to discuss the merits of a low versus high carbohydrate diet. Following up on the issues raised in discussing the government's dietary advice in the Eatwell Guide a panel including Duane Mellor of the University of Coventry, Fiona Godlee of the British Medical Journal, Dr Trudi Deakin and Anthony Warner aka the Angry Chef try to answer some of the questions and bust some of the myths about carbohydrates. Producer: Maggie Ayre
18/11/1828m 23s

Cambodia's Forgotten Food

Food writer, chef and presenter Genevieve Taylor tells the story of how Cambodia’s cooking history was almost lost in the genocide that saw millions die in the mid-1970s. While food from its neighbours Thailand and Vietnam was spreading all over the world, Cambodia’s finest dishes were side-lined or lost. In the UK, there are just three restaurants focussing on Cambodian cuisine. Now, slowly but surely its traditional dishes are making a comeback. Genevieve goes to Cambodia in search of the ingredients that make up its distinct flavours and in the UK she talks to Y Sok who runs two Cambodia restaurants in Marple and Altrincham, she meets Simon and Kamya Allen from the Khmer Kitchen in Somerset and she hears the story of Longteine de Monteiro, a chef who fled the Khmer Rouge regime and set up Cambodian restaurants in France and the US.
12/11/1828m 8s

How Instagram changed food

How Instagram changed food - with journalist George Reynolds and Anissa Helou, the author of Feast. Plus @pleesecakes reveals the secrets to 147k followers in just 18 months; @felicityspector on whether she's an influencer or not; top chefs at Aquavit on why Instagram is a window onto the world; and @wildfoodcafe on just keeping it real. The photo above was taken by Matt Inwood who runs masterclasses on taking better photos on your phone. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde
06/11/1827m 59s

May Contain Nuts

Following the recent high-profile cases involving food allergy deaths, Bee Wilson investigates whether labelling needs to go further to protect allergy sufferers. Bee asks if the growing number of people suffering from food allergies could be due to our diet and finds out how food production and labelling might change following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who had a severe allergic reaction to Sesame after eating a baguette from Pret a Manger. Bee speaks to Michelle Berriedale-Johnson and Professor Chris Elliott about the state of current food regulations and the frustrations of the 'May Contain...' label. Dr Adam Fox and dietitian Lucy Upton talk through the probable causes of food allergies and why they're increasingly prevalent in young people. Bee visits Vita Mojo whose use of digital menus offers their customers pinpoint accurate information about which potential allergens are in which dish. Kerrie Foy describes the shock of discovering that her daughter Bluebell may have a peanut allergy and describes how it's turned their lives upside down. Producer: Toby Field
28/10/1828m 39s

A Vintage Year for Homegrown Wine

After the summer heatwave, Master of Wine Susie Barrie meets winemakers bringing in what could be a watershed harvest for homegrown wine. On a tour of the south of England she visits Peter Hall who's been making wine for 40 years in his isolated Breaky Bottom vineyard in East Sussex. Just down the road we visit sparkling wine makers Nyetimber and Ridgeview, we get a lesson in winemaking from Sarah Midgley at Plumpton College and then to Frazer Thompson of Chapel Down in Kent and Patrick McGrath of Hatch Mansfield in Ascot who helped Champagne Taittinger plant vines in the UK.
21/10/1828m 23s

The C Word

Foxwhelp, cat's head, sheep's nose, hen's turd, yellow willy .... did you know there are over 200 varieties of cider apple? Jaega Wise of Wild Card brewery knows her beer and hops, but not so much her apple types. With cider production in full autumnal flow, Jaega visits three very different cider makers - Gospel Green, Westons and Pulpt - to discover that there is no such thing as the typical cider drink. With cunning insights from the moustachioed ciderologist Gabe Cook, this is the programme for everyone who has tried a little scrumpy but really needs a refresher course. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde
14/10/1828m 13s

How to Feed a Fresher

It’s fresher’s week, and all over the country students are settling in to their new digs, frantically buying kettles, figuring out the microwave settings and stocking up on beans. Or are they? We all know the stereotypes about what university students eat – it’s all burnt toast and ready-meals, late night take-aways and instant ramen, right? Well, perhaps not. When chef and food writer Lope Ariyo was at university, she adored cooking. Whether it was keeping herself fuelled for late-night study sessions, or rustling up a big warming dinner for her and her housemates, cooking and eating were a huge part of the university experience. Now, Lope is taking a look at what this year’s freshers are eating, how they learn to cook, and dispelling the myth that they’re all permanently teetering on the brink of food poisoning. Presented by Lope Ariyo, and produced in Bristol by Emily Knight.
07/10/1827m 30s

The Meat-Free Meat Movement

Meat-free meat is having a moment. As more and more people move to a plant-based diet the range of steaks, burgers, hams - almost any meat product you can think of is available without the meat. Usually when we think of vegan and vegetarian dishes we expect them to be relatively healthy. Are these foods healthy? Are they trying to be? Vegan cook and YouTube star Rachel Ama tries to find out as she visits Club Mexicana, where the meat is meat-free. She goes to Zionly Manna Rastafarian vegan restaurant, run by Jahson Peat; she finds Renee's vegan Caribbean kitchen and the Deli Jerk Centre at Notting Hill Carnival; she talks to CEO of Quorn Kevin Brennan, Caroline Chin of Loon Fung Oriental Supermarket in Chinatown and nutritionists Laura Thomas and Helen Ford. Producer: Tom Bonnett
01/10/1828m 42s

Stories for a harvest moon

Stories of harvest from around the UK to celebrate the autumn equinox and the passing of the summer. Presented by Andi Oliver Produced by Siobhan Maguire and Clare Salisbury
25/09/1827m 56s

Rowley Leigh: A Life Through Food

Rowley Leigh, to many the "godfather" of modern British cooking tells his story to Dan Saladino. Along the way he cooks the perfect omelette and shares the secrets of great pasta. After dropping out of university at the end of the 1960s, Rowley Leigh says he was a young and lost soul. Desperate for cash he applied for a job cooking burgers and immediately fell in love with restaurants and kitchens. It took him to Le Gavroche and an apprenticeship under the Roux brothers. Armed with that classical training and a curiosity for British ingredients and flavours he helped launch the British food renaissance of the 1980s. In Kensington Place he created one of the most talked about dining rooms in British restaurant history. He is also a writer and so he takes Dan Saladino through some of the recipe highlights of his two decades worth of columns at The Financial Times. Expect the perfect omelette, some great spaghetti and one of the simplest vegetable dishes you could probably add to your own repertoire. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
16/09/1827m 43s

The carnivore's guide to meat and fire

Meat, drink, fire and bands - every year top chefs gather in London for a hearty celebration that has become a carnivore's delight. Tim Hayward arrived fork in hand to see if there is any substance to the Meatopia craze. Lennox Hastie, 'Lord Logs' Mark Parr and the Hang Fire Barbecue Girls are among the names he interviews, while Genevieve Taylor reveals how easy it is to cook on fire back home. With music from Charlie Mingus, Wendy Rene and Fats Waller. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.
11/09/1828m 32s

Label This!

Sheila Dillon investigates the world of food and drink labelling; what has to go on, what doesn't, how we got here - and where things might be going. A complex legislative framework has built up over many years in the UK - Sheila looks at the shape of today's labelling regulations, seeks to demystify some of the terms, and asks where things might mislead or confuse. On her journey Sheila goes down a rabbit hole, reveals some labelling surprises - and makes use of a time machine. Her guide is Vitti Allender, who teaches food law at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The programme also features author and professor of religion Alan Levinovitz, Sue Davies who advises on food for the consumer rights organisation Which?, professor of food safety at Queen's University Belfast Chris Elliott who wrote a high-profile report on the UK's horsemeat scandal, Investigations Manager at the Advertising Standards Authority Jessica Tye, and wine importer and writer Doug Wregg. The podcast and Monday broadcast of this edition also features Dan Charles, food and agriculture correspondent for NPR, on the controversy around the labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the USA. The podcast is an extended version of this programme. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
02/09/1833m 59s

Seeds: a 400-million-year-old food story

Dan Saladino and food historian Polly Russell share stories of seeds as told at this year's Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. From the link between amaranth and cannibalism to edible acorns. Founded in 1981 the Symposium takes a theme and invites scientists, anthropologists, historians, cooks and food enthusiasts to deliver papers and share experiences on the topic. This year they chose one of the biggest subjects possible, seeds. Using the Oxford Botanic Garden's "Plants That Changed The World" display as their backdrop, Dan and Polly have selected six speakers to provide insight into the past, present and future of seeds, from politics to pleasure and from culture to cooking. Professor Simon Hiscock, Director of The Oxford Botanic Garden, starts of by explaining what a seed is and when they first appeared in earth history. Over millions of years biodiversity has meant we've so far identified 400,000 different plants. Elinor Breman of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank explains why a team of seed hunters have been travelling to the most remote parts of the world in search of seeds. As Elinor explains, a fifth of these seeds are at risk of becoming extinct and need to be stored safely for the future. All seeds have a story to tell and one of the most intriguing (and disturbing) is told by food historian David Sutton, "Amaranth: Food of the Gods, or Seed of the Devil?". Meanwhile Steve Jones of the Washington Bread Lab describes his efforts to bring deliciousness back to wheat. Produced by Dan Saladino. Presented by Dan Saladino & Polly Russell.
26/08/1828m 40s

There's More to Mangoes

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of varieties of mango. Some creamy and sweet, some a bit hot, some like pineapple and some that are just a bit bland. Unfortunately it's the latter that are usually peeled, chopped and potted for us on supermarket shelves. In this programme, Sheila Dillon and Romy Gill meet Monica Bhandari to talk about the breadth of mangoes that we could all be delighting in and they hear from Chef Allen, a Florida-based chef known for using mangoes in his fusion cooking, BBC Gloucestershire radio presenter Primrose Granville-McIntosh describes her lifelong infatuation with mangoes and BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan explains the mango ban that shook Britain's mango-loving communities.
19/08/1828m 28s

Shetland - A Food Homecoming

Sheila Dillon visits Shetland to meet the people transforming Shetland's food culture by reinventing traditional dishes as well as creating new food initiatives. Social media is playing a huge part in promoting a vibrant, young food scene that is attracting entrepreneurs as well as bringing back those who may have left the islands as teenagers. Jonathan Williamson left to manage the food hall at Fortnam and Mason but came home in his late 20s to build and run Cafe Fjara on Lerwick harbour. Akshay Borges from Mumbai answered an ad for a trainee chef at the Scalloway Hotel nine years ago. He has been here ever since and is now launching his own restaurant the String bringing food, music and art together. Traditional skills like fishing and meat production are thriving too. A career in food was never on the agenda for 29 year old Chris Wright who worked different jobs in his early twenties before following his dream of becoming a butcher. He blogs about the meat dishes he prepares in addition to his day job at Anderson's Butchers in Lerwick. Elizabeth Atia is the UK's most northerly food blogger and one of the few who makes a living from it. She says being Shetland based gives her blog -Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary- a USP in the blogging world. Many restaurants on Shetland get their vegetables from Transition Turriefield run by Penny Armstrong and Alan Robertson. They have nurtured the barren land on their croft since returning to Shetland fifteen years ago, building poly tunnels and enriching the soil to grow a variety of seasonal vegetables which they sell to customers through a box scheme. All of them stress the importance of social media in spreading the word about Shetland's renewed food culture and its high quality fresh local produce. Producer: Maggie Ayre.
12/08/1827m 53s

Keep It Sticky: The Extraordinary Story of Chef Marcus Samuelsson.

Harlem based chef Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, adopted in Sweden and made his reputation in New York City. He tells Dan Saladino his extraordinary story through food. The third of The Food Programme's 2018 season of African food stories. Marcus's restaurant, The Red Rooster is part of a success story that has seen the 46 year old chef become a major television personality, a cook for Presidents and a major influence of the food scene in the US. But on the restaurant's menu, if you know the story behind some of the delicious dishes, an incredible life story is also being told. A pasta dish from Ethiopia captures an early life being born in a mud hut in a tiny east African village where everyone had berbere spice, coffee and the grain tef in their store cupboards. This was the world Marcus left at age of two after he, his sister and mother contracted TB and had to make a 70 mile trek to a hospital in the capital Addis Ababa. Macus and his sister survived, their mother died. They were adopted by a Swedish couple, and Marcus grew up with two passions, football and food. His grandmother Helga taught him to cook and forage. This is why on the menu of his Harlem restaurant is a dish called Helga's meatballs. After a brutal apprenticeship and training in restaurants across Europe, Marcus travelled to New York City, narrowly missed being caught up in the attack on the Twin Towers and 9/11 and realised his life had to take a different path. That's why he ended up in Harlem. Dan Saladino hears his life story, from Ethiopia to New York. Presented and presented by Dan Saladino.
05/08/1827m 35s

Music and Food: Sounds Delicious!

Dan Saladino explores the relationship between tunes and taste with Andi Oliver on the link between Sam Cooke and roast chicken and chef Stephen Harris on food and The Buzzcocks. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
29/07/1828m 13s

Richard Corrigan: A Life Through Food

Richard Corrigan's is a story of Ireland, the story of a turning point in British food culture and the story of a deep connection to the land and its produce. But most of all it is the story of a man committed to his principles in a notoriously unforgiving industry. He is a rare voice of authenticity from the kitchen and one of our most important chefs. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Siobhan Maguire.
22/07/1828m 21s

Birmingham's Beloved Balti

For food writer Yasmin Khan, the Balti conjures up family meals out in her childhood home of Birmingham where she would regularly tuck into deep bowls of the city's most iconic dish -- richly spiced chicken or lamb, that she scooped up with freshly made warm naan breads. In it's heyday, the Sparkhill area of Birmingham was saturated with Balti restaurants, so much so that it became known as the "Balti Triangle", a place which defined Birmingham's food scene and became one of the few parts of the UK where working class, immigrant, food was celebrated. Since then, the Balti has grown in reputation as one of Britain's truly regional dishes, so much so that a bid was made, albeit unsuccessfully, to give it protected EU status. Now, Yasmin heads back to Birmingham to explore what this uniquely British-Pakistani dish means to a new generation of people growing up in the so-called 'Balti Triangle'. What she finds is a community with strong bonds and deep pride, that continues to come together around a deep love of food. Presented by Yasmin Khan Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
15/07/1828m 39s

Cycling and Food: Fuelling the Peloton

To celebrate the start of the Tour de France, cycling presenter and former racer Rebecca Charlton takes you behind the scenes at one of the world's biggest bike events to find the race is on in the kitchen to fuel riders who need to eat up to 8,000 calories per day for three weeks straight. She learns about Chris Froome's nutrition plan with Olympic coach and now Team Principal at Team Sky, Sir Dave Brailsford, she joins chef Sean Fowler as he cooks for the Groupama FDJ team as they fight for a place on the podium and she hears how the author of the Grand Tour Cookbook Hannah Grant had to battle to get her meals on the table in some of the worst kitchens imaginable.
08/07/1828m 14s

Unedited: Sheila Dillon's interview with Prof. Louis Levy of Public Health England

This week's programme about the Eatwell Guide featured an interview with Prof. Louis Levy from Public Health England. This is the unedited version of his interview with Sheila Dillon.
03/07/1816m 50s

The Eatwell Guide

Sheila Dillon questions whether the government's Eatwell Plate that's issued to the medical profession and used as public guidance for a balanced diet could actually be harming us. An increasing number of medics are abandoning the plate because they say it still promotes dangerously high levels of starchy carbohydrates and processed foods that contain high levels of the sugars that cause many of today's chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra author of the Pioppi diet is campaigning to change the official advice and says that a healthy diet and lifestyle are the key to reducing disease and the need for medication, but he says that vested interests from the food and pharmaceutical industries make some of these healthier choices more difficult to achieve. Dr David Unwin is a GP who has seen a huge spike in patients presenting with Type 2 Diabetes since he began practicing forty years ago. He advises lifestyle changes that include abandoning the Eatwell Guide and cutting out the starchy carbohydrates, processed foods and sugars and has seen a reversal of the disease in a significant number of patients. Sheila also visits Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester which is overhauling its canteen food and vending machine produce to reduce processed carbohydrates and sugary drinks and snacks. In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS the hospital will go completely sugar free on July 4th. Is it time to revise the Eatwell Guide and what will it take to do so? Producer: Maggie Ayre.
02/07/1828m 29s

What's Eating The Restaurant Trade?

Grace Dent, restaurant critic and broadcaster asks what's going wrong in the restaurant trade. With hundreds of small and large food outlets closing their doors, some say the restaurant business is in crisis, yet many argue that as an industry its contribution to the British economy is vastly overlooked and underrated. Recorded at Bristol Food Connections in front of an audience, Grace chairs a discussion with guests, Russell Norman restaurateur and TV presenter, broadcaster, critic and restaurant owner Tim Hayward, West Country chef and restaurateur, Romy Gill and chef proprietor Cyrus Todiwala OBE to find out what ails the restaurant scene and how it can be remedied. Producer: Maggie Ayre.
24/06/1828m 9s

BBC Food and Farming Awards 2018: Second Course

Sheila Dillon presents the people and the stories behind this year's Food and Farming Awards. Hear the winner of this year's Derek Cooper Outstanding Achievement Award, join Adam Henson and Charlotte Smith as they go in search of the farmers in the running to win Countryfile's Farming Heroes Award 2018 and hear who became this year's Food Chain Global Champion.
19/06/1827m 44s

BBC Food and Farming Awards 2018: First Course

Andi Oliver, Alex James and Matt Tebbutt join Sheila Dillon for a night once dubbed 'the Oscars of the food world'; the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2018. The night that the country's best loved chefs, cooks and food writers gather to celebrate unsung food heroes. Farmers, community cooks, shop owners, food and drink producers; You nominated them in your thousands. Now, at the Food and Farming awards ceremony in Bristol, the winners are revealed. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
19/06/1824m 20s

Street Food 2018

As part of the BBC Food and Farming Awards Nigel Barden and Tom Parker Bowles met an amazing array of street food vendors. In this programme Nigel tells the finalist's stories and visits KERB market in Camden to hear how the industry is rapidly evolving across the UK. First they meet Manjit Kaur and Michael Jameson from Manjit's Kitchen in Leeds. Manjit and Michael started by doing home deliveries of vegetarian traditional Punjabi food and now have a permanent home in Kirkgate market as well as a horsebox they use to serve across the country. The Bees Country Kitchen in Chorley is run by Sarah and Mike Bryan. The Bees serve a huge array of dishes from Chorley Market including vegan and healthy meals. They have a huge commitment to using local produce and serving their community. The Old Granary Pierogi in Herefordshire is run by Emilia Koziol-Wisniewski, husband Piotr and brother Jacek Koziol. They talk about the difficulty they had as immigrants coming to this country and starting their business selling traditional Polish food when hardly anyone knew what it was. Nigel also talks to Mark Laurie from The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) about how the industry has changed even in a short amount time as well as what we can expect in the future. Presented by Nigel Barden Produced in Bristol by Sam Grist.
11/06/1828m 15s

The Mothership of Brewing: Beer and the Belgians

Dan Saladino and drinks writer Pete Brown find out why Belgium beer is so influential.
03/06/1827m 54s

Life-changing Food

From prisons to research chefs, Sheila Dillon and chef Romy Gill hear how food is used around the country to transform lives. As judges on the 2018 BBC Food & Farming Awards, Romy Gill and writer Kathleen Kerridge visited three finalists in the UK - Helen Boyce who cooks with inmates at Hydebank Wood College and Women's Prison in Belfast, the Welcome Kitchen and Cinema in London where Rose Dakuo cooks for refugees, asylum seekers and the general public and Sam Storey, a research chef in Newcastle working with head and neck cancer survivors who have been left with altered eating difficulties. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Caitlin Hobbs.
01/06/1828m 12s

Food Stories From Syria (3)

Europe's migrant crisis is far from over. Already in 2018, the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) estimate that more than 24, 475 people have arrived in Europe by sea. 609 people are dead or missing since January*. The conflict in Syria is now into its 7th year. With an ongoing backdrop of war and violence, and more people arriving into Europe from Syria and elsewhere, Sheila Dillon wants to hear how people fleeing the crisis are living, eating and using food to tell the stories of the journeys they have made. In summer 2017, she travelled to Greece to speak to people living the migrant crisis every day. In Greece, Sheila spends a day with a man who since arriving in the country has volunteered all his time to coordinating a vast network of volunteers distributing food to thousands of migrants and refugees in Northern Greece. She travels to refugee camps, meeting people distributing and receiving the food donations which supplement any support payments. In a remote, coastal refugee camp, she meets a teenager with his mind firmly set on travelling to the UK to reunite his family with his father. Sheila hears how the family cook and eat every day, how they found food during their journey to Greece, and asks whether the family ever make it to the UK. And in London, Sheila meets a chef from Damascus who has found a way back to cooking the food he was once famous for in his own city. She hears how he is spreading the message and raising money for people who have stayed in war-torn Syria. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury * UNHCR figure last updated 7th May 2018.
20/05/1828m 16s

Japanese Whisky: A Beginners Guide

Dan Saladino goes on a journey through the history, culture and flavours of Japanese whisky. Why and how has this nation taken a drink so strongly associated with Scotland and made it their own? In 2001, the drinks world started to pay attention to Japanese whisky after one if its distillers scored top marks in an international whisky completion. In the years that followed, the awards and the global attention for Japanese whiskies continued to grow. Critics have described some Japanese whiskies as the "work of genius" and, just last year, one whisky produced by a small, new-wave distillery in the north of the country was voted the world's "Best Single Cask Whisky". With the help of whisky writer and author of the award-winning 'Way of Whisky: A Journey Round Japanese Whisky', Dave Broom, Dan asks: what lies behind the rise and rise of Japanese whisky and who are the people who helped make all this global recognition possible? The story has its origins in the 1860s when a recently opened up Japan started to forge close trading links with Scotland, paving the way for whisky imports. Once the taste for the spirit developed, distillers and chemists within Japan started to work on ways of producing a home-grown version of the drink. A breakthrough came in 1919 when a young student called Masataka Taketsuru travelled to Scotland, worked inside some renowned distilleries, married a Scottish woman and returned home with the secrets behind Scotch. Another pioneer, Shinjeero Torri, would put that know-how to good use and create the Suntory distilling empire and brands such as Yamasaki and Hakushu. Taketsuru would go on to found another respected and award winning whisky brand, Nikka. After record whisky sales in Japan throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the industry fell into decline for the next quarter of a century, with drinkers switching to other spirits and beer. A range of factors lie behind the recent whisky revival and boom, ranging from Japanese innovations in fermentation, distillation and barrel aging as well as the drink that brought whisky to the attention of a younger generation - the High Ball, a mix of whisky and soda. As Dave Broom also explains, the resurgence has encouraged a new generation of distillers to enter the whisky world, including Chichibu, an operation run mostly by people in their twenties, now winning awards. To explore the unique flavours on offer in Japanese whisky, Dan travels to the Highlander pub in Craigellachie, Scotland, where he meets landlord Tatsuya Minagawa and samples a "next to impossible" to find bottle of whisky. Recommended reading: Dave Broom: The Way of Whisky - A Journey Through Japanese Whisky. Dominic Roskrow: Whisky Japan - The Essential Guide To The World's Most Exotic Whisky Brian Ashcraft: Japanese Whisky - The Ultimate Guide to The World's Most Desirable Spirit Stefan Van Eycken: Whisky Rising Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
14/05/1831m 41s

The BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018: Finalist stories

You know their names, now Sheila Dillon helps tell the stories of the finalists in the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2018. For the last month, our judges, including Tim Hayward, Andi Oliver, Tom Parker-Bowles and Romy Gill have travelled the length and breadth of the UK to meet this year's finalists. In this programme, our judges meet a Northern Irish farmer who went from never trying salami to producing award winning charcuterie in a year. They visit a local deli and cafe owned by a fisherman who has spent his life catching eels and salmon on the Severn. And speak to the founders of a brewery devoted to making great tasting beers with less than 0.5% alcohol. In the first of two editions of The Food Programme, we celebrate our BBC Food and Farming Awards 'school of 2018'. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
30/04/1828m 22s

Is There a Place for Salt?

Salt has long been prized, but in recent years it has become, for many, something to be avoided: to reduce or even eliminate. At the same time, there are new salt making businesses popping up all over the UK, celebrating salts with - they claim - unique characteristics due to their location and methods of production; they are salts of a place. In this edition of The Food Programme Sheila Dillon asks if there is a place for salt - in our kitchens and on our plates. Featuring chef and writer of 'Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat' Samin Nosrat, lexicographer and etymologist (and Dictionary Corner resident) Susie Dent, Senior Health Correspondent for online news site Julia Belluz, salt makers Alison and David Lea-Wilson, and the chef and author of 'Salt is Essential': Shaun Hill. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward. The reading of 'Sugar and Salt' in the podcast and Monday's broadcast is by Vicky Coathup.
22/04/1828m 40s

Northern Ireland: Food at a Crossroads

Sheila Dillon travels from the border to Belfast to learn why Northern Irish food has blossomed in recent years and what leaving the EU could mean for producers.
15/04/1828m 3s

The Sugar Tax: A (Short) History

Dan Saladino looks behind the headlines of the newly introduced sugar tax.
15/04/1828m 30s

The Power of Food: Parabere Forum

Dan Saladino reports from Parabere Forum, with five life changing food stories. At the annual gathering for women working in food Dan finds unexpected and inspirational stories. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
01/04/1828m 36s

Doctor's Orders: Getting Tomorrow's Medics Cooking

The NHS is at crisis point. Despite the diet books, the fitness videos, the health bloggers, in 2016, Public Health England estimated that Illness associated with lifestyle costs the NHS £11 billion every year. But are we missing something obvious? Could we bring down the cost to the taxpayer, reduce pressure on the health system, with simple advice on what we should eat and drink when we go to see our GP? A growing group of medical professionals think so. Meet the doctors demanding better training on food and nutrition for students at medical school; Dr Rangan Chatterjee (BBC One's Doctor In The House), Dr Michael Mosley, (BBC Two's Trust Me I'm a Doctor) and Dr Rupy Aujla (The Doctor's Kitchen) and many more, all believe that if tomorrow's doctors were taught more about nutrition and diet, it could have a transformative effect on the health of the UK. In this programme Professor Sumantra Ray, doctor and founding chair of NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health describes a decade of work which could soon see widespread training for trainee doctors. And Sheila Dillon meets the students taking the conversation about food and health into their own hands. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury Photo credit Neil Macaninch (above).
25/03/1828m 20s

The Future of Bread

Dan Saladino talks to Modernist Bread author, Nathan Myhrvold, about one of the biggest bread research projects ever undertaken, which involved the baking of 36,000 loaves. Nathan Myhrvold has spent his life trying to understand how things work, he's been a post doctoral fellow researching quantum theory with the late Stephen Hawking, he went on to work as the chief technology officer at Microsoft working directly with Bill Gates and then....... he turned his attention to food. In 2011 he published Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, which explored the history, science and techniques of cooking, including the world of Modernist cuisine, in which chefs continue to push the boundaries of the kitchen. Now he's turned his attention to bread. The research for Modernist Bread goes beyond the production of a book, new ideas about bread history are introduced (the first baker could have lived 100,000 years ago), myths are dispelled (French baguettes and Italian Ciabatta are not as traditional as we think they are) and techniques explained (why kneading might often be a waste of time and a squeeze of pineapple juice can work wonders for dough). Dan and Nathan discuss bread history, correct some falsehoods and ponder on the need for a Modernist bread movement (and Nathan also explains which loaf out of the 36,000 they baked is his favourite). Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
19/03/1828m 58s

African Food

It's a matter of course that in January, food writers, critics and chefs try to predict the food trends of the year ahead. And if you trawled the columns in 2018, no doubt you would have found 'African food' among them. For Zoe Adjonyoh, restaurateur at Zoe's Ghana Kitchen in London and author of cookbook of the same name, this is a difficult term. Africa is the second biggest and most populous continent in the world and its 54 countries are home to a plethora of localised and regional cuisines. Yet, so many of these cuisines have failed to make a mark in mainstream restaurant culture internationally and in the UK, can a new interest in promoting African flavours help us to discover more about them? This programme is Zoe's guide to getting to know African cuisines becoming more available in the UK. She meets British chefs and cooks exploring their African heritage through food, and asks them the worth, or worthlessness of the term 'African food'. The first of The Food Programme's 2018 season of African food stories in Britain. Presented by Zoe Adjonyoh Produced by Clare Salisbury.
11/03/1828m 20s

Eat to Run, Part 3

Dan Saladino meets the runners convinced low or no carbs is the way to peak performance.
09/03/1853m 33s

The Big Pig Roadtrip

Tim Hayward embarks on the big pig road trip to meet some of the people who devote their lives to rare breeds of British pigs. He speaks to Adam Henson, best-known as a presenter on BBC One's Countryfile, about why pigs like the Gloucester Old Spot and Tamworth are important to the heritage of the UK, and explains the work his late Father Joe did to keep these breeds alive. Two of Adam's Tamworth pigs became the starting point for brothers John and Nick Francis who came to pig-keeping fresh out of university and now produce meat for a number of Michelin-starred restaurants. Robert Buttle gives Tim slices of artisan charcuterie which he produces from his Large Blacks and Oxford Sandys and explains why pork of this quality needs to be treated like the finest steak. Tim also meets the next generation of pig keepers at Holme Grange School in Berkshire and discovers that showing pigs is not as easy as it looks. Producer: Toby Field.
04/03/1828m 5s

Comfort food for dark days

Sheila Dillon celebrates the power of food to comfort us in hard times, especially during these dark days of the year. Dumplings, marshmallows, chicken soup, fried chicken, curried goat: all the things we long to eat when we're sad, or sick, or homesick. She talks to Antarctic explorers about the food they miss from home, and eating marshmallows at the South Pole; to teenagers in a Fried Chicken shop; to homesick Polish emigres eating proper Polish dumplings, and to a class of eight-year-olds about what their parents cook for them when they're sick. Chef Raymond Blanc goes into an almost mystical trance as he remembers the puddings his mother cooked for him as a child and their trembling caramel; he confesses this is what he craves now when he's sick. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner reveals the secret of "Jewish penicillin", or chicken soup; Dr Rupy Aujla reflects on what you might call the culinary placebo effect; and Reggae singer Levi Roots explains about the consoling power of curried goat. Not forgetting Jill Archer's famous flapjacks - the Food Programme presents a comfort feast for February! Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Elizabeth burke.
18/02/1828m 17s

The Vegetable Yoda: Charlie Hicks

Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino pay tribute to greengrocer extraordinaire, the late, great and encyclopaedic Charlie Hicks with help from Jamie Oliver, Gregg Wallace and Raymond Blanc. Many radio listeners will remember Charlie Hicks as a co-presenter of BBC Radio 4's Veg Talk series, in which listeners phoned in to speak to two great experts of fresh produce. Charlie was a 4th generation, Covent Garden market fruit and veg man, but he was so much more including a great cook, a food scholar and broadcaster. Charlie, along with Gregg, helped changed British food culture in the 1980s and 1990s. They supplied London's top chefs with fresh produce and helped introduce new flavours and varieties to British tables. Food fashions spread as chefs influenced supermarkets who then made relatively obscure ingredients such as rocket, artichoke and baby beets popular with domestic cooks. The series Veg Talk, which ran from 1998 to 2005 attracted all of the UK's top named chefs including Jamie Oliver (who described Charlie as a "Vegetable Yoda" and "the Chef's Secret Weapon", Angela Hartnett, Michel Roux Jnr and Cyrus Todiwala. The programme gave Charlie a platform to share his knowledge and expertise of fruit and vegetables, as well as his sharp sense of humour and unique banter with his co-presenter Gregg. Charlie Hicks passed away in January and all parts of the food industry mourned his loss. Dan and Sheila tell his food story and explain why he made such an impact on British food culture. Produced by Dan Saladino.
11/02/1827m 34s

The World Service Cookbook

When the BBC World Service's Language Services moved into New Broadcasting House in central London, different services would take it in turns to host a 'Meet-Your-Neighbour' event to introduce themselves to other parts of the BBC. People started bringing in food that reflected their country or region. Other people took up the mantle and an idea was born. Three years on and this extraordinary collection of recipes has been compiled into a truly global cookbook, available for staff to download. But this is just more than a collection of recipes - this is food that connects the journalists, correspondents, managers and producers to their homes, and provides a cultural bridge between themselves. Sheila Dillon meets Paula Moio who describes how a fish stew - Calulude Peixe - epitomises long Saturday afternoons in Angola when friends and family come to put the world to rights over long lunches, and how on moving to London a Saturday afternoon could be a poignant and emotional time. Sadeq Saba discusses the flavours of North Iran and why nothing can dampen down the Iranian's love of food. Lourdes Heredia gives Sheila a tour of the fifth floor before unveiling an incredible selection of salsas that has colleges from the African and Middle Eastern sections arguing about which country produces the hottest chilies. BBC Urdu presenter Aliya Nazki talks quinces and Kashmiri food, and Dmitry Shishkin is joined by his daughter Masha to explain how there's a lot more to Russian cooking than meets the eye. Producer: Toby Field.
04/02/1827m 59s

Britain's Secret Saffron Story

Saffron is one of the world's most evocative spices, shrouded in myth and mystery and conjuring up images from the ancient Silk Road. Often seen as 'expensive', 'complicated' or perhaps for a special occasion, for British food writer Yasmin Khan, the spice was a store cupboard stable. Because of her mother's Iranian heritage, as a child she ate it almost every day. Later, Yasmin's love affair with saffron inspired her to travel across Iran, documenting the country's rich culinary heritage in her book 'The Saffron Tales'. On her journey she learnt that the saffron crocus was cultivated in Iran by the 10th century BC and today has multiple uses in perfuming a variety of Iranian dishes. But she also made another discovery, that saffron has a unique and mysterious British history, that brings this magical spice, much closer to home. In this programme, writer Pat Willard, chef Charlie Hodson, botanist Dr Sally Francis and community grower Ally McKinlay help to unfold an almost forgotten British saffron story, one that captivates and entrances everyone that comes into contact with it. Presented by Yasmin Khan Produced by Clare Salisbury.
28/01/1828m 30s

What Delicious Future?

Dan Saladino looks at ideas that could make an impact on our food future featuring America's Impossible Burger, a Sardinian maggot infested cheese and mussels being grown in downtown Copenhagen. Most people are aware of the challenges that lie ahead linked to predictions of population growth peaking at 9bn by 2050 but who is coming up with ideas of how we can feed more people with a finite amount of land, water and other resources? Dan looks at three ideas that provide an insight into work underway to find solutions. The expert on the science of cooking Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, tells the story of The Impossible Burger, a decade long endeavour, based in California, to find a plant based replica of beef and burger patties. Impossible Foods was founded by a bio-chemist Professor Patrick Brown. Because he was approaching the problem of rising global meat consumption from outside of the food industry he was forced to ask some very basic questions, most important of which was "why does meat taste like meat"? One of the answers Pat Brown discovered was a molecule called heme. He also knew heme could be found in plants. The outcome of years of work and millions of dollars of investment is The Impossible Burger. It's aimed not at vegetarians or vegans but meat lovers and has been designed to have the meaty, bloody juiciness of a real burger. Harold McGee describes the science behind the burger and the experience of eating one. By the way, listen out for the traditional Sardinian music "Su Cuntrattu de Seneghe" performed by Antonio Maria Cubadda who is from Seneghe town. The next future food story has its origins in Sardinia and a cheese called Casu Marzu. As the cheese ferments a fly called the Cheese Skipper is attracted by the aromas being released and lays its eggs inside the cheese. The larvae then hatch and start to digest the proteins and turn a hard textured cheese into a soft one. The cheese is then eaten while the wriggling maggots are still alive within the cheese. A researcher working for the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation's Edible Insect project, Afton Halloran went in search of the cheese as a rare example of a European food involving edible insects. In Sardinia she met a chef Roberto Flore . They eventually married and since, have travelled the world in search of other examples of edible insects that could provide a clue to future foods. They tell Dan the story of the cheese and the conclusions they've reached so far when it comes to the potential of insects in feeding the world. The final story comes from Copenhagen where Joachim Hjer is attempting to get people in the city to grown their own mussels in the heart of the city. In the studio with Dan is Dr Morgaine Gaye, a "Food Futurologist" who explains which of the three stories she believes will be the one to watch in 2018. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino.
21/01/1828m 24s

The BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018: The Search Begins...

Where are the cooks changing the lives of their communities? Which food shops or markets make shopping a more unique experience? Who is making the UK a more delicious place through food and drink? Rick Stein, Giorgio Locatelli, Angela Hartnett, Yotam Ottolenghi and this year's head judge Andi Oliver join Sheila Dillon to launch 2018's search for the best in UK food, drink and farming; the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018. Sheila celebrates the impact of previous award winners and reveals the expert panel of judges who'll crown the Food and Farming Awards 'Class of 2018'. But it all begins with your nominations... Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury NB. The BBC Food & Farming Awards will open for public nominations on Sunday 14th January for 2 weeks, closing on Monday 29th January. Details can be found at
14/01/1828m 12s


The sudden proliferation of porridge is there for all to see, across the country. Café chains like Pret, Starbucks, McDonalds; instant tubs on offer in your local supermarket; on the train, even. Sheila Dillon explores the current fashion for porridge, and meets the "porridge pioneers" who have ridden the sticky porridge wave and created booming porridge businesses. She eats breakfast with Alex Healy Hutchinson, founder of the Covent Garden porridge restaurant 26 Grains; she tours the Edinburgh factory of Stoats Oats, a business which started from a mobile porridge van at rock festivals and is now on track for a turnover of £10 million. She hears from contestants from all over the world at this year's Golden Spurtle International Porridge Championship, and she talks to the Harvard scientist who published the largest study about the health benefits of porridge. (Yes it certainly is good for you.) Finally, back in her kitchen Sheila convenes her own porridge championship with Jamaican chef Levi Roots, Scandinavian chef Trine Hahnemann and Scottish chef Shirley Spear. Whose porridge will taste best? And which Bob Marley song has a verse about cooking porridge?
07/01/1828m 13s

The Champagne Underground

Champagne sceptic Dan Saladino travels to the French region in search of the mavericks of fizz. These wine producers are part of a movement that's causing many to re-evaluate the world's most celebrated bubbles. For many, including Dan, champagne is a drink purely of fun and celebration, a glass of bubbles most often enjoyed standing up; popping a cork has played a part in countless moments and memories of joy. But to others, it's also increasingly being treated as a serious wine, that as with the world's best bottles, can offer a sense of place, and that behind the fizz champagne can also be a wine of "terroir". Dan is taken on a road trip through the Champagne region to meet a movement of small scale, vineyard driven "grower champagnes" by award winning wine writer Dan Keeling of the magazine Noble Rot. Influenced by the approach more often found in Burgundy and Bordeaux they're using specific vineyards to produce great wines that just happen to have bubbles. As wine merchant Robert Walters, author of Bursting Bubbles: A Secret History of Champagne and The Rise of the Great Growers explains in the programme champagne was a product of the scientific and industrial revolutions. Initially an unwanted accident in winemaking in the 18th century, this sparkling wine became a popular novelty feature across Europe. However it would take 200 years to master the bubbles. The complex process of secondary fermentation of wine in bottles needed a huge amount of technical innovation and capital investment. From stronger glass bottles to muselet (the wire cage that helps to hold the cork in under great pressure), better understanding of fermentation and skills such as riddling, disgorgement and dosage all needed to be mastered and funded. This explains why champagne production fell under the control of the big houses, the "Grand Marques" e.g. Krug, Dom Perignon and Bollinger. These brands, also known as negociant houses, typically buy in grapes and wine from thousands of growers throughout the Champagne region and then make a blend in their house style. Dan and Dan visit Krug, one of the most prestigious Grand Marques, to hear how this model works. Meanwhile, from humble beginnings in the 1990s, a small group of growers have taken a different approach. They've decided to stop selling their grapes to the negociant houses and produce their own champagnes that are very much the product of their vineyards. Dan Keeling takes Dan on a tour of some of the best "grower champagnes" to see if this can convert a bubble sceptic into a lover of fizz. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino. Additional reading; Bursting Bubbles: A Secret History of Champagne and The Rise of the Great Growers - Robert Walters. Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers and Terroirs of the Iconic Region - Peter Liem.
31/12/1728m 35s

Sheila Dillon's Christmas Dinner

Sheila Dillon invites some special guests, friends old and new, to come and share a festive meal. Before they start to arrive, Nigel Slater drops by to help Sheila prepare. Each visitor will bring a dish, or a drink, that for them captures something unique of the flavours and spirit of the season. Knocking on Sheila's door are: Giorgio Locatelli, Angela Hartnett, Anna Jones, Pete Brown, Neil Borthwick and Yotam Ottolenghi. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
24/12/1728m 28s

The World's Most Popular Cheese: The Story of Cheddar

Dan Saladino reports on the past, present and future of what's thought to be the world's most widely produced and consumed cheese, Cheddar. Dan also meets producers who are trying to discover what cheddar might have tasted like more than a century ago, using some of the earliest known Cheddar recipes. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
18/12/1728m 12s


We have a national passion for crisps. Every week, on average, each person in Britain eats 4 bags of crisps - a staggering 240 million bags a week. This is a good moment to look more closely at crisps, since this year they celebrate their bicentenary. It's 200 years since the eccentric Dr William Kitchiner published "The Cook's Oracle", a best-seller in its day, with the first recorded crisps recipe. But quite what made them such a part of British life it's hard to say. In search of answers, Sheila Dillon is allowed a rare visit to the Walkers crisps factory in Leicester to meet people whose job it is to taste crisps all day long. What new flavours are in the pipeline? She hears from schoolchildren about why they insist on crisps in their lunchbox, and from twenty-somethings spending a wild Friday night at a "bottomless crisps party" in a Birmingham bar with all the crisps you can eat. She meets Charles Spence, Professor of Psychology at Oxford, who won an "Ignobel Prize" for his "sonic experiments" with crisps, and talks to Dr Sara Lodge, historian of the crisp, who believes crisps are a symbol of proud British individualism: the individual bag of crisps is on a par with other national icons like the mini or the red telephone box. More disturbingly, Sheila discovers from investigative reporter Joanna Blythman what is actually in crisps and what this gargantuan national consumption might be doing to our health. Producer Elizabeth Burke Presenter Sheila Dillon.
10/12/1728m 19s

Cookbooks of 2017

It's that time of year when Sheila Dillon and special guests take a close look at the food, cookery and drink books of 2017. Joining Sheila are the food writer Bee Wilson, and the Features Editor at the book trade magazine The Bookseller, Tom Tivnan. Expect tales of literature, simplicity, deliciousness... and a deep dive into the idea of 'comfort'. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
03/12/1735m 44s

Food on the Edge (A Food Story Mix-Tape)

Dan Saladino is at Food On The Edge, a gathering of people with food stories to tell; from a Black Panther breakfast to a chef convinced her emotions could be detected in her food. Held in Galway, the west of Ireland each year chef JP McMahon invites fellow cooks, chefs and restaurateurs to take to a stage and for 15 minutes share a food story of experience. Over two days more than 40 different stories from countries as diverse as Japan, Italy, Bolivia and Australia are told. Dan selects a handful of the stories that made an impact on him during his time at Food On The Edge. The first story is of how a Syrian kitchen came to be set up in Amsterdam. Tens of thousand of Syrians arrived in the city during the peak of the recent refugee crisis. Among them was a photographer, fashion designer, fitness machine repair man and a lawyer. Together they ran a kitchen in the Salvation Army centre where they were being housed, aiming to feed their fellow refugees with food from home. After spotting an appeal for help on Facebook, Dutch chef Jurriaan Momberg visited the kitchen to see if he could help teach them to cook. What he discovered were some of the greatest culinary talents he'd encountered in his career. It led to the creation of a pop-up restaurant which caused a sensation in Amsterdam. But all good things comes to an end and in the programme Jurriaan explains why one day he walked into an empty kitchen. Another story comes from Oakland California. It was there in 1966 that the radical political movement The Black Panthers were created in response to police violence against black communities. By 1969 what had first looked like a militia, promoting armed resistance, the organisation had also created a series of social programmes. The most successful of which was a breakfast programme set up to feed black children who were often going to school undernourished and hungry. Chef Saqib Keval of the People's Kitchen Collective, a group of cooks, historians and researchers who tell stories through food, explains why he's brought the free breakfasts back to California. Meanwhile Chef Matt Orlando of the Copenhagen restaurant Amass reveals some of the kitchen experiments he's been undertaking to convert so called "waste food" and by-products into delicious meals. He explains the ingenious way flavours and nutrients inside used coffee grounds can be released to make a meal. Irish chef Domini Kemp took to the stage to express her frustration of how, based on her own experience of cancer treatment, the medical profession neglect the power of food in conversations about prevention, recovery and long term health. Finally, New York chef Elise Kornack tells the story of how a mental breakdown led her to become convinced that her own powerful emotions were being transferred through her cooking and onto her customers. Like a scene from the book and film, Like Water For Chocolate, she believed every mouthful of food she was serving would result in diners sensing what was unfolding in her troubled mind. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino. Additional recording in Oakland, California by Meradith Hoddinott.
27/11/1728m 34s

Young and Vegan

The number of young people turning vegan is rising. Grace Dent meets some of the people opening vegan eateries and finds out how creatives are using social media to further the "vegangelical" cause. Grace goes to the Hackney Downs Vegan Market to speak to Jay Brave who argues that adopting a vegan diet is as much about personal autonomy and challenging the status quo as it is an ethical step. He delivers a few bars of 'Vegan Shut Up', his parody of Stormzy's 'Shut Up' released on World Vegan Day, and tells Grace why veganism is becoming big in the London grime scene. She also speaks to Sean O'Callaghan AKA Fat Gay Vegan who set-up the market and has seen its popularity grow, and gives his reaction to the mainstream restaurants who are falling over themselves to come up with vegan menus. Ian Theasby and Henry Firth from Bosh! create simple and imaginative vegan recipes which are filmed and broadcast to over 1.4m Facebook users. Toby Field visits them at their studio to find out what fuels their idea to create plant-based options and to ask why they keep out of the argument around the ethics of veganism. Maria Rose has just opened a vegan cafe in Barnstaple and explains how it's slowly creating a more enlightened scene in North Devon. So is this just a trend that's fine for the hipster herbivores of Camden, or can it gain traction across the country and start a food revolution? Producer: Toby Field.
19/11/1728m 46s


With Catalonia in the midst of a political crisis, Sheila Dillon travels to the region just as they self-declared independence and discovers how the spirit of the region and its people are very much reflected in their passion for food.
13/11/1727m 53s

The Art of Fermentation - A Masterclass

Dan Saladino gets a practical masterclass with the world-renowned teacher and author of 'The Art of Fermentation' - Sandor Ellix Katz. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
04/11/1728m 35s

More Problems with Poultry?

Following years of reporting on UK chicken scandals, Dan Saladino looks at investigations now underway by The Food Standards Agency and MPs into practices at supplier 2 Sisters.
30/10/1727m 59s

How We Eat: 4. Eating as a Family

In this final programme of the series How We Eat, Sheila Dillon explores eating as a family, the reality and the myth. As working hours increase and with both parents working, it becomes more and more difficult to sit down together with the children for meals. Separate meals, often in front of the tv, are more the reality in Britain today. But in this programme Sheila meets two families who believe that there is nothing more important than eating together. The Parker family have two children of their own, but they have also fostered dozens of children, some with special needs. Crucial to the success of their extended family, they believe, is the fact that they sit together every night at six o'clock round the table to eat. Sheila Dillon joins them to find out why this structure is so important to the children they look after. She visits too the Brooks family, who sit down together every Friday night for the Jewish Friday night dinner. Emma Brooks married into Judaism and found it strange at first; she reflects on the demands but also the benefits of this ritual meal. So what exactly can family meals do for us? Sheila talks to best-selling child psychologist Steve Biddulph whose books ("Raising Boys", "Raising Girls") are in 4 million homes, and finds out why he thinks eating together is crucial if you want to solve conflict and raise happy children. He gives his top tips for successful family meals. But many people, Sheila included, remember dreadful family rows over the childhood dinner table. With historian Chris Kissane, the programme explores whether the family dinner, like the perfect family itself, has always been more of a myth than a reality.
23/10/1728m 2s

How We Eat: 3. Eating By The Rules

Increasing numbers of people in Britain seem to eat according to very clearly defined rules, from fashionable Clean Eaters to religious believers to professional sportspeople. In this third programme in the series How we Eat, Sheila Dillon talks to them about the rules they follow and why, sometimes, rules make life not only easier but more enjoyable. She meets vlogger Madeleine Shaw, an Instagram Star with 275,000 followers, whose 12-point eating philosophy includes the rule "Don't Eat Anything Beige". She talks to followers of the ancient Jain religion, who believe it's deeply wrong to eat root vegetables or anything raw. If they break the rules, there is a complex system of atonement. She visits a slimming class to discover the pleasures of eating according to a clearly defined plan and why iced Chelsea buns are evil. And she talks to professional athletes, a jockey and a boxer, about how they eat when they know that their entire livelihood depends on not gaining a single pound.
16/10/1728m 7s

How We Eat: 2. Eating with Strangers

What happens when you share a meal with strangers? What chemistry fizzes around the table, what bonds are formed, what happens next? In this programme Sheila Dillon talks to people who believe that eating with strangers is the greatest pleasure in life, and to people whose lives have been transformed by those meals. She visits the largest Sikh temple in Europe, where hundreds are fed every day for free, and hospitality to strangers is a sacred religious duty. She meets the woman who started the supper club movement in Britain when she began inviting people into her small flat for dinner. She talks to an unlikely couple - with a 60 year age gap - who formed a firm friendship thanks to the charity the Casserole Club. And she visits the Glasgow couple who met as strangers at a supper club for singles - and knew after that first dinner that they were destined to share the rest of their lives together. It was his table manners that did it.
09/10/1728m 4s

How We Eat: 1. Eating Alone

How we eat says so much about us. Where we come from, our family background, our feelings about our bodies even - our appetite for all kinds of pleasure... There was a time when how we eat was mostly about class, but whether you called it "tea" or "dinner" or "supper", there were still fixed conventions about when and where we ate, and what we ate. These days the certainties, the boundaries, have been broken up. How do we eat now? Well, differently, as this series reveals. This first programme of How We Eat explores the pleasures and pitfalls of eating alone. As one in three households in Britain is now a single-person household, increasing numbers of people ARE eating on their own. Do we eat differently when we eat unobserved? How do people of all ages, from students to widowers, adjust to suddenly having to cook for themselves? Sheila Dillon investigates the booming business of ready-meals for one, and hears embarrassing confessions about secret snacks: such as people who shut themselves in the utility room to gorge on chocolate, pretending they're doing the laundry. She visits inspirational cookery writer Anna del Conte, who's in her 90s, to talk to her about the delicious meals she makes for herself now that she's a widow. She goes to a cookery class at a hospice. She talks to students who admit to living on alcohol and crisps. And she meets a man who cooks fresh meals to share with his dog.
02/10/1727m 56s

The BBC Food & Farming Awards 2017

Sheila Dillon presents the highlights of this year's awards with Giorgio Locatelli
26/09/1752m 7s

Future Food

Seaweed, hydroponics and seeds. Dan Saladino meets the 'Future Food' finalists in the 2017 BBC Food and Farming Awards, and asks what their stories tell us about the future of what, and how, we all eat. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
18/09/1724m 10s

Zero Compromise: A (Georgian) Natural Wine Story.

Dan Saladino travels into the Caucasus in search of "zero compromise" natural wine makers. He finds them in Georgia, thought to be the birthplace of wine, and home of the qvevri.
11/09/1736m 30s

Feast Like a Georgian: A Food Guide to the Caucasus.

Dan Saladino travels to a Georgia, considered to be an undiscovered food and drink gem at the heart of the meeting point between Europe and Asia. Food writer Carla Capalbo, author of Tasting Georgia: A food and wine journey in the Caucasus guides Dan through a supra, a traditional feast. Georgia, a country the same size as Scotland, south of Russia and north of Turkey, has one of the oldest, richest and, to many of us, unknown food and drink cultures in the world. On the silk and spice routes, for centuries, it was a battleground between Persian, Turkish and Russian empires. In the 20th century, Georgia, birthplace of Stalin, became part of the Soviet Union until its independent in 1991. Throughout generations of conflict and hardship Georgia's food culture has endured. It can claim to be the birthplace of viticulture and wine making and when it comes to dining experiences, it has one of the most sophisticated and emotional dining experiences in the world. Dan experiences a supra, a traditional Georgian feast, in which an array of dishes are woven around a series of polyphonic (many voice) songs, amber wines and heartfelt toasts given by a tomada (toast master). Produced and presented by Dan Saladino. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
03/09/1728m 36s

Salt Fish

Once a cheap dish to feed workers, salted cod has been preserved by cooks around the world who serve it to celebrate: On Sundays, at Carnival, at Christmas. It's an ingredient which has played a part in the forming of empires, fuelled armies and cured hangovers. Sheila Dillon meets cooks and hears the enduring and surprising stories of cuisines shaped by salt fish. She asks why some of the best new British chefs are choosing to include saltfish on their menus. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
27/08/1728m 14s

Chef Stress

Dan Saladino investigates current pressures on chefs and the darker side of the restaurant kitchen. From breakdowns to addictions, is it a profession with more problems than most? Dan hears from a range of chefs who open up about the way their chosen profession has affected their lives, including Mark Hix, Rene Redzepi, Matty Matheson, Paul Cunningham, Shaun Hill and Philip, who works through an agency cooking in the kitchens of pubs, chains and restaurants on our high streets. Giving an over view is Kat Kinsman, a journalist who came out about her own experiences with depression when she was working for CNN in the United States. After meeting a succession of chefs who spoke to her in confidence about their own mental health problems she set up a website "Chefs With Issues". She's now head from thousands of chefs around the world who have spoken out about the impact the restaurant world and kitchen life has had on their mental health. Mark Hix talks about his friend, the late chef Jeremy Strode who took his own life after decades of cooking in Sydney. Jeremy had invested much of his time raising awareness of mental health issues and had supported a suicide prevention charity, RUOK. Mark opens up about the impact Jeremy's death has had on him, as well as the wider pressures facing people in the hospitality industry. Chef Paul Cunningham, describes how he woke up one Sunday afternoon and realising he couldn't move his left arm. A stress related blood clot was the cause and he ended up spending five weeks in hospital recovering. He describes the addictive quality of kitchen work, and also the stresses and strains it can bring. Penny Moore, Chief Executive of Hospitality Action, the benevolent organisation set up in 1837 to provide help for people working, or have previously worked in the hospitality industry, explains that the hospitality workforce of more than 3 million, has higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse. The main issues they also deal with is bullying and harassment in the workplace. Penny believes a culture shift is underway in the industry with chefs, including Sat Bains, reducing working hours and opening times to improve the work-life balance of staff. Philip, a 63 year old agency chef describes his working life in the kitchens of pubs and restaurant chains, saying a just-in-time work culture is making the profession a tougher one to survive in. Shaun Hill, the celebrated chef at the Walnut Tree Inn in Abergavenny provides a reminder of why so many people love to work in kitchens and why he's loved spending his working life in restaurants.
21/08/1728m 36s

Dishing The Dirt on Clean Eating

Grace Dent discovers what has made Anthony Warner into the Angry Chef and unpicks the role that social media plays in spurring people towards diet plans and 'healthy-eating' regimes Anthony set up a blog last year to vent his fury at what he describes as bad science in his quest to reveal the truth behind so-called 'healthy eating'. He believes we're bombarded by false messages and claims about food. In his quest to find out if Anthony's claims are justified, we meet Helen West, a registered dietician, and asks how damaging 'fad-diets' are. What happens if you cut out carbohydrates, dairy and gluten from your diet and we meet Eve Simmons. Eve became seriously ill with anorexia and blames the array of glossy websites featuring perfectly sculpted bodies, in part, for her illness. We'll meet Dr Judy Swift who has been studying the link between social media and Orthorexia: eating disorders brought on by obsessing about eating certain foods. But is Anthony's anger justified? James Duigan is the man behind 'Bodyism'. He's developed a plan of eating healthily whilst exercising regularly, but encourages detox plans. But what exactly is wrong with wanting to exercise and make yourself feel better? We'll discover if Anthony has every right to be angry, or whether he should simply calm down.
13/08/1728m 10s

Patience Gray: A Life Through Food

"Poverty rather than wealth gives the good things of life their true significance. Home-made bread rubbed with garlic and sprinkled with olive oil, shared - with a flask of wine - between working people, can be more convivial than any feast." So writes Patience Gray in the introduction to her 1986 award winning book 'Honey From A Weed: Fasting & Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, The Cyclades and Apulia'. To some, Patience's name evokes a masterpiece, one of the most evocative and imaginative food books written in modern times. To others, her name will mean very little; Patience Gray, by her own admission, kept a low profile, living and writing for most of her working life among rural people in Italy, Greece and Catalonia. Patience, who died in 2005, would have been 100 in 2017. So Sheila Dillon looks back on Patience Gray's life through food with the help of Adam Federman, author of a new biography 'Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray' and food writers Jojo Tulloh and Louise Gray. They hear from the Food Programme archives. From two visits to Patience's home in Puglia recorded by Derek Cooper and Simon Parkes. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
06/08/1728m 14s

Summer camping special

Sheila Dillon and The Food Programme team go camping, to discover the possibilities of food and drink in the outdoors. Joining Sheila around a Monmouthshire campfire are BBC 6Music presenter Cerys Matthews, author of 'How to Eat Outside' Genevieve Taylor, forager and wild drinks teacher Andy Hamilton, Matthew De Abaitua - author of 'The Art of Camping: The History and Practice of Sleeping Under the Stars', and Josh Sutton - who has just written a book called 'Outdoor Ovens' and is also known as the Guyrope Gourmet. Produced by Rich Ward.
30/07/1733m 24s

Greece: Return to the land?

This week, Sheila Dillon is in Greece to speak to farmers and food producers about how they are carving new lives for themselves out of the financial crisis. Greeks have now lived through seven years of austerity after the most catastrophic European financial crisis in modern times. Unemployment is above 23%, higher than anywhere in the EU. Amongst the under 25's the figure is more than 46%. Life is tough in Greece. But food and farming tell a more uplifting story. Employment in food production and farming is up. Many young people left their former lives in the cities and moved back to the countryside to start farms and food start-ups. Now, Sheila Dillon takes a trip from Greece's second city Thessaloniki in the north, to the capital, Athens to meet food producers and farmers in Greece. She asks how they are surviving, and whether food and farming might help Greece in it's recovery. She asks senior advisor in the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Professor Charalambos Kasimis, what the Government are doing to help Greece's newest farmers. And finds that part of the story involves a failed UK crowd-funding campaign to pay off the Greek national debt. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced by Clare Salisbury.
23/07/1728m 19s

Sandor Katz and the Art of Fermentation

Sandor Katz has been enchanted by fermentation, the mysterious process by which microbes transform food and drink, for some two decades. Since making his first crock of sauerkraut, his fascination with fermentation has broadened, deepened, and he now travels the world giving workshops. Based in Tennessee, his books including 'Wild Fermentation' and the encyclopaedic 'The Art of Fermentation' have helped many thousands of people to get started with making their own ferments, experimenting with flavours, fruits, vegetables, spices... and microorganisms. Dan Saladino travels to Sandor's forest home in rural Tennessee to meet Sandor, hear his story, and discover for himself the transformative, delicious potential of these mostly simple culinary processes. Coming up in a future edition of The Food Programme, a practical masterclass in fermentation with Sandor Katz. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward. Photo: Jacqueline Schlossman.
16/07/1727m 30s

Hunting With The Hadza 2: The Microbiome.

Dan Saladino asks if hunter gatherers, the Hadza tribe, hold the key to our future health. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino.
12/07/1728m 15s

Hunting with the Hadza

Dan Saladino eats with one of the last remaining hunter gatherer tribes, Tanzania's Hadza.
02/07/1728m 39s

Diet and Dementia: An Update

What can I do? That was the question posed to us by Food Programme listener Angie Roberts who cares for her mother Clara. Clara, like 850 thousand others in the UK, has dementia, and meal times were making her anxious. 9 months on from our last edition on food and dementia, Sheila Dillon hears from people living with dementia to see how food figures in their lives. She catches up with dementia entrepreneur James Ashwell, founder of and hears how he has made gadgets to make eating and drinking easier, available on the high street. Sheila also hears again from award winning food writer Paula Wolfert and her biographer and friend Emily Kaiser Thelin, and their work together on a book telling Paula's life story. From documenting Morocco and its cuisine in the 1970s, to the changes Paula has made to her diet to try to ameliorate her disease. Sheila speaks to Professor of nutritional medicine, Margaret Rayman and nutritional epidemiologist Dr Martha Clare Morris, on the latest research into the connections between what we eat and whether or not we develop dementia. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury This programme is an update of the edition 'Diet & Dementia' from October 2016 which recently won 'Radio Programme of the Year' at the Fortnum & Mason food and drink awards. Photo credit: William Bayer.
25/06/1748m 16s

Alastair Little: A Life through Food

As he prepares to move to Australia, leaving a lasting culinary legacy here in the UK, chef and food writer Alastair Little shares his life in food with Sheila Dillon. Born in Lancashire, from a very early age Alastair Little paid careful attention to the food and flavours around him. On early holidays around Europe with his parents, his eyes (and tastebuds) started to open up to a new world of possibility. After graduating from university, a career in food was far from clear; but 1970s Soho in London became the launchpad for a self-taught chef who has had a real and lasting impact. His eponymous restaurant in Frith Street was pioneering; and legendary - and a new generation of chefs passed through its kitchen, sat at the tables and drank at its bar. His books, including Keep it Simple (written with Richard Whittington) and Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen, transmitted his simple, thoughtful approach to home cooks all over Britain. Featuring chefs Angela Hartnett and Jeremy Lee, baker and food writer Dan Lepard, former Editor of the Good Food Guide Tom Jaine, and the chef, restaurateur and writer Jacob Kenedy. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
18/06/1728m 23s

Women & Beer

Think beer. Think boys with beards? Think again. The last time Sheila Dillon reported on the women in British beer, in 2013, she met Sara Barton head brewer at Brewster's brewery in Lincolnshire. At the time Sara was the only woman head brewer in the country and women were drinking only a tenth of all the beer sold in the UK. Today that figure has nearly tripled, Sara has become the first woman to be named 'Brewer of the Year' by the Guild of Beer Writers, and women all around the UK are turning to jobs in brewing. And yet Sheila still prefers a glass of wine in the pub. In this programme, beer sommelier Jane Peyton introduces Sheila to some of the most exciting beers being brewed by women brewers (or brewsters) in the country. Louise Mulroy and Lucy Stevenson, co-creators of podcast 'We Made a Beer' demystify the art of brewing. Chemical engineer-come-head brewer at London's award winning Wild Card brewery shares a one-off brew created by a group of brewers on International Women's Day. We hear from 'FEM.ALE' a British festival for all celebrating beer brewed by women. And Sheila asks if there is a biological reason she remains unconvinced by a pint of bitter. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
11/06/1728m 20s

Cult Fiction and Food

From Confederacy of Dunces to Absolute Beginners and On The Road, Dan Saladino explores cult novels to find out how writers Jack Kerouac, Colin MacInnes and John Kenney Toole used food. Authors have always used food and drink in their narratives to help develop plots, bring characters to life and give a sense of place but Dan chooses three novels with in which food and drink plays a very specific role. In Jack Kerouac's On The Road, the "beat life" of the 1940's and 1950's turns out to be one of feast or famine. The book, a disguised autobiographical work based on his travel journals across America, contains some of the most delicious and rich descriptions of food, as well as mournful accounts of hunger and longing. Colin MacInnes, the author of the novel Absolute Beginners, set in late 1950's London, uses brief food and drink references to reveal the lifestyle and mind-set of a teenage counterculture and early modernist movement. DJ Ed Piller helps explains the surprising significance of a smoke salmon sandwich. And then there's A Confederacy of Dunces. A comic novel whose main character Ignatius has a legendary appetite for the junk food of New Orleans.
05/06/1739m 26s


Sheila Dillon takes a journey into the culinary use, history and the latest medical findings about turmeric. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a member of the ginger family of plants - and its rhizome, the part mainly used in cooking, has a deep orange-golden colour that marks it out. Responsible for this distinctive hue is the bioactive compound, curcumin. Turmeric - and curcumin - have attracted a lot of attention in recent years, and much has been claimed about medicinal properties. In India, where most turmeric is still grown, turmeric - or haldi - has long been revered and widely used both as an essential savoury food ingredient and as a medicine, with the golden rhizome being particularly valued within the ancient medical system of Ayurveda. Sheila investigates the health claims about turmeric and curcumin, talking to Dr Michael Mosley - former GP and presenter of BBC Two's Trust Me I'm A Doctor, about his team's recent research findings. Sheila also hears about an article published last month in British Medical Journal Case Reports, and speaks to its co-author Professor Jamie Cavenagh, a leading expert on blood cancer - and one of his patients Dieneke Ferguson, who turned to curcumin after all conventional treatment for her cancer was stopped. Also featuring in the programme are cook and food writer Monisha Bharadwaj - author of The Indian Cookery Course, Susie Emmett - radio producer who went to Andhra Pradesh, India, on the turmeric trail, as well as Dr Stephen Harris, Druce Curator of the Herbaria at Oxford University. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
28/05/1728m 25s

Mac 'n' Cheese

Sheila Dillon charts the rise of the humble mac'n'cheese: a dish that crosses culture and classes and has established itself as a popular comfort food across the world. We discover the history of the dish. Food historian Polly Russell tells us how a macaroni recipe first appeared in the UK in the 1700s and slowly it became more and more prevalent over the subsequent centuries. We'll hear how macaroni cheese became a staple in the UK: cheap and easy to make its popularity spread. It was also embraced by Caribbean cuisine, regularly eaten as a side dish, especially with Sunday lunch, and now there's even an annual celebration of the meal. Each May Glasgow hosts 'Pastaval' - a festival of Mac n Cheese. The event sells-out each year and is popular with everyone. And whilst you can still buy basic packet versions, tinned macaroni cheese and simple home-made macaroni cheese is easy to make, there are many 'going-to-town' on the dish: Lobster mac n cheese anyone? This is the story of a dish that crosses cultures and classes to be the world's favourite comfort food. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.
21/05/1727m 59s

The Chef Who Vanished - The Story of Jeremiah Tower

At the age of 30, with no formal training, Jeremiah Tower became a chef. His approach to cooking changed the food world for good, then he walked away. Dan Saladino tells the story of the man who many consider to be the first "celebrity chef". The food writer and broadcaster Anthony Bourdain has described Jeremiah Tower as a "dangerous person to know", to others he's the Jay Gatsby figure of the restaurant world. Born in the USA, brought up in Australia and England, his childhood was, on first appearances, a privileged one. He was born into a world of wealth, travel and a first class lifestyle. It was also however, strange and difficult with a mother and father who were often detached and uninterested in their young son. As he got to experience more of the world's best restaurants, hotels and ocean liners he sought comfort and pleasure in food, kitchens and cooking. At age 30, following studies at Harvard which resulted in a failed career as an architect, he answered a job advertisement to work in California's Chez Panisse restaurant, founded by the cook of America's counter culture Alice Waters. Both the restaurant and Jeremiah's cooking would become world famous. In 1984 he set up his own restaurant in San Francisco, Stars, which went on to become one of the most celebrated and lucrative restaurant in America. Jeremiah's approach to breaking free from French influences and cooking with local ingredients would go on to influence chefs and restaurants around the world. Evenings at Stars would become the stuff of legend with diners ranging from Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn to Pavarotti and the Beastie Boys. Just over a decade later Jeremiah Tower would put down his apron and walk away. Dan Saladino tells his story.
15/05/1728m 23s

The Herbal World of Jekka McVicar

Culinary herb grower Jekka McVicar shares her life through food with Sheila Dillon. Taking a walk through the small herb farm where Jekka grows some 600 varieties of herb (300 of them culinary), Sheila discovers a world of ancient knowledge, vivid flavours, and taste possibilities. Having worked closely with chefs from Jamie Oliver to Raymond Blanc, and played with her band Marsupilami at the first ever Glastonbury Festival (and being paid in milk), Jekka is also inspiring a new generation of chefs including Peter Sanchez-Iglesias at the Michelin-starred restaurant Casamia. Peter shows Sheila just two of the many ways he uses herbs in his highly original cooking. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
08/05/1728m 21s

Out Like a Lamb

Lamb. Long a staple of the UK dinner table. But one glance at the statistics and it's obvious that 'Generation Y' aren't inspired. Estimates suggest under 30s are buying just 15g of lamb a week. That's just over 10 lamb chops in a year and less than half the UK average. In this programme Sheila Dillon asks young butchers, food entrepreneurs and a 3rd generation sheep farmer in his thirties whether there's any saving shepherd's pie, lamb shanks and Irish stew. She gets a lesson in Iranian midweek lamb cooking from cook and author of 'The Saffron Tales' Yasmin Khan. And Ben Ebbrell and Barry Taylor from SORTEDfood share the lamb recipes which excite their 1.7 million Youtube subscribers. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
30/04/1728m 7s

The Potato

Sheila Dillon digs up the remarkable story of how potatoes changed the world, offer a whole spectrum of flavour, and might shape our food future. With Sheila are cook and food writer Anna Jones, Charles C. Mann - author of '1493 - How Europe's Discovery of the Americas Revolutionized Trade, Ecology and Life on Earth', and the potato revolutionary and agronomist Alan Wilson. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
23/04/1728m 19s

Food Stories from Venezuela Part 2: Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe

Dan Saladino meets a woman who believes Venezuela's escape from crisis rests on chocolate. Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe is on a mission to reclaim her country's former cacao bean glory.
18/04/1728m 10s

Food Stories from Venezuela: Eating in a Failed State.

Venezuela is seeing its worst economic crisis in living memory. As some of the most basic ingredients become unavailable or unaffordable Dan Saladino tells the food story.
10/04/1728m 9s


Blood in food is about as divisive as it comes. But Tim Hayward loves it. A rare steak, a carefully crisped slice of black pudding, a blood meringue...? In this programme Tim meets butchers, cooks and chefs determined to put blood back on the dining table. From the Fruit Pig Co. Cambridgeshire butchers taking black pudding to its traditional routes; Otto Tepassé an Austrian born restaurateur preserving and performing the theatrical French canard à la presse with a sumptuous sauce thickened with blood; to award winning writer Jennifer McLagan baking blood sweets - chocolate brownies, blood ice cream, and even blood cocktails. If the thought of a truly Bloody Mary makes you weak at the knees, don't adjust your set. As Tim explores the world of blood in food and drink, he also uncovers the deep relationship we have with blood - cultural, physiological, religious as well as culinary. Featuring Professor Emeritus of Cultural History Sir Christopher Frayling, and American author and academic John Edgar Browning. Presented by Tim Hayward. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
04/04/1728m 18s

Chef Dan Barber: The Third Plate

Dan Saladino profiles the influential US chef and writer Dan Barber, author of 'The Third Plate - Field Notes on the Future of Food'. Originally with plans to become a novelist, Dan Barber opened his first restaurant, Blue Hill, in Greenwich Village in 2000 followed by Blue Hill at Stone Barns in 2004. He had early success as a 'farm to table' chef, but has since been on a journey, documented in his book but still ongoing, to reimagine the relationships between chef and farmer, landscape and deliciousness - and much more. Citing flavour as a 'soothsayer', and a passionate advocate of the role of the chef in bringing about change in the wider world beyond the walls of the restaurant, he is currently in the UK with a project called 'WastED London' - an unusual temporary restaurant taking aim at the problem of food 'waste'. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward. Photo: Richard Boll.
26/03/1728m 25s

BBC Food & Farming Awards 2017: The Finalists

You've cast your nominations in the thousands. Now it's time to reveal who's in the running in the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2017. Judges including Giorgio Locatelli, Joanna Blythman, Allegra McEvedy, Stefan Gates, Romy Gill and Gill Meller help Sheila Dillon to reveal this year's finalists. They prepare to embark on journeys which will take them up and down the UK in search of the best British food and farming the country has to offer. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury.
20/03/1728m 17s

Tea: A Coffee Drinker's Guide, Part 2

Do we pay enough for tea? Dan Saladino - a long-term and deeply committed coffee drinker - continues his look at our love affair with the leaf. Dan catches up with the BBC's South Asia Correspondent Justin Rowlatt, who has reported on conditions for tea workers in Assam, India. He also discovers a world of 'rock-star' tea growers and learns how to tell the difference between CTC and orthodox tea - and why it matters. There is also advice on how to make a 'nice cup of tea' from... George Orwell. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
13/03/1728m 41s

Tea: A Coffee Drinker's Guide

Hardened coffee drinker Dan Saladino investigates tea's past, present and future and finds out how our preference for the leaf has changed over three centuries. He visits the location of Britain's first tea retailer, hears the adventures of legendary tea hunter John Fortune and visits the site of an auction house which oversaw 85 per cent of all global tea trade. In south west India we hear from a team of tea pluckers and get an insight into the skill and labour involved in producing tea. Do we pay enough for a cup of tea? It's a question Dan will develop in the second instalment of this tea story. Presented by Dan Saladino and produced in Bristol.
06/03/1728m 17s

Thailand: A Royal Food Legacy

Historian Dr Polly Russell and chef Ashley Palmer-Watts visit farming communities in the Northern Chang Mai province of Thailand who have given up farming opium in favour of Western vegetables and salad crops for fine dining restaurants in Thailand's biggest cities. It's one of a series of hundreds of national development projects pioneered by the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and started in Northern Thailand in 1969. Over the course of his reign Thailand's beloved monarch experimented with rice fields, vegetable beds, fish ponds, and a rice-mill within the grounds of his royal residence, before scaling the work up across the country. Polly and Ashley hear how these projects have become part of a food and farming system for Thailand. A food system that's unique in the world, but could provide a model for current opium growing regions. They hear how by growing Western vegetables, flowers and fruits and farming fish, a new supply chain for some of Thailand's finest restaurants is being developed which doesn't rely on expensive imports. Polly visits 'Gaggan' in Bangkok, recently voted best restaurant in Asia, by '50 Best Restaurant Awards' for the second year running, to discover how some of the best chefs in the world are working with the Royal Project. Presented by Dr Polly Russell & Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
26/02/1728m 15s

Let's Do Lunch

What did you eat for lunch today? Whatever you ate, according to our recent national survey you took less than half an hour to do it. Twenty five minutes twenty four to be precise. We're living in an era of grab-and-go. It's a sector of the food industry already worth £16.1 billion pounds and which forecasts suggest could rise by more than a third by 2021. If we eat, we do so 'al-desko'... or maybe we don't eat at all. Whether you opt for sausage rolls or sushi, last night's leftovers or a just a latte, Sheila Dillon hears what the modern British lunch break says about us. And what it might suggest about where our midday meal is headed. She meets the thinkers and cooks who believe that in time poor Britain, it's perfectly possible to reclaim your lunch break. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury.
19/02/1728m 3s


Sheila Dillon goes on a citrus journey, discovering vivid flavour possibilities and hidden histories. Joining Sheila are Catherine Phipps, food writer and creator of a new book 'Citrus - Recipes that Celebrate the Sour and the Sweet' out this week, Helena Attlee author of 'The Land Where Lemons Grow' and Michael Barker, Editor of Fresh Produce Journal. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
12/02/1728m 29s


What can one single dish can tell you about America's history? One particular bowl of soup gives us an insight about the future of cultures that convene around it. Gumbo is eaten by nearly everyone in New Orleans, but its past speaks of the deep inequalities in American history that still resonate to this day. The BBC's Dan Saladino looks into the origins of this dish and discovers influences from Native Americans, slaves from West Africa, settlers from Nova Scotia, and European immigrants from Spain, France and Italy. Dan tries to track down the perfect recipe for one of Louisiana's most famous dishes, and discover how the politics of which food belongs to whom, is still at play, hundreds of years later.
06/02/1728m 31s

Leah Chase: The cook who changed America

Meet 94 four year old Leah Chase. For seventy years she has led the kitchen at New Orleans famous Dooky Chase restaurant. During her time she's hosted US Presidents, and civil rights activists, and music legends from Ray Charles to Michael Jackson. Her specialty is serving creole food specialties like gumbo, fried chicken and sweet potatoes. Dan Saladino sits down with Leah as she tells her story through the food she's cooked and asks whether a restaurant can change the course of a country.
30/01/1728m 12s

Lancashire: My Food Roots

Sheila Dillon returns to her food roots in Lancashire, meeting people doing and creating extraordinary things - from food producers, to cooks to campaigners. As nominations come in for the 2017 BBC Food and Farming Awards, celebrating people and businesses from all over the UK - Sheila is taking the opportunity to celebrate the county she grew up in, and is going on a road trip through the county of the Red Rose. Graham Kirkham makes an unpasteurised Lancashire cheese near Goosnargh that's now celebrated far and wide - but things were nearly a very different story. Ian and Sue Steel made an audacious offer to a coffee merchants that was founded in Lancaster in 1837. They're now running a business with their two sons, that's growing and thriving, and are guiding that deep history into a new caffeinated future. Every region needs a storyteller for its food, and for Lancashire that person is Nigel Haworth, respected chef based at the Michelin-starred Northcote - who opened a pub in the Ribble Valley in 2004 specifically highlighting local produce and local producers, which was truly groundbreaking at that time. Kay Johnson is a food campaigner who grew up in Lancashire, worked abroad, and came back to the county six years ago. Noticing a deep disconnect around food, she's working to reconnect people, food producers, and the fresh local produce of the region. Kay draws direct inspiration from a social reform movement that was involved with setting up the Sailor's and Soldier's Free Buffet that operated at Preston station during World War One. Sheila meets James Arnold, history curator at The Harris in Preston, on the platform to find out the remarkable story of what took place. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
26/01/1728m 26s

Introducing... The BBC Food and Farming Awards 2017

The BBC Food & Farming Awards are back. Based on public nominations, the awards celebrate the unsung heroes of UK food and farming; From school cooks to chip shops, from cider makers to supermarkets, corner shops to carrot farmers. In the awards' 17th year, Giorgio Locatelli and Yotam Ottolenghi are part of a national appeal by chefs, cooks, food writers and food producers from across the country, calling on you to nominate the people who make food great where you live. And in 2017, the BBC Food & Farming Awards are going global. For the first time, the judges will be honouring someone who has changed the way the world thinks about food and farming. Let the search commence... Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury NB. The BBC Food & Farming Awards will open for public nominations on Sunday 15th January for 2 weeks, closing on Sunday 29th January. Details can be found at
15/01/1727m 52s

Belfast: Creating a New Food Tradition

In this series of four programmes broadcast over Christmas and the New Year, Sheila Dillon explores the link between tradition and food. Sheila ends the series by exploring the creation of a new food culture - in Northern Ireland. It started with the revival of the St George's market in Belfast - now in full swing, and hundreds of young businesses are now thriving. Sheila tours the market with chef Paula McIntyre and meets people with a new take on traditional Irish food. She catches up with butter and cheese producers who were in the vanguard of this new movement, and asks how you carry on innovating - and what they've learned on the way. And she travels to the island of Rathlin off the north coast of Ireland, to meet a family who are making an international business out of growing kelp, and exporting it to Japan. Producer: Elizabeth Burke.
08/01/1728m 6s

Loch Fyne: Celebrating Food Tradition

In this series of four programmes broadcast over the Christmas period, Sheila Dillon explores the link between tradition and food. Food can bind a community together, and give it new life. In this third programme of the series, Sheila travels to Loch Fyne to see how this rural Scottish community has preserved its food traditions, with recipes handed down for generations. She discovers how local food businesses have become international, working together to sell their fish in the Far East - despite the frustrations of poor broadband connections. And she eats dinner with a group of local food producers, feasting on mutton - a traditional dish for the Christmas holiday. Producer: Elizabeth Burke.
01/01/1728m 4s

Wild Boar

In this series of four programmes broadcast over Christmas, Sheila Dillon explores the link between tradition and food. For Christmas Day, Sheila celebrates The Wild Boar Feast - an ancient Viking tradition which still lingers on in Britain (think of 'pigs in blankets') and inspires our love of the Christmas Ham. Historian Eleanor Barraclough introduces Sheila to a stuffed boar's head in the cellars of Queen's College, Oxford, and explains about how the boar was at the centre of mid-winter pagan fertility rituals. In Cumbria, Sheila meets a field of wild boar and talks to farmer Peter Gott about the fearsome intelligence of his huge beasts. Scandinavian chef Trine Hahnemann reveals the huge importance of the Christmas boar in Sweden, and how to make a meatball sandwich for Boxing Day. And chef Giorgio Locatelli explores the passion for wild boar across Italy. With music from The Boar's Head Carol, the oldest printed carol in English, and recipes from Trine Hahnemann and Giorgio Locatelli. Producer: Elizabeth Burke.
25/12/1628m 4s

A Passion for Cake

In this series of four programmes broadcast over Christmas, Sheila Dillon explores the link between tradition and food. First, in the run-up to Christmas, she takes an irreverent look at baking - and the connection between baking and being a "Good Wife and Mother. She begins by visiting a "Clandestine Cake Club", which meets every month in a secret location. This month's location takes the theme of the Mad Hatter's tea-party; the members have risen to the challenge and the cakes are truly extravagant. The founder of the cake club, Lynne Hill, sets out her vision for a world brought together by sharing cake. Sheila visits a cake-decorating competition for teenagers, and talks to girls about the particularly feminine lure of cake. She meets a cultural historian of cake, Professor Nicola Humble, whose book on cake traces our current passion back to Elizabethan days, and who explains the long connection between women and cake. But we also have a perspective from a man devoted to cake, former Bake-Off winner John Whaite. He reflects on the connection between gender and cake, and introduces his alternative take on Christmas Cake. With cake recipes, both ancient and modern, for the website. Producer: Elizabeth Burke.
20/12/1628m 12s

The Future of Cheese

Dan Saladino finds out what the future holds for cheese, including the role of raw milk. It's a story of microbes, mystery, discord and symphony. Dan is joined by Bronwen Percival, cheese buyer for Neal's Yard Dairy and contributor to the new Oxford Companion to Cheese. Also featuring John Gynther from Arla Unika, cheesemakers Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore, food writer Patrick McGuigan, researcher Dr Mélanie Roffet-Salque from the University of Bristol, and epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
12/12/1628m 7s

Sisters' Feast

'Pop-up' chef and food writer Olia Hercules, The Great British Bake Off contestant turned Youtube star Chetna Makan, Film academic come supper club hostess Dr Alissa Timoshkina and cafe chef / 'instagrammer' / writer Elly Curshen are among ten women from different food cultures coming together for the first time to cook a truly female feast. It's a 'pop-up' dinner hosted and put together in Bristol by Romy Gill and Kim Somauroo to raise money for international charity 'Action Against Hunger'. Sheila Dillon speaks to the 'Severn Sisters' as well as their guests, including former BBC Food & Farming Awards winning Shauna Guinn and Sam Evans, about what it means to be female in food in 2016. Also interviewed are Eleonora Galasso, Natasha Corrett, Rosie Birkett, Laura Field, Fiona Beckett and Xanthe Clay. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
05/12/1628m 18s

Cookbooks of 2016

Sheila Dillon and guests discuss the year's food and cookery books - focussing on debut food books. Joining Sheila in the studio is cook, gardener and writer Jojo Tulloh, journalist and food writer Alex Renton, and the Features Editor at the trade magazine The Bookseller, Tom Tivnan. There's also tales of cider, science and rogueishness with drinks writer Henry Jeffreys. Also offering up her 2016 choices - is food loving BBC 6 Music DJ, Cerys Matthews. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
28/11/1628m 26s

Our Wild Spice Rack

Sheila Dillon heads to Galloway, Scotland, to meet forager and wild food teacher Mark Williams - who claims to be able to match anything in our spice racks with flavours found in the wild, in the UK. Can he assemble a 'native spice rack'? What might a 'wild Scottish curry' taste like? Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
21/11/1628m 17s

Cooking clubs in Basqueland

Spain's Basque region exerts a powerful influence on global cuisine, Dan Saladino finds out why. Heston Blumenthal and writer Harold Mcgee provide insights into this food culture.
14/11/1628m 17s

Gavin and the Chinese Food Olympics

Every four years, the most established names in Chinese cuisine pitch their skills against each other in an international competition which has become known as the Olympics of Chinese food. This year the World Championship for Chinese Cuisine was held in Europe for the first time in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Teams of chefs descend on the competition from around the world and compete for highly prized gold, silver and bronze medals. The pressure and the standard are high. In 2016, another first. The first UK based team are travelling to Rotterdam to take on the champions. Among them is 25 year old sous chef Gavin Chun. Gavin and his team are going for gold. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury.
07/11/1628m 9s

Pumpkins and Winter Squash

Sheila Dillon and special guests discover a delicious world of pumpkins and winter squash. It's Halloween time, and pumpkins are making their annual appearance in windows and on doorsteps. But these winter squash are part of a fascinating family of fruit (yes, fruit - not vegetable) with huge culinary potential that many feel uncomfortable around. This programme aims to change that. Sheila invites chef, restaurateur and squash-lover Romy Gill to her kitchen, where they're joined by Neil Munro - manager of the Heritage Seed Library at Garden Organic (formerly the Henry Doubleday Research Association). To help with the deeper history, they enlist the help of Ken Albala, Professor of Food Studies at the University of the Pacific in California. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
01/11/1628m 28s

Terra Madre Part 2: A Global Food Gathering

From ancient Egyptian bread to Native American food, Dan Saladino reports from Terra Madre.
24/10/1628m 14s

Terra Madre Part 1: A Global Food Gathering

Dan Saladino reports from Slow Food's global food event Terra Madre with stories from Africa. Terra Madre (aka Mother Earth) is probably one of the world's biggest gatherings around food. Thousands of farmers, cooks and producers travel from 140 countries and five different continents to congregate in the northern Italian city of Turin. Hundreds of thousands of people simply interested in food also travel from Italy and beyond to join in the spectacle; to watch events, join discussions and (importantly) experience the most diverse range of food and drink imaginable. The biannual event is organised by the international Slow Food movement to raise awareness about issues around food and drink and to celebrate the diversity of food cultures around the world. It is also a unique opportunity to hear inspirational stories of how people produce and cook food. Dan Saladino was there to collect as many stories as he could from around the world. Over two editions of The Food Programme he tells highlights from Terra Madre. In this first programme the focus is on Africa and features the story of three people who in their home countries are trying to make a positive change through food. The first comes from a village thousands of metres up within the highlands of south-eastern Ethiopia, Rira. There, honey producers use bamboo to create bee hives. They smoke the bark of a tree to "perfume" the hive and attract the bees. These long bamboo tubes are coated in leaves, sealed with animal manure and then placed 25m high up in trees among the rainforest canopy. In recent years the honey they collect has been sold to the producers of a honey wine in Ethiopia which is both traditional and popular. However the prices paid for this hard to get honey have been low. Terra Madre is an opportunity for producers around the world to meet and exchange ideas and over the years the Rira villagers have met honey producers from Macedonia, Brazil, Japan and Indonesia. From this "knowledge exchange" the Rira were able to set up a co-operative, improve the quality of the honey and sell it in Ethiopia's biggest towns and cities. This has meant more people are now able to make a real living from honey production and remain in the village (and important opportunity when the country is seeing large numbers leave rural areas and move to the cities). The second story comes from Uganda and is told by Edward Mukiibi who oversees Slow Food projects in the country. One of the most important involves the world's (and the UK's) most popular fruit, the banana. In Uganda 50 different varieties are used on a daily basis. Some are used to brew beers or distil drinks that feature in ceremonies. The banana we know well in the UK is the Cavendish, the variety that has dominated the global trade for more than half a century. The fungal, Panama disease, has had an impact on Cavendish plantations around the world leading to reduced production in Australia and Asia. In Africa, more Cavendish plantations are being established. Edward explains in the programme why he's now on a mission to save Uganda's traditional banana varieties and protect the country's biodiversity. The final story from Sierra Leone and is that of the experience of a child soldier who was involved in the violent civil war that tore the country apart in the 1990's. Ibrahim was abducted by the RUF rebel force at the age of nine. As he explains to Dan, he was involved in atrocities and had to fight against the government's forces in armed combat. For seven years he lived and fought with this rebel army. When he finally managed to escape he was rejected by his community. It became clear his return wouldn't would easy and forgiveness hard to win. In the programme Ibrahim describes how food and farming was the key to his eventual redemption. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino. Photo: Carla Capalbo.
17/10/1627m 34s

The Apple: How British a Fruit?

As apple fairs and celebrations are held all around the country, Sheila Dillon travels to an orchard in Devon for a conversation with drinks writer Pete Brown, who has just written a book about his two-year journey into all things apple: 'The Apple Orchard'. Sheila and Pete are joined at Otter Farm by its owner - food grower and writer Mark Diacono. From the Hoary Morning to the Bramley's Seedling to the Old Somerset Russet, from Kazakhstan to Paganism to the Garden of Eden - this is a celebration of a fruit with an incredible story to tell and with a unique place both in Britain, and the world. Please note: the podcast of this programme is a special extended edition. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
09/10/1631m 23s

Diet and Dementia

For the 850 thousand families in the UK living with dementia, the simple daily practise of eating a meal can escalate into a dreaded challenge. Spurred on by a listener's personal experience, Sheila Dillon meets people living with dementia to ask how their relationship with food has changed. American food writer Paula Wolfert has written award winning books on the food of the Mediterranean. In 2012, she was diagnosed with a form of dementia and after careful research she transformed her daily diet. As Paula prepares to release what will be her final book, Sheila speaks to her about what food means now. Sheila also meets James Ashwell, a young entrepreneur whose online business venture was inspired by caring for his mother who loved to cook. Sheila hears from Professor Margaret Rayman, who heads the nutritional medicine course at the University of Surrey. Her book 'Healthy Eating to Reduce the Risk of Dementia' draws on hundreds of academic papers into nutrition and the brain. And in an area which still requires so much research, Sheila speaks to an American academic embarking on what could be the 'gold standard' study into how what we eat affects the development of dementia. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury Photo credit: Alison van Diggelen.
03/10/1648m 33s

Food Stories from Syria 2

This week, as aid convoys carrying food into Syria have been under attack, Dan Saladino revisits the conflict. A year ago, he reported on how displaced Syrians managed to eat and survive in conflict and its impact on the country's ancient food culture. In this episode he investigates how food is being used as a weapon - and target - of war. He hears from the World Food Programme about new efforts they've been making to reach over 4 million people with food aid, many of whom live in besieged and isolated areas, with staff risking their lives to do so. Bakeries have reportedly been targeted in bombing raids and traders have been profiteering by controlling the availability of food, creating a wartime economy. Yet despite the attacks and broken ceasefires, efforts are already being made to create new food businesses for when peace returns. Work to train up beekeepers and tomato growers is already taking place to sustain a post-conflict Syria. Here in the UK, Dan meets some of those whom the Government pledged to resettle from camps outside Syria. In Mansfield, Nottinghamshire he shares lunch with two families for whom Eid is a very different and emotional experience. We also hear from American-Syrian journalist Dalia Mortada who has charted the Syrian diaspora to see how this age-old food culture is being shared and celebrated around the world. Presented by Dan Saladino Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
28/09/1636m 36s

An Antarctic Chef

Charles Green. Chas to his family, 'cook' to his colleagues. A young baker whose sense of adventure drew him to a career cooking on the sea. You may never have heard of Charles, but you certainly will have heard of an expedition on which he played a crucial role... Charles was cook for the crew of the 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. A disastrous expedition which ended up lasting for more than two years. The men were forced to camp on moving ice flows, and eventually a remote Antarctic beach on Elephant Island. But against all odds, every man on Shackleton's ship The Endurance survived. In August 1916, the men were rescued. They were on the edge of starvation. During their time on the ice, Charlie Green cooked tirelessly using his creative flair to concoct meals out of exceptionally meagre means. His food kept the men alive. He went back to the Antarctic with Shackleton on the expedition which would be Shackleton's last. But then, despite living until the 1970s, he faded into obscurity. Known only for slide shows that he gave locally with the well-known images of the expedition. One hundred years on, another Antarctic chef Gerard Baker, uncovers the extraordinary life led by Charles Green and his version of two years cooking for the men of the Endurance. One of the greatest survival stories of all time. Presented by Gerard Baker and Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury.
18/09/1624m 13s

Cooking for Poldark

As the much-anticipated new series of Poldark returns to our screens, most eyes will be on Aidan Turner but behind the scenes a raft of experts has worked to ensure each setting is as accurate to the time as possible - including the food. The Food Programme was given special access on set to see the effort that goes into recreating the fantastic feasts that marked so many social functions in the Georgian era and were a marker of class and wealth. Food Stylist Genevieve Taylor is used to creating wonderful images of food for cookery books and adverts but in her first period drama she faced a new set of challenges - researching the typical foods available at the time and how they were served, how to recreate them, which 'cheats' to use all before transporting the food to set intact, dressing the scene and preventing the crew from stealing the goodies. She invites us into her kitchen and to the secret set locations for an insight into the detailed effort made - but it's not easy. From sourcing obscure fruits, to whipping up dishes under a gazebo, balancing tiered cakes on wobbly dishes to turning out jellies in front of a whole crew - can she impress Ross Poldark, the Directors and the audience? Presented by Genevieve Taylor and Sheila Dillon Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
12/09/1627m 54s

Coffee and the God Shot. The Drinks Menu

Dan Saladino journeys into coffee's past, present and future. He discovers a world of new flavours, far from his formative espresso experiences in Sicily - and finds that things are more precarious than they may seem. Are we living in a golden age of coffee? Behind every cup of coffee is a story - or rather many stories. A whole chain, from people to processes, all of which make a difference to the taste and experience. Featured in the programme are Stephen Leighton - roaster and founder of Hasbean, James Hoffman - author of 'The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing', Barista Claire Wallace - Winner of the 2015 Scottish Aeropress Championships, Professor Robert W Thurston - coffee shop owner and Senior Editor of 'Coffee - A Comprehensive Guide', Alejandro Martinez - Coffee Grower in El Salvador and Sarada Krishnan - Director of Horticulture at the Denver Botanic Gardens and coffee scientist..... and Joe of Brew in Bristol who makes Dan's espressos when he takes a break from The Food Programme office. The podcast of this programme features extra material, including coffee businessman Kenfe Bellay on the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony and a new coffee story from the Ark of Taste. Producer: Rich Ward.
06/09/1642m 6s

Whisky Britannia: The Drinks Menu

With 20 million casks lying in storage maturing, Scotch whisky looks set to hold its strong place in the world market for decades to come. It's the third biggest industry in Scotland, contributing £3.3 billion to the economy per year. But the landscape is changing - both within Scotland and across the UK. Recent years have seen dozens of new distilleries opening in Scotland and also in Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Sheila Dillon celebrates 'Whisky Britannia' to discover who exactly is choosing to start distilling whisky, how you perfect your craft and flavour and become distinctive in such a busy marketplace. Do these new brands have anything to offer which the established companies haven't tried? Reporter and whisky lover Rachel McCormack also uncovers the secrets of perfecting a blend, and trying to please a foreign market who may also mix it with coconut or green tea. Whisky writer and expert Dave Broom shares some of the extraordinary things he's seen but warns many markets from Iceland to Japan are keen to get a taste of the action too. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
29/08/1628m 24s

Time for an Aperitif? The Drinks Menu

In French, 'l'aperitif', in Italian, 'l'aperitivo'. We don't of course have a translation in English, but the aperitif, the drinks and snacks which proceed a meal have long captured our imaginations. The sounds and smells of Mediterranean holidays, the tastes of a summer day... and those glamorous and just a bit tacky TV adverts from the 70s. ('Dubonnet vous?') Food writer Diana Henry fell for those adverts, and then experienced l'aperitif as a teenager on a French exchange. Now, with the rise and rise of low alcohol, sprtizy cocktails in our pubs and bars, Diana wants you to embrace the aperitif, in its many forms and flavours. She explores the history of the aperitivo in Italy, from its Roman origins to its significance for the Futurist movement. In France, she reflects on the cultural and social significance of aperitif, and hears how once deemed old fashioned, brands like Suze, and Dubonnet are making a comeback. And in Britain, she discovers chefs making their own infusions with ingredients from a Suffolk garden and the Somerset countryside. In the first of The Food Programme's summer drinks series 'The Drinks Menu', Diana wants you to take a moment, a cold glass, some ice and a bottle and appreciate an aperitif. Presented by Diana Henry Produced by Clare Salisbury.
21/08/1628m 10s

Roger Protz: A Life Through Beer

From being tucked under the pub bar stool as a baby to getting into Fleet Street pubs underage, Roger Protz's passion for beer began early. He's spent 40 years on a mission to celebrate and protect brewing traditions - writing about brewing and beers including over 20 editions of the Good Beer Guide. Arguably what he was writing about then is what many hold important today - in both food and drink. His passion and excitement about innovation and new flavours hasn't waned. He took Sheila to one of his favourite local pubs to try some new local ales before sharing more about his life and career. His writing saw him forge a path to parts of the world where few were travelling - including hunting out beers and brewers in Czechoslovakia before the fall of the Iron Curtain, his eyes were opened to Belgian beers and tastings through France, and across to the USA, all of which he shared with his readers. Roger has also worked for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) since the 70s helping bring real ale back from the brink of extinction as a threatened minority drink to a thriving British craft industry. His work has also seen him fighting to help save pubs - to put it simply, 'no pub, no ale'. But his opinions haven't been without controversy and while he celebrates the rise of the microbrewers, CAMRA is now asking its members on whether it should remodel itself and embrace all beers and beer drinkers. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.
15/08/1628m 15s

The Surprising Strawberry

2016's strawberry solstice fell as the UK's strawberry pickers embarked on a bigger crop than ever before. Strawberries have become a supermarket staple - no longer a seasonal treat. But as our appetite for the berries has increased, production it seems, is becoming more complicated. Californian strawberry farmers, who produce one of the biggest crops in the world, are facing some of the most challenging times in recent history. Back in post-Brexit Britain, fruit farmers are looking for assurance that they'll still attract pickers from the continent. Yet the strawberry is interwoven into our culture like no other fruit, and when good, can be the flavour, scent and colour of summer. Chef Jeremy Lee, author Jane McMorland Hunter, farmer Marion Regan, professor Julie Guthman and winemakers Ron and Judith Gillies help Sheila Dillon unravel the surprising story of the strawberry. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Clare Salisbury.
07/08/1628m 17s

Raising the Pulse

Pulses are little marvels - protein packed lentils, peas and beans are cheap, good for health and help the soil. They're central to many food cultures including Italy and France but as a nation we eat very few other than baked beans. Now the Food and Agriculture Organisation has announced the 'Year of the Pulse' to encourage us to eat more but they may be met with reluctance from some quarters. Sheila Dillon's panel will kick off any tarnished reputation of wind and worthiness with tips on how to prepare pulses with ease and how to choose them. Chef Sanjay Kumar and cookery expert and author Jenny Chandler get cooking in the studio with a breakfast sambhar from Goa and 'black badgers and bacon' - a traditional Black Country dish better known as grey peas and bacon which tastes far better than the name would suggest. Farmers across the UK grow fava beans to help enrich the soil yet most of them are exported or fed to animals. Nick Saltmarsh was so shocked when he learnt this that he set up a company to market British beans to consumers and he's now asking farmers to grow other varieties especially. In addition to dried and tinned pulses he's selling them as snacks and flours and looking into pastas and other uses for them. Sheila's also discovered a beer made from British fava beans and now chocolate covered pulses are hitting the shelves. It's a hard job but someone's got to try them for you. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
01/08/1628m 25s

A Fat Lot of Good

The range of fats and oils available to us is growing but the advice has changed dramatically. Sheila Dillon looks to cut through the latest thinking to help gain clarity of which we should be using when. She's joined in the studio by Dr Michael Mosley whose recent investigation looked into how the composition of saturated and polyunsaturated fats changed when heated with food and resulted in the production of dangerous aldehydes. Sheila finds out what response there has been since the programme and how he's changed his own cooking and buying habits but what questions should we be asking when we eat out? Over the past decades animal fats have lost out in popularity and newer products like coconut oil have risen in prominence. Yet a butcher from Clonmel in Tipperary has seen his dripping crowned 'supreme champion' in the Great Taste awards - could this signify a change of thinking on what was once classed 'unhealthy fats'. Meanwhile in parts of Italy a new disease is threatening olive trees. N.B. In this programme, mustard oil is used. Due to the high levels of the allergen erucic acid present in mustard oil, EU regulations state that the oil must be marked for 'external use only'. However, it continues to be widely used in Indian cooking and is often recommended by chefs to create authentic dishes.
29/07/1628m 34s

Kitchens of Power

Why is cheese essential when the German Chancellor comes for dinner? Dan Saladino explains why a plate of food shouldn't be taken at face value in this special episode of the Food Programme, made in collaboration with the Food Chain on The World Service. This week we enter an arena usually hidden from public view; the kitchens behind the most powerful people on the planet, where politics, policy and diplomacy are the main ingredients. For millennia, international relations have been massaged by the chefs working inside palaces and state kitchens and their food might have influenced some of the biggest decisions in history. Dan meets Gilles Bragard, the founder of the world's most exclusive culinary club, Le Club des Chefs Des Chefs, which brings together 20 people who cook for Heads of State. Gilles shares some food secrets, including President Putin's food security protocols. We visit the kitchens of Hampton Court Palace, where in 16th century England, wine fountains and roasted meats were cooked to help Henry VIII impress and intimidate foreign dignitaries. The White House kitchen, is perhaps the most influential in the modern era and Sam Kass, former chef and close friend to the Obamas, explains how policies were cooked up in State kitchens. Professor Stephen Chan of London's School of Oriental and African Studies tells the story behind Robert Mugabe's lavish feasts. David Geisser, a former Vatican Swiss Guard, provides insights into the culinary preferences of Pope Francis and finally, we hear from a journalist in Brussels who has witnessed some recent and dramatic EU meals, including the former British Prime Minister David Cameron's last supper with European leaders. Producer: Emily Thomas.
29/07/1627m 50s

Albania and the Cheese Road

Dan Saladino travels on a new road in Albania that leads to an undiscovered cheese world.
18/07/1628m 13s

School food: An uncertain future

In 2013, The School Food Plan was published aiming to revolutionise food in schools across England, and to show countries around the world what providing good food in schools could look like. Out of the policy came 'universal infant free school meals', dubbed by the Government as "good news" for any family with small children at infant school. A £600 million commitment to giving children a hot meal at lunchtime. But in this programme, one of the authors of the School Food Plan says the Government failed to listen to the advice it asked for. Now thousands of primary schools across England face funding cuts which could see them struggling to provide school lunches to tens of thousands of pupils. Sheila Dillon hears how a Government report on funding food in small schools was never published and asks what the future holds for school food across the UK in an uncertain political climate. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
10/07/1628m 14s

Brexit and Food: A Food Programme Special

Dan Saladino outlines the big food issues we're facing because of Brexit. From the impact of a devalued pound to longer term questions over the future of how we farm, produce, buy and sell food. Dan goes on the road in search of answers. The podcast of this programme is a special extended edition featuring Angela Hartnett. Producer: Rich Ward. Photo: Artur Melez Tixiliski.
04/07/1634m 39s

That Gut Feeling: Part Two

Dan Saladino returns to the world of the gut microbiota, the vast array of microbes within us all. From the Amazon Basin to East Africa to the life underneath our feet; food will never be quite the same again. Featuring Tim Spector, author of The Diet Myth, Jeff Leach, co-founder of the American Gut Project, microbiome scientist Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, food professor and author Ken Albala, and DJs Lisa and Alana Macfarlane - aka The Mac Twins. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
27/06/1628m 30s

Food, Fishing and the Faroes

Dan Saladino reports on food, survival and fishing from the Faroe Islands. From fermented sheep's head to whale blubber he finds out how people eat on the remote archipelago. For many generations many of these traditonal foods were only eaten in family homes, often having associations with poverty and difficult times. Things are changing however and dishes from the past are now helping to drive a restaurant boom. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
20/06/1630m 8s

That Gut Feeling: Part One

Dan Saladino discovers the world of the gut microbiota, the vast array of microbes within us all. From East Africa to the White House, it's a story that'll change the way you eat. Dan is joined by Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, and author of The Diet Myth - The Real Science Behind What We Eat. Tim tells the story of how he became fascinated by the gut microbiome and our diet. The programme also features a Dutch draper named Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, co-founder of the American Gut Project Jeff Leach, evolutionary biochemist Dr Nick Lane, and Alexandre Meybeck - a Senior Officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
13/06/1629m 24s

An Archive for Food

In the British Library there is an archive of life story sound recordings which tells the true story of how our food has changed over the past century. Until now, this collection has been accessible only by visiting the British Library. Now, for the first time, the 'National Life Stories project' is being made public online. Featuring hundreds of voices, and thousands of hours of interviews, it is one of the most comprehensive and revealing resources we have on food in the UK. Contributors range from chefs like Shaun Hill and Albert Roux, to biscuit factory managers, from butchers to apple growers. In this edition, The Food Programme is collaborating with the British Library to bring you highlights from the 'National Life Stories' archive. Historian Polly Russell picks voices which shed light on hidden parts of the food industry, from restaurant kitchens to the high street. And in recounting these histories to today's chefs, restaurateurs and shop owners, she finds how working in British food has changed. Presented by Sheila Dillon with Polly Russell & Barley Blyton Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
05/06/1629m 33s

Diana Henry: A Life Through Food (Part 2)

Food writer Diana Henry has just collected a James Beard Award in America for her latest book 'A Bird in the Hand'. Straight from the plane she joined Sheila Dillon at the Bristol Food Connections Festival. In Part 1 of the interview she shared about growing up in Antrim, how a revelatory French exchange fuelled her excitement about cooking and starting out in TV. She shared works by Naguib Mahfouz and Seamus Heaney. In this second part, she shares more of her chosen excerpts on food - including memoirs, online journalism and restaurant reviews - and explains what each of the authors bring that inspires and excites her. The podcast including both parts of this interview are available from this programme page. Readers: Rebecca Ripley and Sam Woolf Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
24/05/1647m 38s

Best Food Producer: The Winner

Part two of a road trip which took BBC Food & Farming Awards judges Yotam Ottolenghi and Sheila Dillon from the Outer Hebrides, to Cheshire's pastures and on to South west Wales. Which is where they met the winners of this year's award. They are Charcutier Ltd. A young couple producing bacons, hams, cured and smoked products and charcuterie. In this programme, Sheila and Yotam visit Felin y Glyn Farm in Pontnewydd to find how Illtud Llyr Dunsford and Liesel Taylor are pioneering a British charcuterie revolution; making delicious meat products and revitalising their local food scene. Presented by Sheila Dillon & produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
13/05/1627m 58s

Best Food Producer: The Finalists

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sheila Dillon meet BBC Food and Farming Awards's best food producers.
06/05/1627m 59s

BBC Food and Farming Awards 2016: Special Edition

Sheila Dillon presents the 2016 BBC Food & Farming Awards in this extended online special. At the ceremony in Bristol, Sheila and three co-hosts - Yotam Ottolenghi, Angela Hartnett and Stefan Gates - guide us through the stories of the finalists and reveal this year's winners. This full-length edition, available to download and listen online, also features an extended version of the Derek Cooper Outstanding Achievement Award, presented this year to Dr Joan Morgan. The ceremony marked the climax of a long process - starting with listeners’ nominations, then an expert team of judges sifting through your nominations in each of the categories, before making their visits right across the UK. On stage at the ceremony, Sheila is joined by award givers including Jancis Robinson, Ken Hom, Mitch Tonks and the BBC Director General Lord Tony Hall. The finalists - and their stories - are insightful, inspiring… and delicious. Producer: Rich Ward
05/05/1652m 26s

Bristol - A story of a city through its food

Sheila Dillon and Genevive Taylor explore why Bristol has such a strong food scene.
24/04/1628m 23s

Food in Extreme Places: Space (3/3)

Food in the most extreme cooking environment, space. Dan Saladino tries menus for Mars.
18/04/1628m 10s

Food in Extreme Places: The Submarine (2/3)

Continuing our series of programmes on cooking and eating in challenging conditions in remote places: The Royal Navy's submarines make their own air and water so food is the one factor limiting how long they can remain at sea. Sheila Dillon explores life, and the role food plays in it, on board HMS Artful- a nuclear-powered but not nuclear-armed submarine. More than simply for nutrition, food acts as a marker of the day and time in a world without sunlight and is crucial in maintaining morale. So how do you order enough food for 140 crew for up to 3 months at sea, store it in confined spaces and cook for a 24 hour operation while coping with the vessel diving or having to keep silence in a stealth operation? Sheila learns about the naval favourites 'Cheesy Wham-bam' and 'Nelly's Wellies', how they mark an important occasion and works out if the chef if the most popular job to have on board. This episode follows on from eating in the Antarctic. Next is food in space. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
11/04/1628m 28s

Food in Extreme Places: Antarctica (1/3)

Across all of the world, weather doesn't get more extreme than the Antarctic winter. The continent is plunged into 24 hour darkness from from March to October with strong polar winds and temperatures that can dip to minus 50. But for the staff of the Halley Research station, work and life goes on. In 2014 experienced Antarctic chef Gerard Baker joined the base for the cold Antarctic winter to cook for the team. In the first of a special Food Programme series documenting food in extreme environments, Gerard shares his diary with Sheila Dillon. She hears what it takes to be an Antarctic chef. From the daily baking bread, to planning for months of mealtimes with no contact, or supplies, from the outside world. When crisis strikes on base, we hear the real importance of a good meal. Next week, Sheila Dillon is in an underwater kitchen on board a submarine. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
03/04/1628m 12s

Food Is Mad - The Update

From the guerilla gardener Ron Finley in South Central LA fighting the law to grow vegetables to the project training children in Brazilian favelas to train as chefs, Dan Saladino has shared some inspiring and life changing food projects shared at the MAD symposium in Copenhagen in 2014. But what's happened since then? He wants to hear what those projects have gone on to achieve. MAD (the word for food in Danish) was founded by the celebrated chef of the restaurant Noma, Rene Redzepi. In his own words, it's curated by a group of "chefs, waiters, a former banker and an anthropologist". To some it's a festival of ideas, to others it's like listening to a "food mix tape", over two days an audience of 600 chefs, writers and food obsessives hear a series of presentations about cooking, restaurants, food history and activism. But that was just the start. Ron Finley, a gardener from Los Angeles was prosecuted for growing food in a patch of land in front of his house. He took on the authorities and changed the law. His story has inspired people all over the world. Now his story has been made into an award-winning feature film, showing how other gardeners in South Central LA - gang-members Spicey and Kenya, 9 year old Quimonie and a man just released from a 30 year prison term are changing their lives simply by growing food. Meanwhile FruitaFeia, a Portuguese project to save ugly fruit from going to waste, has 2000 people on their waiting list and is looking to expand while GustoMovida, the Brazilian project training disadvantaged young people is preparing for the Olympics. Presented by Dan Saladino Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
24/03/1627m 58s

The Pizza

Dan Saladino charts the rise, fall and rise of traditional Neapolitan pizza. He's joined by Daniel Young whose "Where to Eat Pizza" lists 1700 great pizzerias around the world. A common theme in the book, Daniel argues, is that after decades of competition from less authentic rivals, the Neapolitan style pizza is making an impact on restaurant scenes across Europe, Asia and north America. Professor John Dickie, the author of Delizia: The epic history of the Italians and their food, explains the birth of the Neapolitan pizza in the 18th and 19th centuries on the streets of Naples, then one of the most densely populated cities in the world. What emerged was a pizza that was quickly cooked at high tempertaures and was soft and moist enough to be folded and eaten on the streets. The current renaiisance of the pizza can also be seen in the UK. Dan meets some of the pizzaioli (pizza chefs) who have taken a centuries old food and taken it to new heights. Presented by Dan Saladino.
21/03/1627m 49s


Fermentation is one of our oldest methods for preserving food. All around the world people have been transforming food with the help of microbes for thousands of years. The problem is, this simple method has had an identity crisis. We tend either see it as a fashionable fad, or a strange science. But there are people who want things to change. So in this programme Sheila Dillon meets 'The fermenters'. Ukranian food writer and chef Olia Hercules, who grew up with fermented foods; Roopa Gulati, using fermentation to explore her Indian heritage; entrepreneur Deborah Carr, whose fermentation business is going from strength to strength; and seasonal chef Tom Hunt who is putting seasonal ferments back on his restaurant menu. In 2016, It's time to rethink fermentation.
14/03/1628m 11s

BBC Food and Farming Awards 2016: The Finalists

Sheila Dillon unveils the list of this year's BBC Food & Farming Awards finalists. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
14/03/1628m 10s

The Sake Revelation

If your experience of sake has been limited to simply 'a hot cup of alcohol after a meal' like Sheila Dillon it's time to listen without prejudice. With thousands of breweries each producing dozens of varieties there is more range than most of us understand. After a slump in sales in Japan young people are now returning to sake and in the UK interest is growing rapidly with top restaurants listing more choices, plans for specialist bars and more people in the drinks trade now qualifying in sake expertise. But how do you know where to start? A lack of Japanese can make bottles hard to understand and when do you drink it hot or cold? What food can you pair them with? How do you avoid the really bad ones? Sake samurai and sommelier Natsuki Kikuya explains how different varieties should be drunk and how the novice can gain confidence . She's joined by passionate sake convert, drinks writer Anna Greenhous and Techno DJ Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman fell so in love with sake he's now taking it to a new generation of young clubbers around the world. Meanwhile the race is on between 2 breweries to produce the first sake in the UK. Will it be Scotland's Arran brewery or the Japanese Dojima brewery which is investing in a multi-million pound operation in Cambridgeshire? Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
07/03/1628m 25s

Feeding India

Dan Saladino explores the fierce debate over how 1.2bn people will be fed in the future.
29/02/1628m 13s

First Bite

In her new book, First Bite - How We Learn To Eat, Bee Wilson takes a deep and reflective look at how food choices and habits are shaped, and how they can be changed. Sheila Dillon is joined by Bee Wilson and special guests to discuss the book's surprising findings, and how to make positive changes where positive change is needed. Sheila and Bee are joined by Rosie Boycott, who advises the Mayor of London on food and is Chair of the London Food Board, as well as father and son Geoff and Anthony Whitington who star in the just-released film Fixing Dad, which documents Geoff's struggles with type 2 diabetes and his two sons' efforts to help him. Dan Saladino tells the story of Professor Pekka Puska, who as a young public health doctor in the 1970s spearheaded the North Karelia Project in Finland, which in the context of a population with the highest rates of death from heart disease in the world, aimed to improve the way that a whole region ate. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
15/02/1628m 2s

Eating to Run: Part 2

Ultra-marathon champ and vegan Scott Jurek tells Dan Saladino how to eat and run 100 miles. Fermented food and Paleo diets are also put to the test in Food and Running Part 2.
11/02/1641m 19s

Newcastle: The Story of a City through Its Food

Dan Saladino meets the people working to improve the food future of Newcastle.
04/02/1628m 3s

Cardiff: The Story of a City through Its Food

Welcome to Cardiff, Croeso i Caerdydd. The capital of Wales and the fastest growing urban population in the UK. For centuries, people have come to the city to live from Wales, and from far beyond the country's borders, attracted by the prospect of a life between the sea and the hills. It's a city with, at once an international community and a strong Welsh identity. In this programme Sheila Dillon travels to Wales to find out what this has to bare on the city's food scene. She hears how modern redevelopment is pulling in big restaurant chains, whilst small scale food businesses come up with imaginative ideas to stay in the game. She discovers a part of the city which still reflects the mass immigration into Cardiff docks of the 19th century. Food businesses which are evolving as today's migrants take the helm. She tries a truly home-grown brew, made with crowd grown hops by Cardiffians, and she gets a taste of the city's most revered pastry encased creation. This is a city where food means more than it might first appear.
25/01/1628m 9s

Leeds: The Story of a City Through Its Food

When the Food Programme went to Leeds to cover its growing food and drink scene many areas of the city had recently been flooded. At the time community groups, including Muslims and Sikhs, were taking part in a food operation to feed those forced out of their homes - meeting the fundamental need for food while showing the strength of the community. Dan Saladino explores the city - which has historic links to supermarket chains, wealth from the textiles industry and 'Leeds Dripping Riots'. The last 2 years have seen a thriving independent food and drink movement, with innovators starting projects which are changing the face of Leeds but also inspiring others around the world. Adam Smith was working in Australia when he became aware and angered at the scale of edible food being wasted. After being told if he wanted to change the world he needed to change his home town he returned to Leeds, setting up a cafe which intercepted food being thrown away from shops, markets, projects and allotments to 'feed bellies not bins'. The pay as you feel model of the Real Junk Food Project has been replicated across Leeds and around the world with 126 cafes and more in the making. Yet Adam is far from content. At Trinity Kitchen, a radical new model for a shopping mall food court which has drawn attention from others as far flung as Sweden and China. A 6 week rotation of new traders is no mean feat - with road closures and cranes hoisting food trucks into place. Dan also meets Northern Monk in Grub and Grog - brewing quirky ales to match a changing, mainly vegan menu while Northern Bloc ice creams are keeping things close to home with flavours like Yorkshire Parkin and Black Treacle but with their eyes on expansion into the London market.
17/01/1628m 12s

2016 Food and Farming Awards Launch

Sheila Dillon reveals this year's team of judges, and launches the 2016 BBC Food and Farming Awards. Sheila will be catching up with some of last year's winners and nominees and explaining how you can send in your all-important nominations. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
10/01/1628m 16s

Eating to Run: Part 1

How important is diet to running performance? It's a question Food Programme listener and runner Nicole Marais wanted answers too and so she emailed the programme's production team. This programme explains what happened next.... When Dan Saladino went to meet (and run with) Nicole she explained she had tried lots of different diets, from one based on meat, to a vegetarian diet and onto veganism. She was keen to hear the experience of other runners and athletes and how they eat to run. Dan hears from Kevin Currell, Head of Performance Nutrition at the English Institute of Sport, to find out about the dietary advice given to Britain's elite athletes. Adharanand Finn, author of 'Running with the Kenyans', shares his insights into running, racing and eating in Iten, the town where many of the world's most successful distance runners live and train. Kenyan runners eat a lot of ugali, a carbohydrate rich porridge made of maize flour and water. Elsewhere however, others are arguing that a low-carb, high-fat diet will help runners reach peak performance. Author of Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes, Christopher McDougall, profiles diets based on this principle, that fuelled long runs by resistance fighters during the Second World War and early Iron Man events in the 1980's. It's a controversial approach and many believe it's just the latest food fad to be picked up by people in the running world. The programme also features Scott Jurek who eats a carbohydrate rich, vegan diet. It's enabled him to dominate runs like Badwater, a 135 mile race through America's Death Valley. Will these athletes and running writers give listener Nicole Marais the information she needs to break her own record in this year's London Marathon? Listen, find out and perhaps go on a run afterwards. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino. Researcher: Camellia Sinclair.
04/01/1627m 12s

Yotam Ottolenghi: A Life Through Food

Food writer, chef, restaurateur, philosopher...? Since 'Ottolenghi: the cookbook' was published in 2008, Yotam Ottolenghi has become one of the UK's most followed voices on food and cooking. Nearly eight years later, Ottolenghi's cookbooks total five, the last written in collaboration with head chef at his London Soho restaurant NOPI, Ramael Scully. The restaurant is one of five in the capital, which he runs with a small, loyal team. He's appeared on our TV screens, exploring the foods of the Mediterranean and his birthplace and childhood home, Jerusalem. He's presented an ode to the Cauliflower on The Food Programme on Radio 4 and in a weekly column for the Guardian, has shed new light on cooking with vegetables, paving the way for ingredients from the Middle East to enter our kitchen store cupboards. No wonder that the rise of sumac, za'atar and tahini in our supermarkets was dubbed 'the Ottolenghi effect'. In an extended interview, Yotam Ottolenghi shares his life through food with Sheila Dillon. She hears how a Jewish boy from Jerusalem negotiated the world of academia, and winded up as a pastry chef in chic restaurants in 90s London. How a chance meeting with business partner Sami Tamimi led to one of London's most successful string of deli restaurants 'Ottolenghi', and on to Soho restaurant NOPI. Yotam explains how people in his life have shaped the food he cooks. He tells Sheila about the effect of his brother's untimely death in tragic circumstances, his own coming out as gay and reflects on his connection with Jerusalem now that he has adopted London as home for his own young family. As 2015 draws to a close, he looks to the future. What will the Philosophical food writer do next? Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
28/12/1528m 14s

No Mere Trifle

For some, trifle is an essential part of Christmas - a star centrepiece at the dinner table. For others its a reminder of 70s food hell - soggy sponge, jelly, hundreds and thousands dissolving into custard and cream and possibly crowned with glace cherries. Tim Hayward argues pretty much every food writer of the last 50 years has pronounced on trifle in a massively doctrinaire fashion. He wants to fight the prejudice to delve into the shared secret recipes for quick and 'dirty' trifles and investigates the 'golden rules' to get every trifle doubter on side. Presented by Tim Hayward. Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
20/12/1528m 30s

Juliet Harbutt: A Life Through Food

As she readies herself for an imminent move back to her native New Zealand after three decades in the UK, Juliet Harbutt, cheese educator and campaigner, shares her life in food with Sheila Dillon. Born and raised in Auckland, an experience with some French cheeses in Paris changed everything for Juliet, who decided there and then that cheese would be her life's focus. She sold her deli-restaurant in Wellington and moved all the way to London, to open up a cheese shop based on her experiences in France. This was the start of a journey that coincided with a huge change in the way Britain approaches, and makes, cheese. This is the story of that period, and Juliet's life in food. Along the way, Juliet founded The British Cheese Awards and edited the World Cheese Book, which won a Guild of Food Writers Award for Food Book of the year in 2010. Looking back on those three decades, it's a time in which cheese has become one of Britain's great food successes, but it has not been a smooth ride - and things nearly turned out very differently. At its heart, this is a tale about one person's fascination with and passion for cheese, which is, as Juliet says - "a combination of man's ingenuity and one of Mother Nature's finest miracles, milk". Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
15/12/1528m 4s

Food Museums

If you were to create a museum telling the story of food and drink what would you say or put on display? What about interactivity - tastes and smells? Is it about flavour and experience or the process of creating the ingredients from the farmers to gastronomes? Sheila Dillon steps inside London's new British Museum of Food (BMoF) created by 'jellymongers' Bompas and Parr to see what their creative minds had in store. Meanwhile in New York, the Museum of Food and Drink (MoFAD) also aims to attract tourists and food enthusiasts...but how will they tell their story? Celebrating food and making an exhibition of it is not new. Many smaller venues aim to show off the delights of dishes - from the kimchi museum in Korea to those celebrating Spam, potatoes, nougat or butter. How keen or obsessed would you need to be to visit? Sheila invtes you to take a tour and see if they whet your appetite for more rather than leave you fed-up. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
06/12/1527m 56s

Cookbooks of 2015

Sheila Dillon and guests reflect on a year of cookery and food books. Sheila is joined in the studio by Bee Wilson, historian and food writer who's about to publish First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, journalist and food writer Alex Renton, and Features Editor at trade magazine The Bookseller, Tom Tivnan. Tim Hayward meets chef Magnus Nilsson - who has just completed a nearly 800-page work called The Nordic Cook Book, the result of an almost Herculean effort to tell the food stories of a vast region. Sharing some of their standout books of the year are Xanthe Clay, Joanna Blythman, Gillian Carter and Diana Henry. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
01/12/1528m 19s


Nearly every major city in the world has one- a district where Chinese immigrants have settled to live, work and eat. This week Dan Saladino takes you on a tour of Chinatowns around the world. From one of the oldest, in Manila, to one of the newest, in Johannesburg, Chinatowns create a global trail of economic and culinary influence. And the food that they serve reflects not only the tastes of home, but of the adopted countries. In this programme, made in collaboration with BBC World Service programme, The Food Chain, we ask how these urban communities reflect not only the history of Chinese immigration, but the changing role of China as a global power. Including visits to Havana, to look at the legacy of communism in a Chinatown that rarely serves Chinese food, and Shanghai, where the fortune cookie - a westernized version of Chinese cuisine is finding a new market at home. Producers: Kent DePinto & Sarah Stolarz.
23/11/1528m 8s

Scotch Egg! Scotch Egg!

Scotch eggs may conjure memories of Summer picnics, school dinners or even Alan Partridge but the humble bar snack has been elevated to a culinary canvas on which chefs can make their own mark and feature on the menus of some of the UK's top restaurants. Food writer Joe Warwick invites you to the madness and mayhem of the Scotch Egg Challenge at which chefs and retailers compete with traditional and unconventional recipes for the glory of the title of winner. But with Thai, Peruvian and vegetarian versions on offer how far can you go before it's no longer a scotch egg? What are the key essentials and when have you gone too far? Joe digs into the history of this bundle of glory, hears from chefs as they prepare for the big night and finds out why a pub can get packed to the rafters by people clamouring to try a piece of scotch egg heaven. Presented by Joe Warwick Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock iPlayer photo by Laurie Fletcher.
15/11/1528m 15s

Trish Deseine Goes Home

Trish Deseine may not be a household name in the UK. But in France, the home of gastronomy, her 12 cookbooks, all written in French, have sold hundreds and thousands of copies, and influenced a generation of chefs, food writers and home cooks. She has won international awards and in 2009, was named one of the 40 most influential women in France by French Vogue magazine. But don't let a surname deceive you. Trish was born and raised in Northern Ireland, and now, after spending more than 25 years in France, she has released her first book on Irish food, and is returning there to live and work. 'Home: Recipes from Ireland' was released at the start of October and is already up for an Irish Book Award. Trish fronts a TV series on BBC Northern Ireland starting this week. In this programme, Trish speaks to Sheila about her life and career, and the people and food that have shaped it. They meet in Paris, Trish's home for most of her time in France, and she shares the food, flavours, and fresh produce which will always remind her of the city. Sheila asks Paris-based chef Stéphane Reynaud and the owner of the largest cookbook shop in the world, Déborah Dupont-Daguet, about the impact that Trish's writing has had in France. And asks why, after all these years, Trish is returning home to Ireland. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced by Clare Salisbury.
08/11/1528m 12s

The Pear

For many of us, a disappointing experience with an unripe or tasteless pear has coloured our opinion of what was once thought of as a superior fruit: "gold to the apple's silver". Sheila Dillon travels to Kent to meet Dr Joan Morgan, who is just publishing 'The Book of Pears - The Definitive History and Guide to over 500 Varieties', the product of years of research into and fascination with this fruit and all its manifestations. Joan shows Sheila the pear orchard at the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, one of the biggest fruit collections in the world, revealing the secrets of this unique collection - some 500 varieties of pear growing in one place. Domestic production is falling, imports are rising, and just one variety of pear, the conference, dominates the UK market. The once-prized varieties of cooking pear have been almost completely forgtten. Sheila invites cook and writer Nigel Slater to share his passion for what this fruit can do and how to look after it, and visits fruit farmer Clive Baxter who has invested in new technologies around storing and ripening. Dan Saladino tracks down the Gloucestershire-based distiller and cheesemaker Charles Martell, who has become enchanted by the intricacies and joys of the perry pear and the drinks it can make. As Sheila discovers, some people are working hard to restore a sense of enthusiasm around this ancient fruit, its flavours and its possibilities. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
25/10/1528m 28s

A Milk Appreciation

When was the last time you drank a simple glass of milk? Perhaps you view it more as an ingredient for cooking or to splash in your tea rather than a product of beauty with its own strengths and qualities? When the retailers slashed milk prices to lure in customers, treating it as a loss leader may have made the consumer also view it as a commodity and devalue it too. Is it simply the 'white stuff'? Dairy UK figures show an 18% decline in the average consumption of milk and milk products over the last 20 years. In the last year while volumes of milk sold on the market have increased slightly the value has declined. This Summer saw many dairy farmers protesting at supermarket depots, taking cows into stores and buying up all the supplies on the shelves in some branches. Meanwhile sales of many milk alternatives are rising despite costing more. Sheila Dillon explores how these milks are made and can be used, what they give us compared to cow's milk and why they've become so popular. Dutch 'milk addict and sommelier' Bas de Groot invites her for a tasting of milks, along with public health nutritionist Dr Helen Crawley and Professor Peter Atkins who's written about the history of milk. They discuss what could make us value the product more highly, what makes a variety distinctive and if it's possible to taste the 'terroir' of your pinta.
18/10/1528m 18s

How Did the Chicken Cross the World?

As a race, we humans owe a fair amount to the chicken. Throughout time it has been a religious deity, a medicine source as well as being a food. It's travelled the world alongside explorers, inspired scientific revelations and of course been the nub of the world's most famous joke. Today, chicken is the second biggest supply of meat protein in the world, and it's on the rise. More than four times as much chicken is now consumed in the USA than in the 1950s, and as new markets emerge in the Middle East and Asia, our hunger for chicken is only set to grow. To meet demand, the bird has become a valuable commodity, farmed and processed in a factory setting. In this programme Dan Saladino tracks the chicken from its roots in the Asian jungle, to its place on our dinner plates today with help from Andrew Lawler, author of 'Why Did The Chicken Cross The World'. He discovers how a competition in the 1950s had a radical impact on the type of chicken we eat and hears how genetics, cooking and art might have a role to play in preserving some almost forgotten breeds and tastes. Dan asks geneticist Professor Bill Muir where will we take the chicken next? Presented by Dan Saladino Produced by Clare Salisbury NB. Correction. The Buckeye chicken was developed in the 1890s, not the 1820s as stated in the programme.
12/10/1527m 39s


Dan Saladino hunts down that flavour we call 'bitter', and asks if bitterness is disappearing from our food and drink - and why this matters. Bitter tastes are found all over the planet; wild leaves, fruits, vegetables and more. Bitterness is also charged with cultural and culinary meaning. It can be revered, sought after - but it is also a sign of toxicity, and is, it seems, increasingly being shunned. Dan Saladino talks to Jennifer McLagan, author of the James Beard Award-winning book "Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavour", who begun her epic journey into bitter following a conversation about grapefruits. Journalist and science writer Marta Zaraska has been tracking the de-bittering of our food, and reveals her findings, including the 'holy grail' of the assault on bitter. He also seeks out bitterness in the wild with forager and wild food specialist Miles Irving, and discovers the secrets of the bitter gourd (also known as bitter melon or karela) within a food culture that still deeply values bitterness, in the company of food writer and cookery teacher Monisha Bharadwaj. As Dan delves into the world of bitter flavours, he shares a bitter brew with Professor Peter Barham - author of "The Science of Cooking" - and visits the drinks laboratory run by cocktail experts Tony Conigliaro and Max Venning. Tasting bitter leaves, crystals, digestifs and more along the way, Dan asks what we stand to lose if we lose the taste for bitter. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
05/10/1528m 16s

Food Stories from Syria 1

The continuing conflict in Syria has caused millions of people to flee the country. Images of men, women and children living in camps, walking vast distances and even risking perilous journeys by boat or stowed away on trucks have been shown around the world. Life in many regions for those who remain is also in turmoil. While seeking safety, many also face a challenge to survive. Dan Saladino asks how those from Syria - the world's biggest producer of both internally displaced people and refugees - manage to eat and feed their families and the cost and long-term effects of both the conflict and displacement. Syria has an ancient food culture and was once a bread basket for the Middle East but conflict has damaged agriculture and food supplies to many areas. The World Food Programme explain how they manage to transport food through territory occupied by so-called 'Islamic State' and also how they feed the thousands in refugee camps in bordering countries like Jordan. Dan hears from one refugee who paid traffickers to get him to Europe after he was threatened by IS and the Assad regime. He explains how he survived and ate when on an extended and dangerous journey. Now in the UK he shows Dan what he buys to cook and eat. Ingredients for Syrian dishes can be hard to come by or out of budget so he shows how he's adjusting to make it work. From daily bread to the loss of an ancient food culture, hear how the the conflict and displacement of Syrians means for the long-term rebuilding of infrastucture and tradition in the place they call home. Music used in programme: Qoum Ya Nadim by Zein Al Jundi Presented by Dan Saladino Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
27/09/1527m 45s

The Ark of Taste: The Story so Far

This is a race against time. Earlier this year The Food Programme set out to record stories of foods around the world facing extinction, a project that has provided dramatic accounts from the depths of Anatolian caves to the heights of Indonesian rainforest canopies. In this episode Jamie Oliver, Thomasina Miers and chef Paula McIntyre talk about the tastes, flavours and ingredients which are facing extinction. The gathered stories all come from the Ark of Taste; an ever-growing list of endangered foods from 100 different countries across the world. Created by the International Slow Food movement, the food NGO founded in Italy 30 years ago, the Ark of Taste is backed by the United Nations as well as the European Union. As the biblical reference indicates, this Ark is on a mission to prevent extinction and protect biodiversity. The Food Programme is about to start a new mini series of stories found within the Ark of Taste. Each week - in Monday's edition of The Food Programme - listeners can hear about an ingredient or recipe, find out why it is disappearing and why it is important to save. But before he unveils a new batch of forgotten flavours, Dan Saladino plays out some of his favourite stories from our last series. Produced by Becky Ripley.
23/09/1524m 7s

Jam Tomorrow... Today

Jam. Think sticky apricot and saccharine strawberry? Think again. Our British love affair with jam goes back to the sweet-toothed 17th century. But now our interest seems to be waning. Shop sales of jam are down amid concerns over the amount of sugar we consume. And anyway, who has time for preserving pans and pretty pots? But there is another way. In fact there are many. In this programme, 'queen of preserving' and author of 'Salt Sugar Smoke, how to preserve fruit, vegetables and fish' Diana Henry, meets the people thinking differently about jam. She finds out how to use some of this year's gluts of fruit with Mary Longford, the woman behind Absolute Preserves in Somerset, discovers a beloved but forgotten fruit with gardener and food writer Mark Diacono; And speaks to Fraser Doherty, the man whose healthier jams have made him an international icon with an MBE to boot. With advice from American preserves blogger for 'Food in Jars' Marisa McClellan, Diana hosts a canning (or jamming) party and explores culinary traditions of jam making from Scandinavia, Ukraine and beyond with food writers Olia Hercules and Camilla Plum. Recipes from around Europe which won't require shiny new kit. Diana Henry wants you to rise up, and make jam. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
15/09/1527m 58s

Libera Terra: Sicily's Anti-Mafia Farms

Dan Saladino finds out how farms confiscated from Sicily's mafia are providing food and wine, helping to fight crime and providing a future for a new generation on the island. The project, a not for profit farming operation called "Libera Terra" (which translates as "Free Land"), was made possible by an Italian member of Parliament killed by the mafia in 1982, Pio La Torre. He was a Sicilian and communist who believed the best way of taking on Cosa Nostra was by seizing its assets, including its farm land. Decades later that law is the way in which thousands of acres of citrus groves, wheat fields and vineyards have been placed in the hands of farming co-operatives. Libera Terra is the main organisation helping to turn this seized land into a food and wine business, create jobs and give young Sicilians a way of improving the island's future. As John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College London, and author of Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia, food and agricultural provided the conditions necessary for the mafia's birth in 19th century Sicily. By the 1860's the lemon groves around Palermo were among the most profitable agricultural land in Europe, that combined with the weak political and legal framework in place after the unification of Italy, provided the conditions for what became the world's most successful criminal organisation. In the 1940's, when efforts were made to instigate land reform and give more access to farmland to Sicily's peasants, the mafia would often intervene and exert its control over this valuable resource. Dozens of peasant leaders and trade unionists were killed in the years following the second world war simply because they tried to implement these new laws. It's this backdrop that gives the Libera Terra project added significance, but it's more than just a noble cause. As Italian wine expert and writer for Walter Speller explains, some of the confiscated land is in territory that has the perfect conditions for excellent wines. Land seized from the former "boss of all bosses" Toto Rinna, is now producing excellent Nero d'Avola wine that also tell a powerful story of Sicily and its fight against the mafia. Dan also visits people farming this land despite experience of mafia intimidation in the past, young farmers who say they want to build a future in Sicily free from the influence of organised crime. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
07/09/1527m 26s

My Food Hero: Ella McSweeney Meets Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry has been described as 'An American Hero' but his work and teaching have inspired and influenced leaders, writers and campaigners around the world. Ella McSweeney had no hesitation in choosing him as her 'Food Hero' and travels to meet him at his farm in Kentucky. She explains why his work affected her so profoundly, even thousands of miles away in Ireland. As a leading and respected farmer, writer, campaigner, philosopher and poet, he wrote that "Eating is an agricultural act" yet argues we have become disconnected from the land by the industrialisation of the food chain, that the growth of agribusiness has driven many small farms out of business with a loss of their 'moral fibre and wisdom' and is destroying rural communities. He argues we must acknowledge the impact of agriculture to society. Yet despite his widespread influence he lives at a different pace to the majority - using horses to work the land and refusing to get a computer. For those unfamiliar with his work Ella will explain just how significant he's been on politicians and game-changers and, for those who know him already, a chance to hear his thoughts on how to feed ourselves without destroying the land and plant we have. Ella also visits the city of Louisville to see how people are putting his thoughts into action in projects that provide access to fresh food and but also unite communities otherwise divided. Presented by Ella McSweeney Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
01/09/1527m 28s

My Food Hero: Dan Saladino meets Mary Taylor-Simeti

Dan Saladino retraces his Sicilian food roots and goes in search of a great expert on the island's cuisine, Mary Taylor Simeti. She left America in the early 1960's and has now lived in Sicily for 50 years. Sicily has one of the oldest, continuous, food cultures in western Europe. Invasions, conquests and Mediterranean trade led to influences being exerted by the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spanish and French. That combined with an abundance of sun and fertile soil has given it one of the most important and delicious food stories to tell. With a Sicilian father, and extended family, Dan spent a lot of his childhood staying with his grandmother, watching home cooks in action, visiting markets and eating in espresso fuelled bars. For many years traditional Sicilian foods like caponata, cannoli, arancini and pasta con le sarde, were enjoyed but not fully understood. Sicily remained a mysterious place with an equally mysterious array of foods. In the last in the series in which presenters meet their food heroes Dan meets Mary Taylor Simeti at her home and farm on the outskirts of Palermo. Her series of books on Sicily and its food provided the first detailed insights into this ancient cuisine in the English language. She started to write in the early 1980's, "On Persephone's Island" is a personal account of life on a family farm and of life lived near Palermo. It was a violent time in the city's history, a period now known as the "second mafia war". The book weaves in snapshots of that side of Sicily, but also captures the changing seasons on the farm, olive and grape harvests, religious festivals that feature food rituals and first-hand accounts of traditional lives lived on the land and producing ingredients. It was followed by "Pomp and Sustenance: 25 Centuries of Sicilian Food", a book that explores the island's cuisine from the classical world right up to her own experiences of food among family and friends. A third book, "Bitter Almonds" told the story of Maria Grammatico, who grew up as an orphan in a convent, trained to make intricate biscuits, cakes and sculpted almond paste. The book explains how from a Dickensian childhood she'd produce the most skilfully made and delicious foods. Mary Taylor Simeti's work not only helped Dan make sense of all the food, cooking and festivals he saw around him, but also helped chefs including Giorgio Locatelli have a better understanding of Italian food. Mary explains how she left a life in Manhattan that seemed destined for an academic career to life on a Sicilian farm documenting one of the world's most colourful food stories. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino.
01/09/1528m 2s

My Food Hero: Sheila Dillon meets writer and campaigner Susan George

In the second of a special series of food heroes, Sheila Dillon meets one of the most influential writers on international hunger and social justice in recent times. Susan George published her first book 'How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reasons for World Hunger' almost 40 years ago. It was a book that, at the time, offered a radically different perspective on famine in the developing world. In 1985, as pictures of East African drought and hunger started appearing on our TV screens, Susan George published 'Ill Fares The Land' a collection of essays which didn't shy away from criticising International aid efforts, and demanded a different approach to trade and development. She wrote 'A more just society is a better-fed society'. It would become a seminal text. Now, aged 81, and continuing to speak at conferences around the world, Susan George speaks to Sheila Dillon about her career, the predictions she made 30 years ago, and the problems we still face in feeding our growing global population. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
17/08/1528m 6s

My Food Hero: Tim Hayward meets Len Deighton

Tim Hayward meets the man who changed the whole way he approached food. Someone who inspired Tim, and many others, to look at food and the techniques of cooking in a completely new way. A surprising food figure perhaps, he is a best-selling author, writer of "The IPCRESS File", creator of Harry Palmer (played by Michael Caine). He is also an illustrator, and pioneering food writer. He rarely gives interviews. He is Len Deighton. Leonard Cyril Deighton - now 86 - has had a fascinating life - and as he explains, food has always been at its heart. His vivid and extraordinary story takes in post-war London with double agents and off-ration cooking, to a newly opened-up world of international air travel, and into the swinging sixties. Len Deighton created the totally unique "cookstrips", fusing his skills at illustrating and writing with his cooking knowledge. For a young Tim Hayward, once he had seen these things would never be the same again. Photograph by David Rose. Presented by Tim Hayward Produced by Rich Ward and Dan Saladino.
11/08/1528m 0s

Going Pop

Staying sober on a night out can be a limiting experience with the soft drinks choice on offer in many places. But with an increasing number of 16-24 year olds staying teetotal, demand is increasing for more interesting, varied and healthier choices. Dan Saladino explores the traditional, quirky and novel drinks putting some fizz back into the market. Reports say a resistance to heavy sugar and artificial sweeteners has seen soda sales drop off in the USA. 'Craft sodas' are making a play for some of the market by offering alternative flavours and drinks flavoured with cane sugar rather than corn syrup. Tristan Donovan heads on a mission to scour the soda fountains of the US and find some of the wackiest drinks available. How about a lactart or phosphate? But in the UK too those with brewing skills are applying their knowledge to create soft drinks low on sugar and strong on flavour. Dan looks into the future of fizzy pop to see what the future might hold for those who still sparkle at the thought of a refreshing glass of pop. Presented by Dan Saladino Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
03/08/1528m 0s

Bread for Scotland

Scotland has a problem with food. For all the salmon, whisky and summer berries celebrated in this year of Scottish Food & Drink, the Government says its spending billions fighting an obesity crisis, and when it comes to groceries, the supermarket is king. But for the last five years, a small community run bakery on the Scottish borders has been quietly gaining momentum, aiming to change the way Scotland thinks about food, and more specifically, about bread. In this programme, Sheila Dillon visits the family behind Breadshare, now based in Portobello in Edinburgh. In the city's first community run bakery, husband and wife team Debra Riddell and Geoff Crowe, along with their son and a host of bakers and volunteers, sell bread, made with simple ingredients, and teach people how to make it. Could involving local people be the key to reconnecting Scottish people with Scottish food? Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
27/07/1528m 8s

Fast Food Workers

With a new "living wage" announced Sheila Dillon explores the world of fast food workers. In the U.S. a campaign over low pay, started in 2012, has now gone global. Saying they could no longer live on the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 the workers called for a salary based on $15.00 an hour. The protests spread to more than 200 cities and inspired workers in other parts of the world to stand up for better pay. The campaign received the backing of President Barack Obama and cities including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles have now increased the minimum wage. Sheila hears from one fast food work in New York's Bronx, Flavia Cabrell. She holds down two jobs including one at a McDonalds' restaurant and low pay led her to take action and join the protests. She explains why she's motivated by wanting to change the future for her children. Meanwhile low pay was one of the main targets in Chancellor George Osborne's summer budget. Changes to tax credits and the introduction of a "national living wage" was the outcome. But some workers say the changes will still mean they live a precarious financial existence with zero hours contracts still a dominant model in the food industry and the living wage only applicable to over 25's. Producer: Dan Saladino.
20/07/1528m 21s

New Wine Generation

There's a revolution happening in the world of wine. While tradition once dictated the way things were done, a new generation of wine drinkers are shaking things up - in the way it's sold, consumed and written about - with the intention of shaking off the fustiness and perceived snobbery. Not only is there a new attitude about what's deemed good but there's an openness to alternative production methods and artisanal producers. Sheila Dillon asks if the underground movement we saw towards craft beers and ciders and specialist coffees is now being witnessed in the world of wine. Dan Keeling of Noble Rot magazine argues this movement echoes indie labels in the music scene in which he started before immersing himself in wine writing. Award-winning sommelier Charlotte Sager-Wilde explains how trying to train up on wines while earning a small salary working in hospitality led her and her husband to a new model of wine bar - selling good wines by the glass rather than the bottle and training staff to share ideas with the curious rather than look down their noses. Meanwhile Peter Honegger has started his own wine store - while still a student - selling Austrian wines from niche producers who weren't being stocked elsewhere. Meanwhile we hear about the new tech which is enabling wine enthusiasts to gen up on wines and form their own opinions and ask is branding is putting style over substance. Sheila Dillon asks if the slow moving world of wine is seeing its own revolution and if these new ideas can open the world of wine to more enthusiasts. Presented by Sheila Dillon, Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.
13/07/1528m 4s

Feeding the Commons - Part II: Lunch to Lights Out

Following the food operation at the centre of British politics. Lunch to Lights out The Food Programme team go behind the scenes of one of the most historic food operations in the world. In the second part of this edition, we hear how dining in Parliament is under new pressures. Presented by Sheila Dillon & produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
06/07/1527m 52s

Feeding the Commons - Part I: Breakfast to Brunch

Following the food operation at the centre of British politics. Breakfast to Brunch. The Food Programme team go behind the scenes of one of the most historic food operations in the world. In the first part of this edition, we discover the incredible history of dining in Parliament and meet the people who feed Westminster's 14 thousand pass holders. 8 thousand food transactions can be made here on any working day, and we recorded on one of the busiest - Prime Minister's Questions, one of the first under the new Government. Presented by Sheila Dillon & produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
29/06/1528m 13s

Fantastic Fiction and Fabulous Feasts

Close your eyes and think for a moment about the books you read as a child and those that talked about food. A vivid description of a flavour can spark the imagination and the taste buds but a secret midnight feast at Malory Towers, the elaborate Hogwarts feasts in Harry Potter or picnics in Wind in the Willows can instil an air of excitement about food that lasts into adulthood. Sheila Dillon asks why some scenes can be so powerful they remain with us for decades. She meets those who changed their careers due to the power of the stories they read, she travels to a secret restaurant fantasy land and meets the schoolchildren for whom taste is being brought alive through descriptions of food and flavour. Presented by Sheila Dillon and Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
22/06/1528m 20s

Simon Hopkinson: A Life Through Food - Part 2

Cook and writer Simon Hopkinson was at the height of his powers in the kitchen of Bibendum in London in the early 1990s, but he'd walk away from professional cooking to focus on his food writing. In the second part of this interview with Sheila Dillon he explains why he left restaurant cooking behind, focus on writing that led to the "most useful cookbook of all time". Simon describes life as chef at Bibendum restaurant, which counted among its loyal customers Elizabeth David, Dirk Bogarde and Alec Guinness. In 1994, aged only 40, he decided to move on. For a decade there would be modest sales of his first book, Roast Chicken and Other Stories, and then a magazine poll in 2005 brought it to public attention and soon after, at one point it would be outselling copies of Harry Potter. Sheila Dillon explores Simon's lifelong fascination with food and cooking and finds out why he no longer wanted to focus on life as a head chef.
15/06/1528m 14s

Simon Hopkinson: A Life Through Food - Part 1

Cook and food writer Simon Hopkinson shares his culinary life story with Sheila Dillon. In a food career spanning four decades he's been an influential chef, television cook and author of the "most useful cookbook of all time". In this first of two special editions, Simon covers his early food memories to his time as a chef, at the height of his powers, in the kitchens of Hilaire and Bibendum restaurants. Born in Lancashire, Simon Hopkinson was influenced by his parents home cooking and their regular trips to Bury Market. Early memories include the smell of his mother's jugged hare to the sight of black puddings and cheeses on busy market stalls. In his teens he was committed to a future career in a restaurant kitchen and found work in the nearby Normandie restaurant under the gifted and demanding chef Yves Champea. By 20 he'd opened his own restaurant and would soon receive awards and high praise from respected guides. In the years that followed he'd work as a restaurant inspector for Egon Ronay and then spend time as a private chef. By the late 1980's he was back in the restaurant world and one of London's most influential chefs. Sheila Dillon finds out what motivated him throughout and why he was so confident that his life would be one spent in kitchens.
15/06/1524m 5s


From the 'slow and low' tradition of the American south to the village of Llantwit Major in South Wales, Dan Saladino explores the revival of one of the food world's most misunderstood words; barbecue. A world away from the burnt burgers and charred sausages of the British barbecue experience, the 'barbecue belt' of the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee to Texas captures a story that goes beyond food. From politics and class to race and gender: barbecue has become a vital American institution. A cooking technique requiring endless patience, effort and care, Dan Saladino talks to some of barbecue's biggest enthusiasts about how their modern approach is shaping our oldest form of cooking. Producer: Anna Miles.
11/06/1528m 23s

Rick Stein - A Life Through Food (Part 2)

In this second part of a two-programme special, Rick Stein continues in conversation with Sheila Dillon talking about how he was discovered for TV by Keith Floyd's Director, David Pritchard thirty years ago. Despite being naturally introverted his style as an 'ordinary guy' made him popular with the public - sometimes going wrong, the odd injury and working up a real sweat. The partnership with David has continued to the present day taking them travelling and filming around the world. His new series 'From Venice to Istanbul' will air later this year. Rick talks about why their dynamic works well but also how a shared love of wine can also cause a few spats while filming. We hear from the fishermen, colleagues and his ex-wife and business partner about why he's been such a success. He talks about who in particular has inspired him while on his travels and what he hopes to do next. The programme was recorded earlier this month in front of a studio audience as part of the Bristol Food Connections Festival. Presented by Sheila Dillon. Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
08/06/1549m 41s

Salt, Pepper... and Seaweed?

Highly regarded for its health benefits, people living by the shore have been eating seaweed for millennia. In Ireland, it was part of a prehistoric diet, and taken to ward off illness. In New Zealand, seaweed was a Maori delicacy. In Iceland, it was served daily, dried with fish, butter and bread. And seaweeds in many forms continue to be a major part of day to day cooking in China, Japan and Korea. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, the harvesting of seaweed for food is worth upwards of 5 billion US dollars every year. Yet many of us still associate the greens with Asian food, or experiments in haute cuisine. But now a new generation of wild food entrepreneurs, are asking us to change our habits, and to rethink seaweed as something that can be enjoyed in every meal, for every occasion. Sheila Dillon hears stories of finding food from the sea. People harvesting and cooking with seaweed. And as seaweed enters the mainstream, she hears how age old harvesting traditions, could be under threat. This programme includes the fifth instalment from the Ark of Taste series. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
26/05/1528m 11s

The Spice Explosion

This is more than a story about chicken tikka masala. The UK's palette is changing with a demand for far more spice and pizzazz in our menus and larders. The UK currently imports almost double what it did in the year 2000. Much of that demand has been attributed to the UK's changing and diverse population - not only in home cooking but introducing recipes and dishes to a wider market. Travellers exploring exotic countries have also returned with a taste for spice blends. However spice is more than a simple ingredient - it can also be part of a story about identity, health, family and life. Cyrus Todiwala travels to Easton in Bristol for the Spice Festival to meet those for whom spice is part of their lives. For him spices have been used for health as well as to bring flavour to his dishes while cooking in India and opening restaurants in the UK. He meets the man whose family fled Uganda while under the rule of Idi Amin, losing everything but their love and knowledge of spices led his father to source and share ingredients, eventually serving food and is now an 'Aladdin's cave' of exotic spices and ingredients for individuals and restaurants across the South West. He meets the chai wallahs who now sell on street corners of Bristol as well as Bombay and hears about the backpacker whose craving for the Indian snacks he tasted led him to set up his own business with over 300 products and blends. Get some fire in your belly and hear how spice plays a role in commuity, culture and culinary delights. Presented by Cyrus Todiwala and Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.
17/05/1528m 20s

Jane Grigson - A Tribute: Part One

Jane Grigson was a unique and pioneering voice in food writing; a self-taught cook whose books and journalism changed British food culture. Twenty-five years after her death, Sheila Dillon is joined by three special guests to explore her life, food and legacy. This is part one of a special two-part edition of The Food Programme, recorded in front of an audience at Bristol Food Connections festival on the 4th of May. On stage with Sheila is Geraldene Holt, food writer, author of 'Diary of a French Herb Garden' and Chair of the Jane Grigson Trust, the award-winning chef Shaun Hill who has cooked his way through Jane's books and also cooked for her, as well James Beard-nominated author, Telegraph food columnist and cook Diana Henry. From 'The Fruit Book' to 'Good Things' to 'Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery', to her long running articles for The Observer, Sheila Dillon and her guests explore a voice that, despite gradually becoming less familiar, really does still matter today. Readings by Kerry Elkins. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
11/05/1552m 1s

The Legacy of the BBC Food and Farming Awards

Sheila Dillon reports on how 15 years of the BBC Food and Farming Awards have captured the revolution in the streetfood business, witnessed the rise of a new generation of brewers and distillers, chronicled the rise of new types of food markets and marked major changes in the supermarket supply chain. Over the last decade and a half, through receiving thousands of nominations, the judges have been able to spot early on new ideas and changes in the UK's food culture. Sheila talks to judges past and present and former finalists and winners to describe the big shifts as seen through the awards. Retail analyst and former judge Robert Clark and Policy Director of Sustain, Kath Dalmeny join Sheila to talk about key stories and innovative ideas they've encountered through the awards. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced by Rich Ward.
04/05/1524m 11s

Diet and Diabetes

In the UK, there are 3.2 million people who are living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and a further 600,000 who have Type 2 but just don't know it yet. And those numbers continue to rise. In the first few months of this year, the charity Diabetes UK received over 300 calls from newly diagnosed diabetics asking what they can and can't eat. It seems there's plenty of confusion about what foods need to be eaten to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and a misconception that a diabetes diagnosis means never eating sugar again. This week, Felicity Evans is discussing some of the issues surrounding diet and diabetes. Her guests in the studio are; G.P, author and broadcaster, Dr Hilary Jones, dietician, Azmina Govindji, Simon O'Neill from Diabetes UK and Saturday Live's J.P Devlin, a Type 1 diabetic for more than 30 years. They will offer practical tips on some of the best food choices, debunk a few myths and look at how it can change someone's life. Plus what does the latest research say about the type of diet diabetics should be eating. Presented by Felicity Evans and produced in Bristol by Julia Hayball.
04/05/1528m 12s

School Dinners - A Progress Report

Ten years on from 'Jamie's School Dinners', Sheila Dillon is joined by children's food campaigner and former dinner lady Jeanette Orrey and Co-Author of the School Food Plan, Henry Dimbleby to look at the state of school food and discuss how new international relationships could make British school food better. It's also 10 years since Sheila visited Sweden to see a free school meals system known for nutritious food, where students and teachers dine together. This spring, Tony Mulgrew, Catering manager at Ravenscliffe High School in Halifax and 2014 winner of Best Cook at the BBC Food and Farming Awards, set up an exchange with Lyndon McLeod, school chef in Gislavedin Sweden. Their aim? To bring together school chefs around the world and share ideas on improving school food online. Our panel also hear from the Copenhagen 'House of Food', an innovative centre that's creating a school food culture in the city where there used to be none. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
20/04/1528m 23s

The Ark of Taste

Dan Saladino meets the people working to save foods and flavours at risk of extinction. A global project called the Ark of Taste is now attempting to catalogue traditional ingredients in more than 100 countries. It was started in the 1990s when a group of Italian Slow Food campaigners realised the flavour of a traditional street food snack had changed. The reason was that chefs could no longer source a local variety of pepper. It's led to thousands of people all over the world submitting their local traditional varieties of fruits and vegetables, rare breeds of livestock, cheeses and other products into the Ark. As the leader of the project Serana Milano explains it's not just a list. Once an ingredient is placed in the catalogue work begins to find ways of saving it. An early example was a traditional cheese that was being made by one elderly producer. The Ark project led to a group of young producers learning how to make the cheese and so the recipe and technique has been kept alive. Slow Food is now working with the European Commission, United Nations and Google to record the stories from the Ark of Taste and support projects to keep food diversity thriving around the world. As Dan explains earlier examples of this work can be found across the UK going back more than a century. Writers including Florence White (Good Things In England), Dorothy Hartley (Food in England) and F. Marian McNeill (The Scots Kitchen) and researchers such as Minwell Tibbott (Welsh Folk Museum) made records of how we produced food and cooked in earlier times. Presented and produced by Dan Saladino.
14/04/1528m 16s

The Joy of Eggs

We were once told 'Go to work on an egg' but health warnings later saw us cut the number we eat. As the US Dietary Advisory Committee drops its advice on restricting egg consumption Sheila Dillon asks if we're falling back in love with the egg. Similar limits in the UK were lifted several years ago after evidence suggested their cholesterol did not have a significant effect on our blood cholesterol after all. The amount we eat in the UK is now continuing to rise and the trend for keeping hens at home or in community projects has seen many people collecting their own too. Sheila Dillon asks if the humble egg is breaking free of a tarnished reputation and proving itself to be a versatile protein provider worth celebrating. She hears reports from US where yolk-dodgers have demanded white-only 'heart healthy omelettes' and similar concoctions while in Silicon Valley a 'solution' to the egg has been created in a plant protein based alternative which they claim can mimic many of the egg's functions. But back in the UK she finds a more celebratory atmosphere - a major retailer has begun supplying guaranteed double yolkers, Neil Rankin, founder of 'Bad Egg' Restaurant has kept his supplier in steady business while Genevieve Taylor found her hens laid so many she had to create new recipes to use them all. Has the egg been given too much of a bad rap and is now breaking free and what does the future hold? Presented by Sheila Dillon and Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.
05/04/1528m 3s

Sweet Britain

The nutritional debate over sugar doesn't seem to be putting off a new generation of sweet makers in this country. Sweets sales seem stable, and new treats are being created and exported all over the world. Sheila speaks to sweet makers Freya Sykes and Steven Bletsoe who are giving new life to a forgotten sweet and an old family recipe. She looks at the state of the confectionery market today with help from The Grocer magazine, and Jeremy Dee, Managing Director of family sweets firm Swizzels. And sweets historian Tim Richardson shares a bag of sweets with Sheila that cast light on a long history of sweetness in the UK. Sheila asks what's still driving our love affair with sweeties - young and old, old and new. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
29/03/1527m 34s

Food Waste Pioneers

Dan Saladino hears three stories of how three very different individuals are reimagining food waste - solving problems, discovering flavours, and changing lives. Chido Govera grew up in rural Zimbabwe, and was orphaned aged seven. She suffered abuse and struggled to find enough food for herself and her younger brother. But she found a way out of her situation - through the power of mushrooms - becoming an acknowledged specialist in growing edible fungi using food and agri-waste. Chido is now teaching hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable people in Zimbabwe and beyond how to break the cycle of poverty and abuse, and delicious mushrooms are at the heart of it all. Isabel Soares, an engineer from Portugal, set up Fruta Feia (or ugly fruit) to deliver perfectly good fruit and veg that were being discarded by the big retailers, to a willing community. Its community co-operative model is now wildly successful in Lisbon. John Greany Sørensen is a scientist by day, chef by night, who in his lab at the University of Copenhagen stumbled accidentally on a way of creating something truly extraordinary from rejected vegetables - veg crystals. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
22/03/1528m 4s

BBC Food and Farming Awards 2015: The Finalists

In a special edition Sheila Dillon reveals the finalists for this year's BBC Food and Farming Awards.At the beginning of the year Radio 4 listeners were asked to nominate their favourite producers, farmers and retailers. The response was huge, and from over four thousand nominations the judges have decided on their shortlist.The categories include Best Street Food or Takeaway, You and Your's Retailer of the Year, BBC Cook of the Year, Countryfile's Farming Hero and the Food Game Changer. On 30 April in Bristol at the annual Awards ceremony we'll find out which of these finalists go on to become the winners. Producer: Toby Field.
15/03/1527m 54s

Reconsider the Oyster!

Oysters are receiving renewed attention around the world, with new ideas for producing more, and eating more. Dan Saladino finds out what's driving this oyster enthusiasm. As Drew Smith, author of Oyster: A World History explains, "the oyster is older than us, they're older than grass, they go back into pre-history and it's quite mind boggling how we've forgotten we really survive on this planet because of oysters". From discoveries of middens (piles of oyster shells left by our ancestors) through to tales of the Victorian Britain's enormous appetite for the oyster, Dan hears the evidence of why we used to have a much more intimate relationship with the bivalve. Overfishing, disease and parasites turned something that was abundant into a rarity a century ago, but now people around the world are making an effort to bring the oyster back into mainstream. In Denmark, where there still is an abundance of oysters in their waters, a national park along the Wadden Sea, on the north west coast of Denmark has started to encourage people to wade in the water and gather as many oysters as they can carry and eat. It's hoped the experience will help people understand the oyster more and also fight to protect the environment it lives in. Meanwhile on the British Isles the oyster is seeing interest from brewers and shellfish farmers alike, all convinced we need to reconsider how delicious and import the animal has been in our food culture. In New York, the most ambitious oyster mission of all is underway, the "billion oyster project", an effort to return the oyster to New York City's harbour, once a breeding ground for trillions of oysters. Listen to the programme and hear why these efforts are underway, and why a gold speckled jar of marmite could be the oysters' best friend. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
10/03/1527m 45s

The 'Clean Label' Question

For over a decade consumers have become finely attuned to E-numbers, flavourings, colourings and additives in our food. Food manufacturers have changed the way they do things in pursuit of 'clean label' - a more natural sounding ingredients list. But do we fully understand the new processes involved, the terms used and how safe they really are? Sheila Dillon talks to Joanna Blythman, in her first broadcast interview about her new book 'Swallow This' in which she investigates some of the processes involved in making products taste and look good and last longer and her concerns about the ingredients and the secrecy that often surrounds them. We hear reports from food development teams about how they find new ways to produce food and ask the regulators if we can be sure they're safe. Photo by Alan Peebles.
01/03/1527m 58s

The Clink - Revisited

Sheila goes behind bars to visit the most popular restaurant in Cardiff, The Clink, which is run by prisoners. Ten years ago Al Crisci was a winner at the BBC Food and Farming Awards for his work at High Down prison. At the ceremony he announced that he was going to open a restaurant in the prison which would be run by inmates and would serve high end food to the paying public. Now there are currently three prison restaurants across the country, with a fourth about to open in HMP Styal. Sheila visits The Clink Restaurant on the site of HMP Cardiff which has recently been voted the top restaurant in the city by Tripadvisor. She speaks with inmates and ex-prisoners about working in a restaurant and whether this model can help reduce prison re-offender rates. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
22/02/1527m 31s

The Secret Formula

With one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe, many parents in the UK feed their babies formula milk. But what's actually in it? Sheila Dillon discovers why it's an industry steeped in science and secrecy as well as controversy. Journalist Ella McSweeney reports from a lab to explain how its made and why formula is at the heart of Ireland's ambition to become a powerful global food player. Producer: Ruth Sanderson.
20/02/1528m 4s

Soup and the British

From a hearty warming bowl of chunky soup on a frosty Winter's day to the smooth comfort of home-made chicken soup when you're ill, the British, it seems, love soup. We spend £762million a year and the market's growing with trendy exotic flavours spicing up the choice on offer new gadgets to help make the dish and slimmers replacing juicing with 'souping', it's gaining pace. Tim Hayward is passionate that this dish is more than simply an appetiser and keen to stamp out memories of wishy-washy, tasteless broths. Past horrors had made it a laughing stock with 'Brown Windsor Soup' being the punchline of many jokes in the 50s and symbolic of austerity and low-quality catering. He searches out the roots of this much-mocked comic dish, alongside Turtle and Bombay duck varieties, and seeks to clear its name. Along the way he meets the man who made millions and revolutionised the market with fresh soups which are stealing our hearts from the old tins, gets top tips from the 'Soupsayer' and spins the colour wheel at the pub whose soup is always a mystery but 'never vegetarian'. Presented by Tim Hayward. Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.
15/02/1528m 6s

How Britain fell in love with the microwave

In a recent survey, the microwave was voted the kitchen gadget that people couldn't live without. 83% of all households in the UK have a microwave, yet many say they only use this hi tech device for re heating food. Sheila Dillon discovers how influences the way we eat, live and cook. The editor of BBC Good Food magazine Gillian Carter believes that there is an emerging sector who are using it to make full, nutritious dinners using new recipes tailored to their microwave. Microwaves were patented 60 years ago and hailed as the future of cookery. Helen Peavitt from the Science Museum in London explains how they went from hi tech war weapon to domestic every day item. Meanwhile self-proclaimed microwave hater food journalist Andrew Webb challenges himself to cook a full three course dinner entirely in the microwave. Presenter Sheila Dillon. Producer Ruth Sanderson.
09/02/1527m 44s

Christmas, food and being far from home

As we prepare to tuck into our festive family meal, Sheila Dillon uncovers the food stories of those who won't be home for Christmas with the help of food writer Joe Warwick.
02/02/1527m 51s

The Grain Divide

Wheat has, since the dawn of agriculture, been especially treasured amongst all of the food crops, and is now the most widely cultivated food plant on the planet. However, the relationship between humans and wheat has changed a great deal in recent times. With a high-profile documentary film, 'The Grain Divide', about to go on global release, Dan Saladino discovers a worldwide movement of farmers, bakers and breeders rethinking and rediscovering wheat - from long-lost varieties and flavours to re-imagining the future of our relationship with this grain. The film's Director, JD McLelland, explains how his film aims to change perceptions of wheat - and why this matters. Dan also talks to one of the stars of the film, chef Dan Barber - who's breeding a new variety of wheat named Barber Wheat, and is leading the charge to look again at the taste of wheat. On the archipelago of Svalbard, far north of the northernmost point of mainland Norway, is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Tunneled into the permafrost there lies a store of seeds like no other - which serves as a 'backup' facility, with samples from every country in the world. It houses the largest collection of wheat varieties on the planet. Dr Cary Fowler, who helped to set up the seed vault - reveals about the role wheat's past has to play in our future. Dan also meets Andy Forbes from Brockwell Bake, sourdough specialist Vanessa Kimbell and author of "Our Daily Bread - A History of the Cereals" - Professor Åsmund Bjørnstad... as well as Gotland farmer Curt Niklasson, whose life has been changed forever by the contents of a wooden treasure chest. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
01/02/1527m 59s

The Future of Food Markets

Food markets have been the heart of our towns and cities for thousands of years. Now, with financial pressure on local authorities, and growing competition from a supermarkets price war, Sheila Dillon and guests discuss what a market needs to survive in 2015. Sheila is joined by award winning markets organiser Malcolm Veigas, Carolyn Steel architect and author of 'Hungry City' and market trader and BBC Food and Farming Awards 2015 judge in the Best Market category, Peter Gott. She also hears from a 'monstrously huge' and revolutionary new market development in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, from one of the UK's oldest established markets in Leicester and from the organiser of Iceland's first ever farmers market. Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.
18/01/1527m 35s

2015 Food and Farming Awards Launch

Sheila Dillon unveils a new team of judges for the 2015 BBC Food and Farming Awards, including Giorgio Locatelli, Diana Henry and Cyrus Todiwala. Sheila catches up with previous nominees and winners, looks ahead to the big food stories of the coming year, and explains how you can send in your nominations. Producer: Rich Ward.
11/01/1527m 51s

Your food science questions for Harold McGee

Sheila Dillon is joined by Harold McGee to answer your food science questions. Harold McGee is fascinated by what we are actually doing to our food when we prepare and cook it. His research and writing have inspired many chefs, including Heston Blumenthal. Today he answers questions from listeners, food writers and chefs about the chemistry of food and cooking. Producer: Sarah Langan.
04/01/1525m 1s

Redemption through Food

Redemption through food. Sheila Dillon brings you her selection of inspirational stories from The Food Programme in 2014. Ken Hom tells Sheila how food changed his life and his fortunes. Claudia Roden explains how food brought the Egyptian diaspora together. And we hear from a former drug addict who found a new life growing salad. Presented by Sheila Dillon produced by Emma Weatherill in Bristol.
28/12/1427m 28s

Feeding Britain

Feeding Britain - The story of one shop in South Yorkshire which is changing the way we think about food waste and food poverty. A year ago the Community Shop opened in Goldthorpe. It takes food which would otherwise have gone to landfill and sells it at a heavily discounted price. Now the model is expanding. This Monday, 15th December, a new community shop is opening in Lambeth, South London. The aim is for dozens of these stores to be across the country. This week's Food Poverty Inquiry 'Feeding Britain' recommended more of these social supermarkets. But some people do not believe that the problem of food waste should solve the problem of food poverty. Presented by Dan Saladino and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
14/12/1427m 37s

Cookbooks of 2014

A review of cookbooks and food writing of 2014. Sheila Dillon is joined to discuss the year in books by Allan Jenkins, editor of Observer Food Monthly, investigative journalist Joanna Blythman and blogger Alex Ryder aka Gingey Bites. Sheila also hears from publisher Sarah Lavelle about this year's sales. And cookery writer Diana Henry talks about her addiction to cookbooks. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
07/12/1427m 59s

A Bronx Food Tale

New York's south Bronx is still one of the city's most deprived areas; low incomes, unemployment and health problems abound. In the 1970's it captured headlines for a "burn for hate" policy that appeared to have taken hold; abandoned (and sometimes occupied) buildings were set on fire and raised to the ground. Entire blocks were destroyed giving the borough, in some eyes, the look of a war zone. In recent years the changes that have unfolded in the Bronx have been significant. In part the progress made, making the area more desirable to live in, and home to a more united community, can be put down to food. New York City has had a network of public gardens where food can be grown dating back to the 1880's but in recent years, this resource has taken on new meaning, and in the Bronx it's changed lives. Sheila Dillon meets Karen Washington a woman who's using food and farming to transform her part of the Bronx through "the Garden of Happiness", a three-quarter acre abandoned lot that she turned into an "urban farm" back in 1988. It's gone from strength to strength and this garden, in which Mexicans, African-American, Asian and Caribbean neighbours come together to grow food, has changed a part of the south Bronx for good. In the programme Karen Washington explains why the garden has not only become a valuable source of fresh food but has also helped solve many of the social issues in the neighbourhood. Sheila also speaks to Marcel Van-Ooyen, head of Grow NYC, a part of the Mayor's office in New York, to hear how the city's gardens have also become part of an anti-obesity strategy. Producer: Dan Saladino.
30/11/1427m 54s

Get Ahead Treats for Christmas

Sheila Dillon invites Diana Henry to provide a guide to an Eastern Christmas. With experts Bee Wilson and Sally Butcher on hand, Diana looks at 'get ahead' treats, and finds out why certain foods from the east feature so prominently at Christmas. They also explore some of the symbolism of 'exotic' food stuffs like dates and pomegranates that have become so much part and parcel of the Christmas feast. All of the recipes are featured on The Food Programme website. Producer: Sarah Langan.
24/11/1427m 55s

Terra Madre

Food stories from across the world. Dan Saladino travels to Terra Madre 2014 in Turin. It is a global movement of farmers and food producers which attracts the attention of world leaders - from Michelle Obama to Pope Francis. Last month, 250,000 people from 160 countries gathered at a former Olympic venue in Turin to taste and celebrate diverse foods and to discuss and debate the issues affecting the world's food. Jamie Oliver shows Dan around the Ark of Taste - a collection of 2,000 traditional foods which are in danger of extinction. Edie Mukiibi, Vice President of Slow Food International, explains the impact of the project 10,000 Food Gardens in Africa. Northern Irish chef Paula McIntyre cooks with chefs from Uganda. Dr Geoff Andrews from The Open University explains the political roots of Terra Madre. And Richard McCarthy tells Dan about projects from Slow Food USA - including 'nose-to-tailgating'. Presented by Dan Saladino and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
16/11/1427m 52s


From the king oyster to the not-so-humble button, Dan Saladino discovers a world of mushrooms, grown for food - and follows the spores to reveal the secrets of mycelium, hunts for the perfect mushroom sandwich, and finds that there is one species in particular that dominates the supermarkets and our kitchens. With more types of cultivated mushroom available in the UK now than there has ever been, Dan hears about Korean mushrooms grown in jars, visits Europe's biggest mushroom farm, and tracks down the biggest global company in the ultra-specialised world of spawn production. Dan also encounters a photographer whose street-food mushroom project inspired him to create a new type of imagery - the 'fungi luminogram', gets insights from Eugenia Bone - author of 'Mycophilia' - and Paul Stamets, legendary mycologist and advocate of mycelium. There will also be plenty of butter and garlic. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
10/11/1428m 20s

Tom Jaine

Sheila Dillon talks to the publisher, writer and restaurateur Tom Jaine about his life. From his early days at 'The Hole in the Wall' in Bath to custody of his beloved 'Prospect Books' ("every book a brick in the wall of knowledge") and beyond. With contributions from Rick Stein, Joyce Molyneux and Tim Hayward. Producer: Sarah Langan Photograph by Toby Coulson.
02/11/1427m 17s

Women in the Kitchen

Sheila Dillon looks at the state of play for female chefs in the professional kitchen. She talks to Alice Waters, Sally Clarke, Margot Henderson and Mary-Ellen McTague. We also hear from Joyce Molyneux, who was one of the female exceptions in the professional kitchen in post war Britain . In light of comments from some well known male chefs, most recently Tom Kerridge, Sheila asks if the kitchen as a working environment has really changed that much over the last few decades and whether prejudice and a macho culture deters up and coming talent. Producer: Sarah Langan.
26/10/1423m 51s

A Life through Food: Harold McGee

Harold McGee, the man who helped explain the science of the kitchen, tells his food story. His book, published in 1984, On Food and Cooking, has influenced home cooks as well as a new generation of experimental chefs. It's seen as an important book because it made the science of food accessible and understandable to domestic cooks and chefs. It explains what happens to the protein molecules in eggs when they're whisked and what unfolds in the fibres of meat when heated. However, in the programme Harold McGee argues that his book revived kitchen science rather than introduced it. He cites figures including the 18th century Lord Rumford (an early experimenter in slow cooking) and Nicholas Kurti (a Hungarian born Oxford physicist) as the true pioneers of a more scientific approach to cooking. Presenter: Sheila Dillon. Producer: Dan Saladino.
21/10/1427m 35s

In a Stew about Rabbits

Sheila Dillon discovers the delights of eating rabbit meat, but also why some people think it is unjustifiable. Dil Peeling from Compassion in World Farming gives details on their latest report into conditions on rabbit farms on the continent. We hear from the Knowle West Media Centre about the culture of catching wild rabbits. And Sheila hears from Peter Rigby, a young farmer near Chippenham who is going to start a free range rabbit farm. Dan Saladino also spends a morning cooking with chefs Barny Haughton and Oliver Pratt to find out how to cook it, and just how delicious the meat can be. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
19/10/1427m 55s

Mouthwatering Mutton

Mutton tastier than lamb - why we should all demand to eat older meat. Dan Saladino uncovers the mystery of why we no longer eat mutton, despite it being a favoured meat of the Victorians. He hears about the efforts of Bob Kennard, author of a new book, Much Ado About Mutton, who's campaigning for good quality mutton to return to our menus. Chefs Fergus Henderson and Cyrus Todiwala are both lyrical on the virtues of mutton and give tips on the best way to cook it. And Dan visits the Thomas family sheep farm deep in the Welsh hills to understand why our lack of interest in mutton has changed their way of life. The programme also hears of a mutton story from America, the Moonlite BBQ in Kentucky, a destination restaurant that draws people from all over the US in search of their slow cooked mutton. It was also a destination for artisan mutton producer Tony Davies who travelled to the restaurant to see if you could provide an answer to mutton's woes in the UK. As he explains in the programme, he arrived at a dramatic conclusion. Presented by Dan Saladino and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill. Photo image copyright - Bob Kennard. The audio of the Moonlite BBQ restaurant kindly provided by Mark Dolan of and the American Southern Foodways Alliance
05/10/1427m 48s

Bees and the City - the Urban Honey Story

As bee populations fall, Sheila Dillon asks if some salvation may be found in the mean streets of our cities. With a report from New York where bee keeping was actually illegal for a long time but where the honey festival now thrives. In London a young brewer tells us how she combined her love of brewing and beekeeping to produce an award winning honey ale. In Copenhagen we hear from a project with hives across the city - each producing its own distinctive taste and flavour, determined by the source of the nectar. Even the offices are alive with the hum of bees as Dan Saladino hears how the venture enlists the help of homeless people and asylum seekers, giving them confidence and and training in all aspects of beekeeping, honey production and sales. Meanwhile in Bristol are trying to find out if urban habitats really can provide a stable environment for our bees to flourish - can our overlooked scruffy verges and car parks contribute to the solution to one of our biggest ecological threats? Produced by Sarah Langan.
28/09/1426m 59s

Food Is MAD

From a lesson in "guerrilla gardening" by LA's Ron Finley to Mastering the Art of Soviet cooking with food writer Anya Von Bremzen, Dan Saladino reports from an annual food symposium held in Copenhagen, called MAD (the word for food in Danish). Now in its fourth year, the event was founded by the celebrated chef of the restaurant Noma, Rene Redzepi. In his own words, it's curated by a group of "chefs, waiters, a former banker and an anthropologist". To some it's a festival of ideas, to others it's like listening to a "food mix tape", over two days an audience of 600 chefs, writers and food obsessives hear a series of presentations about cooking, restaurants, food history and activism. Dan Saladino takes the Food Programme inside the circus tent where the symposium is hear a selection of the diverse stories being told. There's Ron Finley, a gardener from Los Angeles who was prosecuted for growing food in a patch of land in front of his him. He took on the authorities and changed the law. His story has inspired people all over the world. It's also an important arena for the world's great chefs to tell stories of kitchens and cooking and to pass on their wisdom. Food writer Joe Warwick profiles three chefs who too part in MAD 4, Pierre Koffman, Olivier Roellinger and the enigmatic Fulvio Pierangeli. It's an often eccentric mix of stories, and so as well as guerrilla gardening there's a guide to making tapioca in the Amazonian rainforest through to a first hand account of cooking in the USSR. Some stories will surprise, others will inform, but they all inspire. Music in this is edition is provided by Efterklang and Tatu Ronkko. They're not only one of the most respected bands in Denmark, they've also composed music for a restaurant in collaboration with chefs.
22/09/1423m 59s

Ethiopian Teff - An Ancient Grain

Teff has been grown in Ethiopia for Millennia. Traditionally, it's ground, milled, mixed with water and fermented for days to make the sour staple flatbread injera. Cultivation of this mysterious and tiny grain has been concentrated in Ethiopia for thousands of years. But now that's changing as the health-conscious Western world realise the nutritional secrets this crop might bestow. In this edition of the Food Programme, Sheila Dillon meets UK entrepreneurs bringing foods, normally seen as Ethiopian to new diners, and speaks to experts to hear how the rise in popularity of teff is affecting the farmers back home.
16/09/1426m 56s

A Taste of Britain Revisited - Yorkshire

Dan Saladino revisits Yorkshire food traditions which were captured on film in 1974 by Derek Cooper, previous presenter of The Food Programme. From Yorkshire puddings to tripe, Dan discovers how the food from this region was formed by the Industrial Revolution, hard labour and fuel. Dan re-watches the original 1970s A Taste of Britain tv programme with historian Peter Brears, writer Christopher Hirst, and those who remember the people and places in the original film. Presented by Dan Saladino and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
07/09/1427m 14s

A Taste of Britain Revisited - Wales

In 1974, Derek Cooper set off on a hunt - for BBC Television - around Britain to discover what was left of its regional foods and traditional ingredients. Forty years on, Dan Saladino revisits Wales, and that series, called "A Taste of Britain" - to meet some of those involved, their descendants, and to find out what happened after these foods and skills, some of which at the time were on the wane when they were recorded for the cameras. Dan goes to Wales to find out how the tradition of fishing for sewin in tiny boats called coracles is faring. When Derek visited the Gower Peninsula, cockles were in short supply and had to be sourced from outside of Wales. Dan visits Swansea market to ask how the cockle trade is doing now and to see if the famous Welsh laverbread is as popular today as it was when the original series was filmed in the mid 70's. At that time, Derek Cooper feared that some of the traditional Welsh foods and skills were about to be lost forever. Dan finds out whether those fears became the reality, as he asks how Welsh identity is expressed through its food. Producer: Sarah Langan.
31/08/1427m 1s

A Taste of Britain Revisited - Dorset

In 1974, Derek Cooper set off on a hunt - for BBC Television - around Britain to discover what was left of its regional foods and traditional ingredients. Forty years on, Dan Saladino revisits that series, called "A Taste of Britain" - to meet some of those involved, their descendants, and to find out what happened after these food traditions, many of which at the time were on the wane, were recorded for the cameras. In the first of a three-part special summer series, Dan starts his own food journey in Dorset. He'll share stories with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mark Hix, and go on the trail of some long-hidden buried fungi, as well as an oddly elusive cheese: the Dorset Blue Vinny. Presenter: Dan Saladino Producer: Rich Ward.
26/08/1428m 4s

Eat for Victory

Eat for Victory - Sheila Dillon meets the people who are using the techniques of WWII rationing to improve their diet today. Clare Millar likes to dress as a land girl, and eat like one too. She isn't interested in eating Woolton Pie but she finds that the mantras from the time of rationing such as Grow Your Own Food, Don't Take More Than You Can Eat and Don't Waste Good Food are still useful today. 60 years after the end of rationing Sheila and Clare find that there is still a lot to learn from that period. They meet women in their 80s and 90s to hear the cooking techniques that they learnt during rationing. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced by Emma Weatherill in Bristol.
17/08/1423m 41s

Growing Veg, Not Drugs

Growing salad leaves is changing the lives of former drug addicts in Bristol. Sheila Dillon visits The Severn Project run by Steve Glover. Steve employs ex addicts and other people who find it hard to get jobs. And he's turned it into a profitable business. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced by Emma Weatherill in Bristol.
10/08/1427m 49s

Problems with Poultry?

Is the poultry industry fit for purpose? As our consumption of chicken increases and UK poultry production intensifies, Dan Saladino looks at the modern poultry industry. Two recent events have brought the production of chicken into sharp focus. The first is an investigation by the Guardian's Special Correspondent Felicity Lawrence into allegations of hygiene failings at major production plants. It was a serious claim as poultry production is already under scrutiny because of the presence of campylobacter in most chicken, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The report triggered a call by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, for checks on two factories. The company involved strongly denied any problems had taken place, subsequent checks by the Food Standards Agency found no breaches and the plants were given the all clear. However the episode brought poultry production under national scrutiny. Dan is given full access to the production line of one of the plants involved. Based in Scunthorpe it's the largest poultry slaughter house in the UK and is owned by the largest supermarket chicken supplier 2 Sisters. They explain how our chicken is produced and what kind of measures are in place to reduce levels of campylobacter. The second story that brought poultry to renewed national attention was a recent decision by the Food Standards Agency on its plans to publish data revealing which supermarkets had the highest levels of campylobacter in their supply chains. In March it was announced that the agency was pushing ahead with "steely determination" to publish the names and levels of the bacteria. In July that decision was reversed and that data might not be available for another year. Dan asks the Food Standards Agency why consumers won't be getting this information as soon as possible.
04/08/1427m 58s

English Wine

English and Welsh wines are on the up and up, as Sheila Dillon investigates. Wine production is well known as a risky investment, not least because it is so dependent on the weather. Many UK growers were hit very hard by the terrible summer of 2012. One of our most well known brands, Nyetimber, completely abandoned their harvest for that year. Establishing a vineyard also requires a big capital investment; one adage used to be that if you wanted to make a moderate amount of money the way to do it would be to have a large amount of money and then plant a vineyard. This may be part of the reason why the wine produced in England and Wales accounts for less than 1% of that consumed here. Despite all of this, the acreage of vineyards in England has doubled in the last 7 years and there are some producers aiming to produce an unheard of million bottles a year. Perhaps more importantly, mentioning English or Welsh wine at a dinner table is no longer likely to attract sniggers of derision. In fact our wine production is now synonymous with quality. As UK wine producers big and small are growing in confidence, Sheila Dillon asks how they can assure their future in a risk laden business, where they are still one of the smallest players on the global market. Producer: Sarah Langan.
27/07/1427m 44s

Salad leaves

It's boom time in the world of lettuce and salad leaves. More leafy greens were sold in the UK last year than ever before, and that upward trend looks set to continue - driven in particular by bags and bowls of pre-prepared leaves. In this edition of The Food Programme, Dan Saladino goes on a journey into this fast-changing world of leaves - from how they are grown and packaged, to the ongoing hunt for new leaves. Dan discovers how one particular type of lettuce with roots in 19th-century America changed food forever, he encounters a man who travels the globe searching for the next 'hero leaf' - and learns secrets about preparing and growing. Along the way he'll meet pioneering chefs René Redzepi and David Everitt-Matthias, US food writer Irene Sax, greengrocer Charlie Hicks, as well as gardener and writer Mark Diacono.
20/07/1427m 39s

Food in Opera

Food in Opera. Sheila Dillon hears the story of food told through 400 years of music history. Gluttonous composers, cuisine centred plotlines and singers needing nourishment. Renowned opera critic and gourmet traveller, Fred Plotkin holds an event at the Royal Opera House on food in opera. We get to listen in to stories of a sugar addicted Mozart, Pavarotti's post performance meals and find out who gave their name to Pasta Norma. The interval is spent at Glyndebourne opera speaking with chorus members and prop makers about the travails of eating on stage. Presented by Sheila Dillon with help from Opera on 3's Christopher Cook. Produced by Emma Weatherill in Bristol.
13/07/1427m 58s

Food and the Curriculum

Stefan Gates talks to teachers, kids and cooks about food and the curriculum, ahead of the changes that come into force from September. Stefan asks how well prepared schools and teachers are, what students think of it all and whether the changes will finally spark a real change in the attitudes to food that will grow for generations. Producer: Sarah Langan.
06/07/1427m 36s

Mexican cooking and the food adventures of Diana Kennedy

Dan Saladino meets the world authority on the food of Mexico, the British born writer Diana Kennedy. Diana Kennedy's life reads like an adventure story. Born in Loughton, Essex in 1923, after serving in the land army she set off on a journey that would take her to Canada, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. She stopped off in Haiti, met the New York Times correspondent Paul Kennedy, fell in love and they moved to Mexico. Soon after arriving she became fascinated by Mexican food. A maid looking after the home was also a cook and the regional dishes made Diana Kennedy curious about the ingredients and recipes of other regions of Mexico. After Paul Kennedy died in 1966 Diana found herself living in New York, with no income and an uncertain future. The Food Editor of The New York Times, Craig Claiborne encouraged her to use her knowledge of Mexican food and give cooking lessons. To research recipes and find ingredients she'd travel to remote parts of Mexico, into villages, to markets and into kitchens with domestic cooks to learn more about traditional foods. That research has continued for five decades. It has produced nine books, and a body of work that is now regarded as the most authoritative account of Mexico's cuisines ever created. In the programme Diana Kennedy explains her life in food. In the programme food writer and editor of Swallow magazine, James Casey visits Diana Kennedy in her home in Michoacan to see how she's also created a garden containing varieties of fruit and vegetables from all over Mexico. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
30/06/1428m 5s

Sweeteners: The answer to our sugar cravings?

Sheila Dillon asks whether sweeteners could be the way for us to cut down sugar but to keep enjoying sweet treats. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
22/06/1427m 36s

US Southern Cooking and Chef Sean Brock

Richard Johnson is in South Carolina to meet Charleston chef, Sean Brock, who is on a mission to revive ingredients and flavours not experienced for hundreds of years. It's a story that involves an intricate "food tattoo", one of America's biggest private seed collections, a hog roast and "pick picking" and bowls of delicious peas, beans, rice, grits and fried chicken. Soon after British settlers arrived in South Carolina in the 17th century a cuisine called the "Carolina rice kitchen" was formed. Using the expertise of West African slaves to develop rice plantations, a larder evolved consisting of the main crop along with beans, African vegetables and staples like oats, rye and wheat from Britain. Chef Sean Brock believes it was one of the earliest, and "most beautiful" food cultures in America. In his mid-thirties and sporting an arm covered in tattoos of heirloom vegetables, he's attempting to "reboot" that cuisine and those ingredients which had all disappeared by the 20th century. He's joined forces with historian David Shields and a seed hunter, Glenn Roberts, to source, grow and cook with these historic foods. Richard joins Sean Brock at his restaurant, Husk to hear why "ridiculous flavour" is the driving force behind the mission. Producer: Dan Saladino.
15/06/1428m 0s

Holy Food

Tim Hayward looks at the tradition of monastic food production, with stories from Sicily, New York as well as from closer to home. Ever since the 6th century rule of St Benedict said that monastic orders should be self- sufficient, monks and nuns have taken to the land and to the kitchens to produce food and drink for sale. Tim introduces us to some specific examples of how that tradition is thriving today. Giorgio Locatelli and food historian Mary Taylor Simeti explain how an array of recipes for sublime biscuits and pastries made by Sicilian nuns have survived for centuries, due in no small way to a woman called Maria Grammatico who went to live in a convent where Nuns would live out their final days. She would collect their recipes and she went on to become one of the most famous makers of Sicilian pastries. Giorgio Locatelli lovingly recreates some of those sumptuous treats in his Locanda restaurant today. We visit the New Skete Nuns in New York who have featured in the New York Times and Vanity Fair with their famous cheesecakes. Tim talks to food historian Annie Gray who reminds him of the overall impact of the monastic orders on food production but who also cautions us not to get too carried away with the idea of continuity. We hear from the writer, Madeline Scherb, who went on her own pilgrimage around the world to cook and pray with some monks and nuns; recalling the chanting of the Hail Mary on a caramel production line. She explains how St Benedict himself was not able to persuade his own monks to abstain completely from alcohol, and so the tradition of producing liquors of all sorts is one of the longest surviving strands of monastic production. In the UK, that includes the famous Ampleforth abbey ciders and beers. And there's Buckfast tonic wine from Devon; a drink that has attracted controversy in some areas. Join Tim Hayward as he raises a glass to a tradition of monastic food production that appears to be alive and kicking. Producer: Sarah Langan.
08/06/1427m 53s


Sheila Dillon takes a look at that most coveted of kitchen tools; the knife. One of the most primal yet treasured implements, any chef worth their salt knows that you don't mess with another chef's knife. Sheila talks to chef Henry Harris from Racine's restaurant about his passion for knives. There's a report from a knife shop where the prices reach into the the thousands. With knife skills courses popping up all over the country, this programme is a celebration of the craftsmanship and artistry of knife making and of the people with a passion for this ancient tradition; from the home cook, the new chef buying his first set of knives, to the people who hanker after the rare Japanese blade. Producer: Sarah Langan.
01/06/1428m 11s

Wild Booze

Writer and forager Andy Hamilton leads a journey hunting for plants to make incredible drinks, and looks again at the wild world all around us.
25/05/1424m 7s

Fish Farming

Fields of Fish - The huge rise in farmed fish and the people trying to make it sustainable. The world is now producing more farmed fish than farmed beef. Sheila Dillon discovers how fish farming works and hears concerns about its impact on the environment and fish welfare. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
19/05/1427m 26s

Ken Hom 2 (of 2) - Politics, influence and the future

In this second of two special editions recorded at the Bristol Food Connections Festival, Sheila Dillon talks to Ken Hom about his extraordinary life through food. Today they focus on what Ken has been doing since his early BBC career and about how his political beliefs have developed over the years. They also discuss the changes in China and his fears and hopes for the future. In yesterday's programme, Sheila and Ken discussed the impact his first BBC series 'Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery' had when it aired in Britain in 1984. They also talked about his very early influences from his childhood in Chicago's Chinatown. In the 60's though, Ken moved to California and became something of a hippy; dropping out from University and even declaring himself a Maoist for a while. He never admitted this allegiance to his mother who had very anti Communist views. Sheila discusses his political motivation and how that has changed over years. They also talk about his landmark 2012 TV series 'Exploring China', which revealed much more about China than just the state of its food. In the programme Ken was reunited with his father's family who he had not seen for over twenty years. Ken also tells Sheila about how much teaching means to him, and how he intends to carry on inspiring the next generation of young people, through a passion for food. Producer: Sarah Langan.
12/05/1427m 47s

Ken Hom 1 (of 2) - The Early Years

Over 2 special programmes from the Food Connections festival in Bristol, Sheila Dillon talks to Ken Hom about his extraordinary life through food. Part 1: 1 His upbringing and early career. It's hard to believe that it was nearly 30 years ago when Ken Hom first appeared on BBC television with his series that arguably revolutionised British cooking. Back in 1984, many people in the UK had hardly tasted Chinese food (let alone tried to cook it for themselves) when they tuned into BBC TV to watch the youthful presenter of Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery. Since then, Ken has continued to spread the word both here and abroad through television, books and teaching. It's said that seven million of his woks have been sold internationally. Sheila and Ken recall the key moments and mentors in his life; since he began to learn to cook as an 11 year old working at his uncle's Chicago restaurant, to his position now where he is regarded as one of the world's most renowned chefs and ambassadors for Chinese cuisine. In tomorrow's edition, Sheila and Ken talk further about his political beliefs, his 2012 landmark series Exploring China, about teaching and about his hopes for the future. Producer: Sarah Langan.
11/05/1423m 56s

Behind the Scenes at BBC Food and Farming Awards 2014

The first of two-part special on the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Awards - now in its 14th year on Radio 4 and being hosted in Bristol for the first time. The awards celebrate individuals, businesses and organisations across the UK who produce quality food and change lives. In this episode Valentine Warner, Chair of the judges, discovers the food, music and animation which all played their part in the 2014 Awards ceremony Bristol chef Barny Haughton prepares a celebratory meal for the finalists using their own products and recipes. Valentine also discovers the challenges of representing food in music as David Ogden composes a piece of music for the Awards. And students from the University of the West of England work on representing food in animation. The BBC is recording and transmitting food-related editions of some of the nation's favourite radio programmes throughout the Bristol Food Connections festival, which takes place from 1 to 11 May.
04/05/1423m 46s

Plantains and pleasure; Jamaican food in the UK

Tim Hayward on the evolution of Jamaican food in the UK with chefs and cooks in Bristol.
27/04/1427m 46s

A Tribute to Derek Cooper

Sheila Dillon pays tribute to the late Derek Cooper who started The Food Programme back in 1979 and changed the face of food broadcasting and journalism.
22/04/1427m 39s

Food in Northern Ireland: A Golden Era?

Sheila Dillon meets Northern Ireland's chefs and producers leading a food renaissance.
13/04/1428m 18s

Raw Milk

With a Food Standards Agency consultation underway, Sheila Dillon and guests discuss the controversial subject of raw milk. Banned in Scotland in 1983, the current system in England allows raw unpasteurised milk to be sold directly from the farmer. Raw milk producers are subject to stringent and regular laboratory tests and their products have to carry a warning on the label that the milk may contain properties that are harmful. But there is a growing demand for raw milk in the UK and means of supply are testing the current rules ; The FSA recently threatened prosecution over the presence of a vending machine selling raw milk in Selfridges. Advocates argue that raw milk has many positive health benefits that are lost with pasteurisation. The debate for some is about the right of the individual to choose what risks they take. Balancing that demand with the need to protect public health is the challenge the Food Standards Agency faces. In America, the libertarian argument is even more polarised. With the prices paid for pasteurised milk being on a seemingly downward trajectory in the UK, and with internet shopping making a mockery of distribution rules, Sheila will get the views of all the interested parties. The passion this subject stirs, and the big questions it raises will make for a lively and engaging listen to everyone - raw milk and non raw milk drinkers alike.
06/04/1427m 22s

Wild Beer

Dan Saladino meets the brewers transforming the flavours and styles of the British craft beer scene. From experiments with seaweed to efforts to find lost Victorian recipes, it's a diverse and fast moving world, so where are the new ideas for beer coming from and which brewers are leading the way? The award winning beer writer Pete Brown has described 2014 as the year in which craft beer has gone mainstream. A term first used to describe the renaissance of American brewing in the 1980's "craft" refers to smaller scale breweries, producing in small batches and often working with beer styles packed with flavour. In the last ten years the overall beer market has crashed by 25 per cent. Although cask ale is holding its own, the beer of this new wave of "craft brewers" is growing at around 70 per cent, year on year. The Food Programme finds out who is behind this trend and what kind of beers they're producing. Dan hears from Brewdog in Scotland, Thornbridge in Derbyshire, Wild Beer Co in Somerset as well as The Kernel and Meantime breweries in London to hear why sour beers, German styles and Saisons are the order of the day. Beer archivist Ron Pattinson talks about his efforts to revive some of Britain's lost beer recipes and Garrett Oliver, editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, explains why experiments in yeast are giving us new beers flavours. From Copenhagen the man behind the Mikkeller brewery describes why he never brews the same beer twice and why seaweed, popcorn and vanilla are on his list of ingredients. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
30/03/1428m 0s


The rise and rise of the micro-bakery. How home baked bread became a business opportunity.
23/03/1427m 48s

Hospital Food

Sheila Dillon investigates the government's latest plans to improve food in the NHS. The government is introducing a new incentive to encourage hospitals to invest in food. Will this succeed where other initiatives fail? Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
16/03/1428m 1s

BBC Food & Farming Awards: Meet the Finalists

A special edition introducing the producers, farmers and cooks who have made it through to the final stage of 2014's BBC Food & Farming Awards, featuring judges Charles Campion and Richard Corrigan. At the beginning of the year thousands of Radio 4 listeners from all parts of the UK sent in nominations, describing the work of their food heroes. Now, six weeks on, the judging team has decided who the finalists are. Dan Saladino introduces the 24 finalists across ten different categories from Best Drinks Producer to Best Food Market and from Best Local Food Retailer to Best Streetfood and Takeaway. The judges have been travelling to meet them all, taste the food and drink they make and hear their stories. In early May, in Bristol, at the annual Awards ceremony, we'll find out which of these finalists go on to become the winners. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.
10/03/1427m 23s

A Renaissance for Butchers?

Sheila Dillon examines the state of the Butchery profession to find out how it has weathered the storm since the horsemeat scandal. She asks how our consumption habits have affected demand, and whether the profession of Butchery is still a promising one for young people. With contributions from young butchers Illtud Dunsford and Charlotte Harbottle, and Dario Cecchini who believes butchery is an art form and who quotes Dante as he works. Producer: Sarah Langan.
02/03/1427m 52s

The Future of Fairtrade

Matthew Hill reports on the future of Fairtrade as the label marks its 20th anniversary. Some are arguing that a new initiative is weakening the foundation's founding vision. Produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
23/02/1427m 53s

Really Wild Food

Sheila Dillon interviews the team behind the BBC's Natural History Unit to uncover the strangest collection of food stories from around the world. From weird, wonderful and disgusting tales of eating krill burgers in the Antarctic, to drinking goat's blood in Ethiopia. Produced by Emma Weatherill in Bristol.
16/02/1427m 41s

Claudia Roden: A Life Through Food

In 1968 Claudia Roden published her first book, 'A Book of Middle Eastern Food', and with it introduced many people to an unfamiliar food culture. When she arrived in Britain in the fifties, foods like hummus and pitta were nearly unheard of, and "to talk about food was a taboo subject". Things have changed. That these foods are now common-place and mainstream is in large part due to Claudia Roden's work. Going on to write 'The Book of Jewish Food', 'The Food of Spain', 'Arabesque', 'Mediterranean Cookery' and others, and with a new edition of 'The Food of Italy' out next month twenty-five years after its first appearance, Sheila Dillon meets Claudia Roden. Sheila discovers a colourful and turbulent life in which food has meant so much, a life which has shaped a unique and powerful voice in food writing. Claudia was born in 1936 into a family of Sephardic Jewish merchants, into a cosmopolitan Cairo that has, in the wake of the Suez Crisis, long since disappeared. This is the story of a family in exile and the power of food to sustain individuals and entire cultures. With the help of Simon Schama, who is a long time admirer since coming across that first book as a young history teacher, Sheila Dillon charts a remarkable life in food. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Rich Ward.
09/02/1428m 0s

Britain and the Ready Meal

Ready meals divide Britain, some love them, others think they're a problem for our health and wellbeing and a major culprit in de-skilling us in the kitchen. In the last four decades we've helped lead the way in the ready meal's innovation and in its consumption. We're now Europe's biggest consumers of the "prepared meal". All of this came into sharp focus with the horsemeat scandal. A 100pc horsemeat lasagne came to symbolise the problems and anxieties of allowing others to cook our meals for us. As a result some frozen ready meals were consigned to the history books, never to be seen in a frozen cabinet again, and manufacturers reported a big drop in sales. That's not the full picture however. In 2014 we're seeing the continued rise and rise of the premium chilled ready meal, the "posh" answer to the Italian, Indian and Asian frozen options. What does this trend tell us about our ongoing, and sometimes guilt-filled, romance with the ready meal? Who's buying all of these ready meals anyway? Sheila Dillon visits high-end ready meals manufacturer Charlie Bigham whose business is growing in double digit figures. Sheila also hears from a sociologist (Miriam Glucksmann) about our relationship with the ready meal. Meanwhile Arabella Weir puts the ready meal in the context of more of us having to feed our families on a tight budget. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
04/02/1427m 47s

Greek Yogurt: a global love affair

In the Great Taste Awards last year, a yogurt from a small British dairy beat over 10,000 competitors to win the Supreme Champion title. This surprised many, not least because it was a simple, plain, 'Greek-style' yogurt. This type of fermented milk product, often strained to remove whey, is a relative newcomer in the UK - but is on the rise. In fact, Greek and Greek-style yogurt is the fastest growing sector of the UK yogurt market. It has also been at the centre of a High Court battle, an American health craze and a multi-billion dollar yogurt war. In this edition of the Food Programme, Sheila Dillon discovers the secrets of making this thick, creamy... and delicious cultured food. It was originally made in this country by immigrants such as the founders of Tim's Dairy, now run by four brothers whose Greek Cypriot uncle started making yogurt in a small London workshop in 1949, and now make around five to ten thousand litres of Greek-style yogurt a day. Collete and David Strachan are dairy farmers, but after losing cows (even though none were infected) during BSE and with the price of milk spiralling ever downward, the future of their Suffolk farm was in question. Ten years ago they started to experiment with yogurt-making, and along the way, as Sheila discovers, they have been joined by two of their children James and Katherine- and it's their plain Greek-style yogurt made at Marybelle Dairy that has just won the Supreme Champion award. So what is 'Greek' yogurt? With the help of BBC producer Aylin Bozyap-Hannen who learnt how to make yogurt from her Turkish mother, Sheila reveals a traditional, regional food that has been on an incredible, controversial, and tasty journey. Producer: Rich Ward.
26/01/1427m 25s

Food and the Future of Pubs

Sheila Dillon hears the latest on the role of food in the future of the British pub. From traditional Asian curries to the influence of Michelin starred chefs. Producer: Perminder Khatkar.
19/01/1427m 56s

Three inspirational cooks

Sheila Dillon revisits the inspirational caterers from the very first BBC Food & Farming Awards. They share stories of cooking for people with cancer, HIV and mental illness. Sheila finds out how the work has changed in the last decade and a half. In the case of the Bristol Cancer Care Centre (now called Penny Brohn Cancer Care) work on food and nutrition considered radical and alternative back in 2000 has now received wider acceptance and a place within the NHS. A cafe run by and for people with mental illness in Stirling in Scotland has also continued its work since becoming a finalist in the awards 14 years ago, but funding has been difficult to find and it has had to move to a different location. However, people with depression and anxiety still use the cafe as a way of having social contact. The final catering team, The Food Chain, based in London was set up in 1988 to serve meals to people with HIV. As medication has improved the long term welfare of sufferers, so the charity's work has changed and it's become a place where people come together to share food and learn about nutrition.
12/01/1427m 57s

The best of British food and farming.... the search begins

Sheila Dillon, chef Richard Corrigan and food writer and broadcaster Valentine Warner help launch the 2014 BBC Food & Farming Awards. From the UK's Best Food market to the Best Drinks Producer, The Food Programme explains how to get involved and nominate your very own food hero. Sheila will be catching up with the previous year's winners to find out what happened next, and she'll also be explaining why 2014 is a particularly important year for us all to share our food stories and experiences with the judges. Producer: Dan Saladino.
05/01/1424m 13s

Fish & Chips

Sheila Dillon explores a renaissance in the great British fish and chip shop, with the help of food blogger Daniel Young. At Upton Chippy near Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, not much has changed since the first fry there in 1948. The fish comes fresh from Grimsby market, the potatoes from a local farmer. The batter recipe is the same (and yes, it's a secret) and it's all cooked in beef dripping on a coal-fired range, one of the last in the UK. Not many fish and chip shops have kept the faith like owner Sally Shaw and her loyal customers, one of whom admits that even when he owned his own fish and chip shop, he always had Friday off so he could come here. Sheila visits Rhoti Chai, an Indian street-food restaurant in London, for an Indian-style pop-up fish & chips event organised by food blogger Daniel Young. Amritsari fish and masala fries as well as curried mayo and chai-spiced pickled eggs are on the menu. James Ritchie of Simpsons in Cheltenham explains why there's nowhere to hide with a chip and Mitch Tonks of the multi-award-winning Rockfish Seafood & Chips in Devon explains why you have to know the fish game to become a winner. Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.
03/01/1427m 5s

100 years of Elizabeth David

Sheila Dillon and Tim Hayward discuss the legacy of Elizabeth David 100 years after her birth. The iconic food writer is credited for bringing Mediterranean cooking to post-war Britain. Sir Terence Conran speaks about Elizabeth David's influence on kitchen design. Her nephew Johnny Grey discusses the shop Elizabeth David opened in Pimlico. And Elizabeth David's editor, Jill Norman, says that today she would not have been published. Presented by Sheila Dillon and Tim Hayward. Produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
29/12/1327m 16s

Nutmeg: The Smell of Christmas?

For cook and author Nigel Slater, 'Nutmeg and citrus are the scents of Christmas' but Sheila Dillon needs convincing. Together they look at the versatility of nutmeg as a spice that can bring life to mulled wine, egg custards, meats and puddings. People take it for granted now but nutmeg was highly prized in the kitchens of 16th and 17th century Europe. Traders ventured to the ends of the earth to secure it because of its value. The Dutch and the English vied for nutmeg supremacy and, in December 1616, Nathaniel Courthope and his small army saw off all competitors to gain control of the valuable nut so it could be shipped back to Britain for the culinary elite to enjoy. Today in Grenada the spice is so important it features on the national flag. But when Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004 it devastated the entire crop and hit the economy with a vengeance. Almost ten years on the nutmeg crop seems to be well on its way to recovery and we find out how it is used on the island. Producer : Perminder Khatkar.
22/12/1326m 50s


Cambridge University historian Lesley Steinitz explains the pioneering story of Bovril. From its beginnings at the end of the 19th Century there are many parallels between Bovril then and our food production today. Robert Opie takes Sheila round the Museum of Brands to see Bovril's strong advertizing campaigns. Pete Simson drinks beef tea with the crowds at a Bristol Rovers game. And Sheila samples a Bovril cocktail. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
08/12/1328m 19s

Alice Waters, a Delicious Revolution

The Californian chef and campaigner Alice Waters shares her story with Sheila Dillon; from early life in the 1960's counter-culture to influencing the food thinking of Presidents. Alice Waters founded the restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971. Her life had been changed forever by experiences as a student in France and at UC Berkeley, where the Free Speech Movement lay the ground for the big political movements of the sixties. Alice and her restaurant went from these humble and idealistic beginnings to international recognition. With a focus on local, organic ingredients and farmers' markets before they were widely celebrated she moved on to educate children and prisoners about growing and cooking food. In her own words Alice's food journey became a 'delicious revolution'. As debates in the US rage about healthcare and the nation's relationship with food, this is a story of one woman's attempts to show the way to an alternative way to eat. It's a story that took her from small French taverns to Californian growers and even to the White House. Producers: Rich Ward & Dan Saladino.
01/12/1327m 52s

Cook Books

Cookery Books of 2013. Ahead of the Christmas shopping season Sheila Dillon reviews this year's best cook books. Sheila is joined by comedian Stephen K Amos and food writers Catherine Phipps and Fiona Beckett. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
27/11/1327m 56s

Why is Grimsby's smoked fish special?

Fenland celery has recently joined a select list of only fifty-five British foods to achieve the same EU protection as champagne, stilton and Melton Mowbray pork pies. But what difference will this status realistically make to the people who grow it? Sheila Dillon investigates the longer term impact of PGI status on another iconic English product, Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish. She visits Grimsby fish market to meet the owner of the only remaining Grimsby-based fishing fleet, Andrew Allard, the chief executive of Grimsby Fish Merchants Association Steve Norton, and Richard Enderby, whose family have been smoking fish for generations.
18/11/1327m 34s

The Sugarman of Brazil

Leontino Balbo - The Sugarman of Brazil. The incredible story of one maverick farmer who is trying to change the way we produce our food. David Baker brings us a story from Sao Paulo about a man who is managing to produce sugar whilst also helping wildlife. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
10/11/1323m 58s

Horsemeat - a Food Programme update

In January of this year the Food Standards Agency confirmed results showing horsemeat had been found in supermarket burgers. Over the next few days and weeks, more DNA testing would reveal more beef products contained horsemeat. Ten months on there have been no prosecutions or fines and we're still waiting to be told how the unlabelled horsemeat entered the food chain, and who put it there. Criminal investigations are underway across Europe, led in the UK by the City of London Police. Most public information on the scandal however has come from two sources, a report by Ireland's Department of Agriculture and secondly, the hours of evidence heard by MPs on the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. The Food Programme explains what we know from these sources and also why an out of court settlement between two companies reveals much about one of the meat supply chains from the Netherlands into the UK. The programme hears from the Guardian's Special Correspondent, Felicity Lawrence, whose updated book, Not On The Label, gives a detailed account of the scandal. Reporters Ella McSweeney and Anna Holligan give the latest developments in Ireland and the Netherlands. The Grocer magazine's Julia Glotz, explains how our shopping habits have changed since the scandal and why this proving to be a problem for companies with no involvement in the contamination. Where are the investigations heading and what chances of successful convictions? These are questions Sheila Dillon puts to Andrew Rhodes of the Food Standards Agency. The programme is produced by Dan Saladino.
05/11/1327m 41s

Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant reviews - who can we trust? Sheila Dillon investigates online review sites, newspaper reviews and guidelines to try and discover the impartiality of different criticism. She is aided by reviewer and editor Joe Warwick and previous restaurant inspector Peter Chapman. Presented by Sheila Dillon and produced in Bristol by Emma Weatherill.
28/10/1328m 6s

Cider: Britain's Most Misunderstood Drink?

Award winning drinks writer Pete Brown joins Sheila Dillon to explain why bottles of cider should be the drink of choice on the UK's dinner tables. A cider revival has been building for a number of years, many credit the "over-ice" advertising campaigns of the last decade for raising mainstream interest. What's happened since that time has been fascinating to watch for producers and drinkers alike. At the premium, craft end of the cider business more and more small scale producers have arrived on the scene. Wales alone, which all but lost its cider making culture, now has more than 40 new ciders being produced. Pete Brown, author of the recently published, World's Best Cider, has travelled across the globe to document the fact that this is a revival that's spread far beyond the United Kingdom. As part of this world tour Sheila and Pete tell the story of the Tieton Cider Works, a new cider business in Washington State in North West America. The Tieton producers are experimenting with new techniques and flavours, including the use of hops and natural fruits. This might sound like a step too far for many traditionalists and in the programme Sheila and Pete give their verdict. Meanwhile in high-street pubs, supermarkets and off-licences more big brands have moved into the cider market, including Carlsberg and Stella Artois, they along with more familiar names like Bulmers and Thatchers have launched a wide range of fruit ciders. It's this part of the market that is really booming, but is it really cider? Sheila looks at the often confusing world of the ingredients and liquids that are allowed to become part of a glass of cider. Produced by Dan Saladino.
21/10/1327m 35s

The Great British Hop

Three decades ago Miles Warde worked on a hop farm in Herefordshire. Split shifts, tractors with lights, and when you weren't sleeping you'd be in the pub. Today that farm is now a vineyard, so the presenter began wondering what had happened to the great British hop.The first thing he discovered is that there are only sixty hop farmers left.The producer is Miles Warde.
13/10/1324m 1s

Cook Slow, Cook Fast

Sheila Dillon meets a new generation of cooks using slow and pressure cookers. Sales of slow cookers and pressure cookers have increased over the past couple of years. Sheila visits Catherine Phipps to discover exciting dishes which can be made in a pressure cooker. And blogger Sharon Adetoro explains how the slow cooker has revolutionized her life.Producer: Emma Weatherill.
07/10/1328m 6s

The School Food Plan

The School Food Plan, written by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, aims to increase take-up of school meals, improve the quality of food served and tackle student hunger and the early causes of health problems. Released in July, it contains sixteen 'actions', from putting cooking in the curriculum to providing money for breakfast clubs to improving the 'image' of school food. John and Henry travelled to more than sixty schools in England, and found that there were three things in common to schools that are getting food right. In this edition of the Food Programme, Sheila Dillon reveals a typical day at the David Young Community Academy, a secondary school in Leeds that has embodied these three 'principles' since its opening in 2006. The school, led by Principal Ros McMullen, has a school meals take-up of over seventy percent, compared with a national average of 43 percent. Sheila finds out how they've done this, and asks what other schools can learn from their approach. Sheila also asks the Plan's co-author Henry Dimbleby and Jeanette Orrey, who inspired Jamie Oliver's original school food campaign, what actual differences we may see on the ground as a result of this new attempt to change the way that schoolchildren eat. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
30/09/1328m 2s

A Quiet Food Revolution: The Story of Myrtle and Darina Allen

Myrtle and Darina Allen, revolutionised food in Ireland with their cooking. From pioneering restaurants to groundbreaking farmers' markets, Dan Saladino tells the story of food and Ballymaloe. In 1964 Myrtle Allen, a mother and farmers' wife turned her home in Cork into a restaurant like no other. Ingredients were grown on the family farm, foraged locally or sourced by producers nearby. Unusual for its time, menus were written on a daily basis and traditional Irish recipes were celebrated. The restaurant influenced people's thinking on what a restaurant could be. In 1968 Myrtle was joined by a young ambitious cook from Dublin, Darina O'Connell. She married into the family and became the now much celebrated Darina Allen, cook, writer and television presenter. The Food Programme looks at five decades of work, in food, by the two women, from the original restaurant Ballymaloe House to the world famous Ballymaloe Cookery school. It features adventures in Paris, pioneering ideas on how food should be bought and sold as well as campaigns to keep food traditions alive. Producer: Dan Saladino.
22/09/1324m 5s

Booze-free Bars

Booze Free Bars - With an increasing number of us giving up alcohol, new bars are popping up across the country to provide an alternative to pub drinking.
16/09/1323m 58s

The Future of Street Food

Can street food change the world? Richard Johnson looks at ideas being tried around the world, from food carts setting up in "food deserts" to night time food markets being set up to transform city life. Producer: Dan Saladino.
08/09/1327m 5s

DIY Food

DIY Foods - Tim Hayward meets the people taking ambitious food production into their own hands. Andy Mahoney makes his own cheese in the spare room of his house in South London. Hannes Viljoen makes his own biltong to give the taste of his native South Africa to his friends and family. And three friends in Guildford - Nick McDuff, Dick Nevitt and Nevin Stewart - have invented a new method for making cider in your kitchen. Presented by Tim Hayward and produced by Emma Weatherill in Bristol.
02/09/1328m 3s

In Praise of Bacon

An Ode To The Bacon Butty. Hardeep Singh Kohli's personal plea to the nation to reflect on a food of wonder: bacon. Hardeep goes on a roadtrip around Scotland meeting bacon eaters, makers, regalers and producers. Producer: Emma Weatherill.
25/08/1327m 50s

Feeding the Detectives

Dan Saladino looks at how food has increasingly become a big ingredient in crime fiction.
18/08/1328m 1s

A World Stage for Food and Music

Every year at the WOMAD festival, one tent in a field in Wiltshire becomes the venue for a remarkable meeting of food and music. Solo artists and bands from all over the world gather to share recipes and stories with the audience, who get to taste dishes created in front of them, often by musicians who have never cooked in public before. In this edition of The Food Programme, Sheila Dillon is at the 'Taste the World' tent and uncovers some of the food stories and experiences that have shaped these unique performances. On the journey Sheila encounters Guo Yue, who grew up in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution and is now a master flautist and respected cook. There's also Nano Stern from Chile, Québécois band Le Vent Du Nord as well as South Louisiana's Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. In the company of Taste the World's host Roger de Wolf, there will be roux bubbling, passionate story-telling and a culinary phone-call to the deep wilderness.
11/08/1328m 7s

The Banana - fascinating history, uncertain future

Sheila Dillon asks why the future of the UK's most popular fruit, the banana, is uncertain. Producer: Emma Weatherill.
05/08/1328m 5s

Skint Foodies

Sheila Dillon meets the cooks specialising in great food on small budgets, part of a world of food blogging influenced by life of benefits, periods of homelessness and shopping budgets that can be as little as ten pounds a week. One of the highest profile blogs is "A Girl called Jack", written by Jack Monroe, a single mum who lives in Southend-On-Sea. Out of work, having complications with benefits and reduced to feeding her small boy Weetabix mashed with water, she went online to share her experience and started writing about food. What followed was a record of some of the most savvy shopping tips to be found anywhere, from dishes that can be cooked for 27p a portion, through to a forensic guide to every supermarket shelf, freezer cabinet and fresh produce aisle. In a recent report by Oxfam, the numbers of people now using food banks has reached 500,000, linked, charities say, to recent reforms of the benefits system. The government disputes this link, but food insecurity is increasingly found in every region of the UK. Others who have taken to writing about their efforts to cook and eat well on low budgets include Belfast born, now London based, Miss South who along with her brother, who lives in Manchester, Mr North, share recipes and pictures of the food they enjoy. Miss South recently came out as being "properly poor" in a blog posted last November and her writing has inspired others who need to cook on food budgets hovering between £15 and £20 a week. The third blogger in the programme is Tony, aka Skint Foodie. Once a high flying, restaurant going professional, his writing documents a determination to eat well despite losing everything to alcoholism. Producer: Dan Saladino.
28/07/1327m 43s

Rethinking Veganism

The word 'vegan' has for the nearly seventy years of its existence - represented a diet and a way of eating that has not captured hearts - or stomachs - beyond a small, dedicated group of people calling themselves vegan. In this edition of The Food Programme, Sheila Dillon hears from two influential and meat-loving food writers, Mark Bittman and Alex Renton, who have found themselves looking again at a vegan plant-based diet. Sheila Dillon joins in at a Vegan Potluck and discovers a new chain of German vegan supermarkets and asks if there is a wider shift in attitudes towards veganism underway. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Rich Ward.
21/07/1327m 54s

Valentine Warner and Magnus Nilsson's Food Exchange, Part 2

In part two of their exchange of food stories Magnus Nilsson invites Valentine Warner to venture into the lakes of Sweden's Jamtland in search of wild trout. In the summer the sun remains in the sky and so at midnight they head into the forests of northern Sweden to catch brown trout, an important and traditional food for traditional communities in the region. Producer: Dan Saladino.
14/07/1327m 32s

Valentine Warner and Magnus Nilsson's Food Exchange

In a two part special Valentine Warner and Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson swap food stories from their own very different food cultures. Magnus Nilsson comes from the hunting culture of northern Sweden, a region called Jamtland. The long, harsh winters and shorter but still intense summers, inform this now world famous chef's work. Valentine Warner has a lifelong passion for seasonal cooking and sourcing ingredients from the wild. In part one, Valentine invites Magnus to venture into woodland in east Sussex woods to search for British wild boar. In southern England indigenous wild boar populations were wiped out generations ago, but in recent years, after farmed boar escaped into the wild, measures have had to be put in place to control pockets where a new population has been outgrowing their habitat. Valentine and Magnus meet Simon Barr, an experienced hunter, and the man licensed to control a population of boar on the Sussex and Kent border to share a food experience long disappeared, to hunt and cook a British wild boar. In part two, Valentine travels to Jamtland to experience a food story Magnus is determined to share. Producer: Dan Saladino.
07/07/1327m 51s

Butter, a delicious story of decline and revival

Sheila Dillon meets a new generation of producers making butter special again.
30/06/1327m 47s

Food, game changers and career movers

Sheila Dillon looks at the award winners who are leaving high flying careers to follow their passions and dreams in food production Producer: Maggie Ayre.
23/06/1328m 2s

The chocolate world of Mott Green

The story of Mott Green, cocoa farmer and chocolate maker, who was changing the industry one bar at a time. Born in New York, this gifted engineer and mathematician left Manhattan in his twenties to explore the Caribbean. He ended up in Grenada, fell in love with cocoa and with a local drink, "cocoa tea". Despite this chocolate tradition and Grenada having some of the finest cocoa trees in the world, farmers were leaving the land and abandoning their crop because of low prices. Mott Green took it upon himself to change that. By using hand built machines and creating a co-operative, Mott managed to build a chocolate factory in a tropical climate, the first time this had been done. Sales of his quality bars grew and cocoa farming on the island once again became profitable. His success was documented in a film, Nothing Like Chocolate, and he was celebrated in Grenada as someone who had not only made a big impact on the island's economy but also changed thinking about chocolate around the world. Tragically, shortly after the Food Programme recorded with Mott Green he was killed in an accident as he was repairing some equipment. The programme follows him through the chocolate making process and as he embarked on a three month voyage transporting his bars across the Atlantic using only wind and solar power. Producer: Dan Saladino.
16/06/1328m 14s

Bereavement and Food

In the throes of bereavement food can seem unimportant. People lose both their appetite and their sense of taste. But food and cooking can also play a positive and healing role in helping individuals come to term with their loss. Sheila Dillon explores the healing power of food and how it can help to remember and recapture memories of those who have died. Sheila visited the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted which runs cookery courses for those who've been bereaved. Some of those taking part had lost the will to cook - especially the prospect of making meals for one rather than two. Others found they'd lost the partner or parent who'd made all the meals and found themselves not only grieving but without the knowledge and skills to cook for themselves. They explained how a simple course has given them far more than just a collection of recipes. The programme also looks at the legacy of recipes which can be a way to remember loved ones and connect with them after they have passed on. Over the years Bridget Blair has gathered together the recipes of relatives, friends and neighbours for posterity and while the book is covered in spatters and finger marks her children are keen to inherit the secrets of those recipes and the memories. Meanwhile Rob Tizzard is trying to replicate his late mother's bread pudding recipe from memory which somehow never seems to come out exactly the way she made it but brings him joy trying. Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.
09/06/1328m 4s

Michael Pollan: Why Cooking Matters

Sheila Dillon speaks to the writer Michael Pollan on the craft, science and pleasures of cooking. In his new book, Cooked, "a love letter to cooking", Pollan who is one of the world's most popular thinkers on food reflects on the value of being a cook and preparing our own food. From understanding the physics and culture of the barbecue to the art of fermentation, Pollan has spent the last two years researching cooking techniques around the world to help explain how transforming food has influenced our evolution and development over millions of years. Cooking, says Pollan, is "baked into our DNA", we are "the cooking animal". For that reason he examines what we've lost as rates of domestic cooking have declined since the 1960's and what it will take for more of us to make a meaningful return to the kitchen. Producer: Dan Saladino.
04/06/1327m 19s

Sugar: Pure, White and Deadly?

Sheila Dillon finds out why the debate about the role of sugar in our lives is hotting up. Recent books and news stories have re-awoken a forty year debate about what makes us fat. Robert H. Lustig is a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco. A lecture he gave on sugar has attracted more than three million hits. He makes a case that sugar is problematic, not just because it contains calories, but because the fructose component of sucrose interacts with our bodies in a very specific way. His claim that sugar not only causes obesity but a wide range of other conditions including type 2 diabetes, is disputed, but he's succeeded in capturing public attention. Sheila Dillon speaks to Robert Lustig about his research, and she explores other reasons why sugar is back in the headlines.
28/05/1327m 45s

Food, Cancer and Well-Being

Sheila Dillon asks if food and nutrition should have a bigger role in treating cancer. Is the medical profession too reluctant to see food as an essential component in improving the well-being of cancer patients Producer: Maggie Ayre.
19/05/1327m 44s

A Life Through Wine: Jancis Robinson

Jancis Robinson remembers the specific bottle of wine which ignited her passion for both drinking wine and writing about it. She began reviewing for the University paper 40 years ago and has grown to become a world renowned author and critic on the subject. Sheila Dillon explores some of the big trends that have taken place during her career, from the growth of English wines, to the rise of supermarkets as the wine sellers to the nation. She talks about those who influenced her in the early years of tasting and writing and what she makes of other reviewers like Robert Parker who can decide the fate of a wine around the world. Produced in Bristol by Dan Saladino.
16/05/1328m 9s

Digital Dishes - life stories through recipes

Inside one kitchen in Bristol, thirteen strangers from all over Europe gathered to share food and stories about food. The Food Programme was there to capture it all as the cooking got under way. As well as resulting in one of the most diverse menus ever assembled it was an event that explained why cous-cous can spark conversation, how a special Bulgarian dish can help tell your fortune and why a hippy commune in 1970's Exeter was ahead of its time in how we think about food. This unique event was the result of a project run by the Watershed arts centre in Bristol. The thirteen Europeans were taking part in a workshop to learn more about digital technology, food however, was the subject they would use to make this happen. In one day, participants from Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Turkey, France and the UK would come up with a dish that would help them tell their life stories. In Bristol they'd shop, cook, share their food and their stories. The progamme captured this special food event and a restaurant and menu that would exist for one night only. Hear the wonders of Bulgarian Banitsa, the pleasures of a Turkish Karnıyarık and the delights of a two hour meal over Algerian cous-cous. Producers: Dan Saladino and Hannah Briggs.
05/05/1327m 45s

Black Pudding v Boudin Noir

Charles Campion reports from Normandy in France as he helps judge the world black pudding championships, which features entries from Japanese, Austrian and Irish butchers. Each year the "knights of the black pudding", a long established organisation of food lovers, hold the annual Foire au Boudin. Nearly six hundred butchers from around the world enter the competition to help celebrate the ancient dish. As Charles discovers most of the world's great food cultures have some form of blood sausage and they vary in size, shape, texture and flavour. Although we've been making this dish since the arrival of the Romans, many parts of Britain have fallen out of love with the black pudding. The simple recipe of blood, barley, fat, onions and spices is affordable, delicious and a complete meal, and there are signs of a chef led revival. The competition, and the work on display of some extremely creative butchers provides many delicious reasons why this humble food really is worthy of a revival. Young chef and rising star James Winter based in Gloucestshire, also provides some tips on how to cook black pudding. Producer: Dan Saladino.
30/04/1323m 45s

Food on the Road

There's an army of lorries at work right now, transporting food and other goods all over the country. They keep food on our shelves and without them the UK's economy would collapse within days. But what's it like to work, live - and eat - on the road? Reporter Andrew Webb spends a day at the Orwell Crossing truck stop near the port of Felixstowe, with its 24-hour restaurant. Truck driver Dougie Rankine shares an audio diary of his perspective from high up in his cab, searching for the right meal at all times of day and night. Veteran driver John Eden recalls stopping off for nocturnal breakfasts in a notorious truck stop after negotiating 'suicide alley'. In this edition of The Food Programme, Sheila Dillon reveals a food story on very big wheels. Producer: Rich Ward.
21/04/1327m 56s

Chilli Britannia

Tim Hayward bites into Britain's growing chilli scene, from growers to expert eaters and those who like their chillies red hot. Producer: Maggie Ayre.
18/04/1328m 6s

Madhur Jaffrey, a life through food

Sheila Dillon meets Madhur Jaffrey, Indian cooking legend, who's just returned from the sub-continent on her latest adventures into its vast food culture. This year the actress, broadcaster and food writer turns eighty. She left Delhi sixty years ago to pursue a career in the west, but still remains the world's most influential and respected exponents of Indian cuisine. With her BBC television series and more than fifteen books she's managed to convey the rich history and flavours of authentic Indian regional cooking. Now, as India becomes one of the most important economies in the world, and a nation increasingly interested in western tastes and modern brands, Sheila meets Madhur to reflect on her early food life in Delhi and to ask her about a rapidly changing India. This is a life story of exquisite family meals in the 1930's that mixed British and Indian traditions, of school lunches where food would be shared between friends from very different food backgrounds and where watching a mushroom dish, "devoured by greedy men" was one of the images that led her to leave India. The programme also includes a fascinating encounter between Madhur and a British food tradition, chips with curry sauce. Producer: Dan Saladino.
08/04/1327m 29s

Fasting, old and new

Sheila Dillon looks at the practice of fasting - then and now - from a religious and medical perspective Producer: Maggie Ayre.
01/04/1328m 3s


Each January, with the arrival of the seville oranges, hundreds of people across the UK ritually boil and jar batches of marmalade, following family recipes and leaving their kitchens sticky and fragrant with citrus. But who's eating it? For years sales figures have been in decline and the under 25s say it's 'boring'. So Tim Hayward heads out to a little corner of Cumbria to the Dalemain estate where the amber preserve is celebrated at the Marmalade Championships. From 'dark and chunky' to 'any citrus' hundreds of home-made and artisan examples have been entered for judging while enthusiasts dressed in orange accessories browse the presentations. He asks whether marmalade, once commonplace on British breakfast tables, is dying a slow death or becoming the preserve of the wealthy or an enthusiastic elite. He also learns a worrying truth - could foreign marmalade makers now be beating us at making the best? Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.
25/03/1327m 38s

Our Changing Taste

Sheila Dillon looks at how our sense of taste develops throughout our lifetimes, and what happens when we lose it, through old age, illness or injury. Two hundred thousand people a year seek medical help over loss of taste, Sheila hears the story of Marlena Spieler, a food writer who lost her sense of taste following a road accident.
18/03/1327m 57s

Forest foods, Africa's secret ingredients

Sheila Dillon explores Africa's forest foods, both an emergency larder and source of wonderful flavours. With the support of Comic Relief and funds raised through Red Nose Day work is underway to tap into the potential of this neglected food source. From Shea butter to Maringa, Sheila tastes her way through this story with Tony Hill of the charity Tree Aid, and Malcolm Riley, "the African Chef", whose cooking career started in Zambia. On the menu, prawns stir-fried in an ingredient from the baobab tree, and as Malcolm explains, it's "modern African cuisine". Producer: Dan Saladino.
11/03/1324m 3s

The Death of Three Square Meals?

Hectic lifestyles are increasing the demand for ready-made, 'grab n go' convenient foods. Today's time pressed commuters buy bagels at the station or carry breakfast bars in their briefcase. Retailers have led this change - offering snack size portions and handy grab packs to stave off hunger. Gourmet 'food on the go' has been identified as a key growth sector and sales are increasing. Sheila Dillon asks if, in our hurry, we've forgotten the value of three square meals a day, eaten at a table at set mealtimes. She meets restaurant guide writer Richard Harden who takes her on a whistle-stop tour of the speedy choices on offer including the fashion for "the small plate menu". There's now no distinction between lunch and dinner - if you fancy a steak at 4pm most cities will be able to help. Consequently people seem to be losing track of when and how much they can eat. It's all just one long munchfest. Sheila also hears from staff and children at a Nottinghamshire school where pupils were arriving having had no breakfast and sometimes no dinner. Their response was to offer free breakfasts to those from families on low incomes but their experience offers some revealing insights into the eating habits of children across all incomes. With so many snacks to choose from, do those "on the go" have more nutritious options than simply crisps and a chocolate bar or should we be asking if there is a more serious cost to this new bite-sized way of eating? What is the true cost of speed and convenience? Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.
25/02/1327m 55s

Garlic, the wonder bulb

It's an ingredient that is key to many cuisines of the world, and has a prominent role in folklore and traditional medical systems- although some people avoid it because of the passions that it is said to arouse. Sheila Dillon explores a bulb which provokes strong feelings - both culinary and otherwise - and is now to be found in most of our kitchens: garlic. The United Kingdom is importing five times the amount of garlic than twenty-five years ago. Some British growers are smelling an opportunity for home-grown bulbs, but how much have we stopped to think about the way we use this enigmatic 'allium'?
20/02/1327m 25s

Food on a Pension

Sheila Dillon investigates the food lives of people surviving on the basic state pension. To fully understand the experience of living on a small income and feeling the limitations of older age, food writer Andrew Webb volunteered to spend a week living as his 80 year old self. Kitted out in a suit that replicates some of the physical challenges of someone twice his age Andrew shopped, cooked, ate and dined for a week as a pensioner. His right knee was stiff, he was felt unbalanced by weights placed on his ankle and his eyesight was restricted by a pair of glasses replicating a loss of vision. He was also given a pair of gloves that reduce skin sensitivity and created the effects of arthritis in his hands. Ear plugs made him partially deaf. Dressed like this he heads off on a mission to the shops, and on to cook a meal. With an ageing population, an increase in food prices and cuts to local council services, The Food Programme investigates what our food future might look, feel and taste like.
15/02/1327m 23s

Horsemeat Scandal: A Food Programme Special

Sheila Dillon reports on fresh developments in the horsemeat scandal. As more tests reveal large amounts of horsemeat in beef products, Sheila investigates the supply chain. Producer: Dan Saladino.
11/02/1327m 57s

Food in the life of Sir Paul McCartney

Sheila Dillon with an exclusive food interview with former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. More than thirty years since becoming a vegetarian he reflects on his life through food. He describes his early life in the terraced council house, 20 Forthlin Road, now owned by the National Trust and where the McCartney kitchen, circa 1955, has been restored. Paul McCartney recalls meals of pork chops, liver and tongue , the latter proving to be one of the biggest food challenges of his childhood. He recounts stories on the road with The Beatles and seeing huge steaks drooping over the plate on their American tour, and then the 1960 trip to India and facing a strict vegetarian diet. Several years later, after spending time on his farm, and influenced by his wife Linda, he stopped eating meat. So how, from a personal decision based on compassion for animals, did he decide to shift to a more political and campaigning stance on food and farming? Sheila Dillon finds out how he took a fame based on the stage, into arenas like the European Parliament a