Food Programme

Food Programme

United Kingdom

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


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.

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.

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.

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.


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 it's traditional routes; Otto Tepassé an Austrian born restaurateur preserving and performing the theatrical French canard à la presse with it's 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Presented by Dr Polly Russell & Sheila Dillon Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury.

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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