Food ConfidentialThe Food Chain add
Trade secrets are abundant in the food industry and becoming ever more important. The Food Chain is on a mission to find out why. We meet a so-called 'food hacker' who’ll recreate one of the world’s most iconic secret recipes for us, and we have a nose around a chocolate factory and try to unearth what goes into a good truffle. Plus, what’s the best way to protect a secret recipe? And just how difficult is that to do when thousands, even millions of people, have tried the dish?
Presenter: Emily Thomas
(Picture: Security camera on building, Credit: Getty Images)
This Food Will Save Your Life*The Food Chain add
Why are humans especially vulnerable to big promises about food? A neurologist explains why food can make us lose our powers of critical thinking even if we are well educated, and we meet some people who decided salvation lay in what they ate. Plus, the story of a woman who fooled hundreds of thousands of people - as well as vast corporations - into believing she’d cured brain cancer with her diet.
Presenter: Emily Thomas
*This is not a programme about a food that will save your life.
(Picture: Black pot, Credit: Getty Images)
Eat, Stay, LoveThe Food Chain add
Three women who fled the countries they were born in because of war or conflict tell us how food helped them rebuild their lives, explore family secrets, and reconnect with their cultures. Their lives are very different, but they all share a yearning to regain what they have lost through food. Emily Thomas talks to Razan Alsous, a Syrian refugee who has built a successful cheese business in the north of England; Cambodian-American Nite Yun who has used her cooking business to understand the family history that her parents never spoke of; and Mandana Moghaddam who runs Persian cooking lessons in London, having fled Iran with her family after the revolution.
(Photo: Barbed wire heart. Credit: Getty Images)
Eating BlockchainThe Food Chain add
Blockchain technology has been heralded as the answer to a safer, fairer and more transparent food system. Many companies, from global food giants, to start-ups have begun to experiment with it. But can blockchain really disrupt the global food industry or is it just a gimmick? Emily Thomas meets some pioneers of this new technology, who think it will change the way we eat.
(Picture: Light from broken egg, Credit: Getty Images)
The New AnimalsThe Food Chain add
The world’s first genetically engineered animal for human consumption - a salmon - landed on Canadian dinner tables last year. It did not go by without controversy. Emily Thomas meets the company who created the fast-growing fish and ask why it took the best part of thirty years for it to make a slow swim from laboratory to plate.
Plus, we gauge reaction from consumers and scientists and get to the heart of an emotive and controversial debate that has been raging for decades. Is genetic engineering a distraction from addressing the real issues of animal welfare and economic inequality in the food system? What are the risks, and is the public ready for it?
(Picture: Cow on the horizon, Credit: Getty Images)
The Pig ProblemThe Food Chain add
A deadly and highly contagious disease is spreading across Europe's pig farms. African Swine Fever Virus doesn't harm humans, but once it infects domestic and wild pigs almost all of them die through internal bleeding within days.
More than a million pigs are thought to have died as a result of the latest outbreak, devastating hundreds of farms and damaging exports. It's the first time the virus has ever hit Europe's pig farming heartland. With a vaccine still years off, and amid fears the disease could reach as far as China, we ask if the virus can be stopped, and how.
Emily Thomas meets people who think the answer lies in building fences between countries, genetically engineering pigs, and even calling in the army to hunt down disease-spreading wild boar.
Picture: A pig. Credit: Getty Images)
The Food PilgrimsThe Food Chain add
Can you think of a food that you would travel across continents for?
Emily Thomas meets people who have gone to extreme lengths for one special meal or ingredient. From a writer searching for a fruit in West Africa to better understand his ancestors, to a curry-lover who chartered a plane to deliver his favourite Indian takeaway.
What is the difference between a food pilgrim and a food tourist, and what dangers might culinary travel bring? Plus, what happens when an entire country decides no distance is too great for its favourite fish?
(Photo: Man with backpack looking into distance. Credit: Getty Images)
I Can't Taste!The Food Chain add
If you could not taste your food, what would you eat? Would you even want to? Taste disorders are rare, but they can have devastating impacts on people's lives. They can also tell us a lot about our food.
Emily Thomas meets a cookery writer who says she wanted to die after a car accident robbed her of taste. But as the sense slowly returned she became a more experimental cook.
And a man who has not been able to taste anything for five years, explains how it has changed his social life, and how he has found innovative ways to enjoy his food.
Plus, we hear calls for more research to develop treatments for these disorders, and how taste could be key in the early diagnosis of dementia.
(Photo: A hand holding a black apple. Credit: Getty Images)
Gordon Ramsay: My Life in Five DishesThe Food Chain add
Chef Gordon Ramsay is world-famous but, he tells us, people no longer want to talk about his food. The celebrity has become known as much for his cookery programmes, his fiery temper and explosive outbursts, as for his culinary skills.
This week, the focus is back on the food, as Gordon speaks to Emily Thomas about the five most memorable meals he has ever had and how they have shaped him as a chef - from his mother’s macaroni and cheese on a council estate in the West Midlands, to smuggled cheese soufflés at Le Gavroche.
Gordon's dishes are: Mum's Mac and Cheese with smoked bacon; soufflé Suissesse at Le Gavroche; braised pigs' trotters with cabbage at Casa Del Pescatore near Verona; rum baba at Le Louis XV; and his own chickpea curry.
(Photo: Gordon Ramsay. Credit: Robyn Beck/Getty Images)
In Search of Wine's 'Holy Grail'The Food Chain add
Wine has been getting more and more alcoholic in recent decades, driven by consumer tastes and climate change. This has big implications not only for public health, but also the quality of the bottle.
But making a lower alcohol wine that is still full of flavour is extremely complicated, especially when growing grapes in rising temperatures – some have called it the profession’s Holy Grail.
Emily Thomas meets those trying to solve the puzzle: a Chilean vineyard owner; a climate change and grape variety academic; and an Australian scientist whose raspberry-flavoured Chardonnay could hold the key.
(Picture: Wine cellar. Credit: Getty Images)
The Comedy of FoodThe Food Chain add
Does food ever make you laugh out loud? We try to stand up the theory that food is getting funnier because modern diets make it a richer sauce of comedy.
Comedy about food seems to have moved a long way from oddly shaped vegetables and Charlie Chaplin slipping on a banana skin, to something more nuanced. Now we seem to be laughing at the way we eat - with ever more comedy acts, TV programmes and YouTube videos poking fun at diet trends, restaurant customs and cookery shows. Has the way we eat become so obsessive and complicated - that food has quite literally become a laughing stock?
Emily Thomas meets comedians JP Sears, Tats Nkonzo and Alex Thomopoulos, and comedy expert Delia Chiaro to explore the comedy potential of food. You know, just for laughs.
(Photo: A king feasting alone in a banquet hall. Credit: Getty Images)
Big Tech Wants Your Food ShopThe Food Chain add
Technology giants are gobbling up the online grocery market - and over the past year we’ve seen Amazon and Alibaba getting their teeth into bricks and mortar too.
But do they want to transform the supermarket experience, or is this about harvesting even more consumer data?
And what will all of this mean for farmers, your pocket, and the quality and sustainability of your food?
Emily Thomas discusses with Brittain Ladd, a strategy, supply chain and logistics expert who formerly worked for Amazon leading worldwide expansion for Amazon Fresh, Pantry and Groceries; Scott Marlow, senior policy specialist for Rural Advancement Foundation International, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina supporting family farms; and Amanda Long, Director General of Consumers International, which works to empower and champion the rights of consumers.
Plus, we visit Farmdrop, a London-based startup which aims to give customers a more ethical online shopping experience.
(Photo: a picture of the hand of a young man holding an ice lolly against a pink background. Credit: Getty Images)
Food Chain: The Quiz 2017The Food Chain add
Have you ever wondered what to do with a watermelon outside the kitchen? Or how many hot dogs a person can eat in 10 minutes?
It's time to find out with The Food Chain Quiz 2017. Get ready for some strange but wonderful food stories and play along with our two teams: chef Cyrus Todiwala and La Fromagerie founder Patricia Michelson versus food historian Marc Meltonville and Ghanaian food writer and TV cook Fafa Gilbert.
Emily Thomas hosts this challenging and at times bizarre battle for the coveted wooden spoon.
Rounds include: What Happens Next? What’s this Sound? And back by popular demand …. The Lucky Dip.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)
How to Make a FarmerThe Food Chain add
Fancy a career change? If you're not doing it already, what would it take to make you a farmer? Would smart technology, matchmaking websites or reality TV do it?
In our second episode to explore the problem of the world’s ageing agricultural workers Emily Thomas hears about some innovative and surprising attempts to re-brand farming.
Is education or technology the answer, does farming need a re-brand, OR is it just too hard for most farmers to make a living - and does the global food system itself need to change?
It matters - if the farmers die out, where will you get your food in the future?
(Picture: Young farm girl. Credit: Getty Images)
I Won't Farm!The Food Chain add
The average age of farmers globally is thought to be around 60, and rising. So where have all the young farmers gone and who is going to farm our food in the future? It’s an issue that could affect every single one us and the food we eat.
Emily Thomas meets families in Kenya, the UK and the Netherlands to find out how farmer’s sons and daughters really feel about taking over the family business. How much of a role do economics, regulations, lifestyle and public perceptions play in driving them from agriculture?
This is the first of two episodes to explore why so many young people across the globe are turning away from farming, and what can be done to tempt them back.
(Photo: Young woman standing in an empty ploughed field. Credit: Getty Images)
Where's my African Takeaway?The Food Chain add
Why have so few African cuisines made it onto the world’s culinary stage? Whether it's Michelin stars, popular restaurant chains, or even takeaways and street food, the continent’s gastronomy isn’t anywhere near as prominent as Chinese, Italian or Indian in many parts of the globe.
Emily Thomas talks to chefs from Nigeria, Senegal and Eritrea to hear what they think is holding their food back from achieving global prominence - is it economics, culture or taste? And what can be done about it?
(Photo: Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam displays his food in New York City. Credit: Getty Images)
The 'Disneyland' of Food?The Food Chain add
We're in Bologna, Italy as FICO Eataly World opens its doors to a curious public. Its mission is to educate people about Italian food, and attract 6 million tourists a year. But is a shopping mall really the best way for the Italians to reclaim the authenticity of their food?
Italian food is known and loved across the world, but much of what is consumed doesn't actually come from Italy. Could what some are calling 'the Disneyland of food', be the answer to increasing understanding and boosting exports?
Emily Thomas takes a trip around the park, speaks to the people behind the project, and visits local producers in Bologna.
(Photo: FICO Eataly World. Credit: Vincenzo Pinto, Getty Images)
Antonio Carluccio: My Life in Five DishesThe Food Chain add
Antonio Carluccio describes his most memorable dishes in his last ever interview. The cook, restaurateur and writer, known as the 'Godfather of Italian cooking', died five days after this recording was made, aged 80.
He tells Emily Thomas about his passion for simple, authentic Italian cuisine, and why he only began to pursue it professionally relatively late in life. He describes his horror at 1970s Britain's version of Italian food, his obsession with mushrooms, and reveals how much the late opera singer Luciano Pavarotti could devour in one sitting.
Plus, hear about his struggles with fame and heartache, the tensions that came with expanding his eponymous chain of restaurants and delis, and the dish he would choose as his last.
(Picture: Antonio Carluccio at his home in London. Credit: BBC)
The Boundless Ambition of GumThe Food Chain add
Chewing gum seems to be on a mission to reinvent itself. There’s little we’re told it can’t do these days - prevent tooth decay, cure hangovers, even improve our vision.
As sales of gum flat line, we explore it's ability to take on new guises, and meet people who even believe it can be used to detect cancer and help end malnutrition. Could chewing gum save your life?
An expert on food regulation explains why the majority of gums with health claims are rejected, and presenter Emily Thomas meets a man who tried to solve one of gum’s stickiest and costliest problems.
Plus we'll ask whether we should we stop working so hard to find a purpose for this food we can't swallow, and find other, more environmentally-friendly solutions?
(Photo: Girl with chewing gum. Credit: Getty Images)
Contain Yourself!The Food Chain add
Does your favourite drink taste better from a bottle, cup or can? Are foods enhanced by particular plates, or packaging? Or is it all in your head?
Emily Thomas is joined by materials specialist Ellie Doney and food psychologist Charles Spence to find out exactly how the containers we eat and drink from can change the way food tastes.
From British fish and chips wrapped in yesterday’s news to clay tea cups in Kolkata and a pot unwashed for decades, we explore some traditional serving methods and find out why we may be discarding more than we think when we throw them away.
(Photo: Woman in large cup of coffee. Credit: Getty Images)