Madhur Jaffrey: My Life in Five DishesThe Food Chain add
Join us for five unforgettable dishes from one extraordinary life as the food writer and actress Madhur Jaffrey reveals some rather surprising mealtimes - from a swimming lesson with a watermelon, to a dinner disaster with jazz legend, Dizzy Gillespie.
The food writer and award-winning actress has written more than 15 cookbooks, many of them bestsellers, and has been credited with changing the way people outside India think about the country’s food. She joins Emily Thomas to talk about the meals that have shaped her remarkable career.
This episode was first broadcast on 17 October 2017.
(Photo: Madhur Jaffrey. Credit: Penguin Books)
Jeremiah Tower: My Life in Five DishesThe Food Chain add
Meet the pioneering, opinionated and inscrutable Jeremiah Tower, one of the most controversial figures in modern American cuisine.
Emily Thomas hears about his extraordinary childhood in grand hotels and on ocean liners with only haute cuisine for company; how he helped bring about a food revolution in Berkeley, California that would become the 'New American cuisine'; and why after years of celebrity in San Francisco, he mysteriously disappeared from the culinary scene for over a decade.
Jeremiah is widely seen as the first modern-day celebrity chef, and he doesn't hold back when explaining exactly what he thinks of the biggest names in food today.
(Picture: Jeremiah Tower in a New York kitchen, Credit: BBC)
#MeToo FoodThe Food Chain add
Has the #MeToo movement permeated our food chain?
Emily Thomas explores the hidden problem of sexual harassment and abuse in our fisheries and fields, and hears how agriculture is all too often a dangerous occupation for the women who labour in its unseen corners.
We hear from women who have seen this first hand, from the vineyards of South Africa, to shrimp farms in Bangladesh, to tomato pickers in Mexico. What will it take for agriculture to have its own #MeToo moment?
(Photo: Young rural woman carries freshly cut grass for to feed her family’s livestock. Credit: Getty Images).
The Real Junk FoodThe Food Chain add
This is the story of a man who struggled with homelessness and addiction, before being hit by a bold vision of ending food waste and world hunger.
The Real Junk Food Project uses the food thrown away by homes and businesses to feed those who can't afford to eat. It has saved 3,500 tonnes of food from landfill or animal feed in the last four years by redistributing it to the hungry through cafes, shops and warehouses. The project's success and potential for growth led to it being selected as runner-up in this year's BBC World Service Global Food Champion award.
Emily Thomas meets the project's founder, Adam Smith, and hears how he experienced homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health problems before embarking on this remarkable project of environmental protection and social improvement.
Plus, learn how to push the limits of lasagne, as the volunteers and customers at one of the Real Junk Food project's cafes in the northwest of England, explain how the project has changed their attitudes to food ... and bingo.
(Picture: A bunch of over-ripe bananas. Credit: Getty Images)
Pony TalesThe Food Chain add
Should we eat more horse meat? In some parts of the world it is a food taboo, while in others people think little of munching an equine burger. Would it be better for our health and that of the planet if we ate more of it?
We’re at a pony auction in the English countryside where some rather hairy creatures are going for a song. Could turning them into sausages and steak be the best way to add value? From there we travel to Paris to find out why the French are losing their taste for horse meat, we find out if it could be more sustainable and healthier than beef, and examine the roots of the world's horse meat taboos.
Presenter: Emily Thomas
This programme first aired in October 2017
(Picture: Exmoor Pony. Credit: Getty Images)
I am the Bread ManThe Food Chain add
Dan Saladino meets the mastermind behind one of biggest bread research projects ever undertaken. Nathan Myhrvold spent four years researching, baking and collaborating with leading industry professionals to write Modernist Bread - a five-volume, global exploration of this great staple. It follows another hugely ambitious food project -Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking – from 2011. Perhaps it is no surprise then that Nathan Myhrvold has spent his life trying to understand how things work, he researched quantum theory with the late Stephen Hawking and went on to work directly with Bill Gates at Microsoft. So what pearls of wisdom can the man who baked 36,000 loaves share?
This is a rebroadcast of an episode of the Food Programme that first aired on BBC Radio 4 in March 2018.
(Photo: Man claps hands with flour by dough, Credit: Getty Images)
Kelis: My Life in Five DishesThe Food Chain add
We sit down with one of R&B’s most eccentric and compelling artists - singer-songwriter Kelis. Over the past 20 years she has produced era-defining hits like Milkshake, Caught Out There and Trick Me, and sold millions of records. So why did she decide to step away from the mic and into the chefs' whites at the Cordon Bleu academy? Kelis tells Emily Thomas all about her passion for food and her latest plans to open a farm-to-table restaurant. We hear how she has struggled to make the culinary world take her seriously and why she thinks it’s ‘all about the sauce’.
(Photo: Kelis in the bath tub, Credit: David Loftus, My Life On A Plate)
Critical Mass CateringThe Food Chain add
In a nod to the British royal wedding, we are super-sizing the Food Chain this week as we explore cooking on a grand scale.
Emily Thomas visits a Sikh temple to see how volunteers serve up to a thousand free meals per day without even breaking a sweat. A professional caterer breaks down the economics of mass catering for us. Plus, a foodie chemist gives us his take on mass cooking on a molecular level.
And we may or may not be speaking to the man in charge of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding menu.
(Picture: Quirky and colourful tiered cake Credit: Getty Images)
Absolute Food: Part IIThe Food Chain add
Food is propaganda in this episode of The Food Chain.
In the second part of our two week exploration into the relationship between political power and what we eat, we’re asking how food can be used by authoritarian regimes and extremist groups to influence and persuade.
A food writer will take us on an officially-approved tour of North Korea. And Emily Thomas meets a man who spent ten days living - and eating with fighters from the Islamic State group.
(Photo: Hand reaching out a megaphone. Credit: Getty Images).
Absolute Food: Part IThe Food Chain add
How do authoritarian regimes use food to control and manipulate? In the first of two episodes exploring food and power, we find out how changes to the global economy mean food policy under dictatorships could soon look quite different. Plus, how do you write about food when there isn't any? Emily Thomas talks to a Venezuelan food writer who says her country's food story speaks volumes about the political situation, and explains why she continues to blog about restaurants, despite hunger being rife. In a country where people are afraid to say what they think, we hear why food writing can mean freedom.
(Picture: Red hand pointing upwards with clenched fists, Credit: Getty Images)
Fussy Old WorldThe Food Chain add
The fussy toddler refuses to eat her vegetables, has a tantrum and throws the food on the floor in protest. It’s a familiar scene that haunts parents the world over… or does it? And what, if anything, has economics got to do with it? This week The Food Chain takes a global look at 'fussy eating', and finds out about different cultural expectations and solutions. Emily Thomas talks to a psychologist, a sociologist and a behavioural geneticist to debate the phenomenon, and parents in Beijing, Nairobi, Kolkata and London share their tactics.
(Picture: Baby making a mess eating, Credit: Getty Images)
Claudia Roden: My Life in Five DishesThe Food Chain add
We meet the woman who’s been credited with revolutionising western attitudes to Middle Eastern and Jewish food.
Claudia Roden talks to Emily Thomas about her life through five dishes, from a comfortable childhood in Cairo to exile in 1950s Britain. She explains how a longing for home led her to painstakingly collect recipes from across the Middle East, and how she turned them into classic cookbooks that have inspired generations of chefs. Plus, we hear Claudia's unique perspective on today's culinary scene and a top tip on how to get honey off a spoon.
(Photo: Claudia Roden standing in front of one of her paintings. Credit: BBC)
Food ConfidentialThe Food Chain add
Trade secrets are jealously guarded by the food industry – and confidentiality is becoming ever more important. The Food Chain is on a mission to find out why. Emily Thomas explores the best way is to protect a secret recipe, and finds out just how hard that is to do when thousands, even millions of people, have tried the dish. Plus, a so-called 'food hacker' recreates one of the world’s most iconic secret recipes, and a nose around a chocolate factory reveals the secrecy behind a good truffle.
This programme was first broadcast on 15 March 2018.
(Picture: Security camera on building, Credit: Getty Images)
Eating BlockchainThe Food Chain add
*This is a repeat of a programme that first aired on 22nd February 2018
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 explain why they think it will change the way we eat.
(Picture: Light from broken egg, Credit: Getty Images)
A Poisonous BusinessThe Food Chain add
Food poisoning meets economics in this episode of the Food Chain. And it's a toxic mix.
We'll explore how an outbreak can bring down a company, badly damage an industry and shine a light on social and economic inequalities and our globalising food system. Emily Thomas talks to a top food poisoning lawyer in the US, who has won more than $600 million for clients in foodborne-illness cases. And a former banker explains why a dodgy sandwich inspired him to quit his day job for the cause. Plus, how do you prove where you got food poisoning from and what can you do to avoid it?
(Picture: Skull and coins, Credit: Getty Images)
Do Not Feed the AnimalsThe Food Chain add
Food waste can have a huge impact on some wild animals, changing their diets and behaviours, and often bringing them into closer contact with humans. From sea birds to grizzly bears, we hear how this can create serious ecological imbalances, and often lead to conflict.
Plus, we find out that our efforts to reduce food waste could have unintended, even devastating consequences, for both animals and people. But it’s not all bad news - we hear the remarkable story of what happens when our scraps sustain one of the fiercest predators on earth.
Presenter: Simon Tulett
(Photo: A brown bear. Credit: Getty Images)
This Food Will Save Your Life*The Food Chain add
Why are humans so vulnerable to big promises about food? Emily Thomas meets some people who became convinced salvation lay in what they ate, and a neurologist who explains why food can make us lose our powers of critical thinking. 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.
*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 experiences 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)
The New AnimalsThe Food Chain add
The world’s first genetically engineered animal for human consumption landed on Canadian dinner tables last year. Its arrival did not go by without controversy. Emily Thomas meets the company who created the fast-growing salmon and asks why it took the best part of thirty years for it to make its 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 in a sty. Credit: Getty Images)