300 episodes

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

The Food Programme BBC

    • Arts
    • 4.5 • 78 Ratings

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

    The Great Food Reset?

    The Great Food Reset?

    Dan Saladino finds out why a UN summit to transform the global food system has become so controversial. It has generated 2500 ideas for change but also a boycott by protesters.

    In 2019 the UN's Secretary General António Guterres highlighted ways in which the global food system was breaking down: hundreds of millions of people going hungry, billions more overweight or obese and tonnes of food being wasted. These problems were also obstacles in the way of reaching the 2030 target for the Sustainable Development Goals which includes zero hunger. This year's food systems summit was designed to find solutions to these problems.

    This week in Rome the ideas generated by the millions of people who have engaged in the process will be set out ahead of the summit in New York in September. But the involvement of some of the world's biggest food corporations has led to concerns over the direction of the summit, and of the global food system itself.

    Produced and presented for BBC Audio in Bristol by Dan Saladino.

    • 28 min
    Plate of the Nation: Second Serving

    Plate of the Nation: Second Serving

    Could we kick-start a major transformation of our food system, in just three years?

    That's the ambition of the National Food Strategy, the first independent review of our food policy in nearly 75 years, commissioned by the government in 2019 and authored by Henry Dimbleby - who published the second and final part of the report this week.

    Food-related problems have been stacking up in the UK for a while: inequality, poor diets, a boom in costly bariatric diseases, the environmental impact of food production, the resilience of the overall system - the list goes on. But now we could be at a turning point, as the country starts to emerge (hopefully) from months of restrictions with fresh perspectives and priorities, and seeks to reposition itself post-pandemic and post-Brexit.

    Now, Part 2 of the National Food Strategy has set out a framework for transforming our food system.

    So how exactly does it propose we do that?

    Sheila Dillon digs into the detail of the report, speaking to Henry Dimbleby (co-founder of the restaurant chain Leon and co-author of the 2013 School Food Plan) about the strategy's focus and recommendations; and inviting listener feedback for a future episode.

    The programme also features questions from Caroline Keohane at the Food and Drink Federation, Martin Lines from the Nature Friendly Farming Network, and Jeanette Orrey: a former dinner lady turned school meals campaigner and co-founder of Food for Life. And we revisit previous guests Nutritank - a student organisation campaigning for better nutritional education for medics - and Social Bite: a project supporting Scotland's homeless through social enterprise cafés.


    Presented by Sheila Dillon
    Produced by Lucy Taylor in Bristol

    • 29 min
    Drinking Culture: The women calling out sexism in the alcohol industry

    Drinking Culture: The women calling out sexism in the alcohol industry

    Over the past year, women working in different parts of the drinks industry have been sharing their stories and experiences to try to change the way women are treated. Most recently people working in craft brewing have been sharing their stories on social media - saying enough is enough. In this episode, Jaega Wise speaks to some of those about how we have got here - and what needs to change.

    She meets Charlotte Cook, an experienced brewer who says the most important thing now is to believe the stories, as some are being silenced by UK libel laws. Professor Chris Land from Anglia Ruskin University explains how certain workplaces can create unhealthy cultures, while bartender Nichola Bottomley says she was inspired to speak out after years of harassment working in pubs and bars.

    In the US, Victoria James, who was named the country's youngest sommelier at 21, tells Jaega about her book Wine Girl, and how it went on to inspire other women working in wine to come together to speak out, eventually leading to a number of resignations. Becky Paskin, journalist and co-founder of Our Whisky, talks about the repercussions she faced after calling out sexism in the whisky industry. While Brad Cummings, co-founder of craft beer company, Tiny Rebel tells Jaega what is changing at his business, after it was called out by former employees online.

    UKHospitality, which represents businesses in the industry says it's been working hard to tackle these issues and continues to work with members to promote a zero tolerance approach to harassment in the workplace by either fellow employees or customers.

    Presented by Jaega Wise
    Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan

    Photo Credit: Laura Hadland of www.thirstmedia.co.uk

    • 29 min
    Unpacking the Great British Picnic

    Unpacking the Great British Picnic

    In a country where weather is notoriously fickle, how has the picnic become such a beloved institution?

    Jaega Wise rolls out a blanket and invites a group of al fresco aficionados to share their picnicking expertise over a spot of lunch outdoors.

    Joining her in the picturesque setting of Windsor Great Park on the edge of Berkshire are Robert Szewczyk - head chef at Cumberland Lodge, the park's residential conference centre, which provides picnic lunches for the famous Ascot races nearby; Kate Bielich - founder and chef at Konoba, a Manchester-based private caterer that, during the pandemic, launched home meal kits and picnic hampers; and Max Halley from Max’s Sandwich Shop in North London, who recently released 'Max's Picnic Book', teaching people to "picnic like a boss!"

    Over lunch, the group discusses the British love of eating outside, and reflects on how the pandemic has forced us to embrace al fresco dining - driving more adventurous portable eating options.

    Jaega also hears from food historian Polly Russell from the British Library, who helps unpack the history of the picnic, its strong social and cultural connotations in the UK, and how our approach to picnicking has evolved in recent decades.

    Presented by Jaega Wise
    Produced by Lucy Taylor in Bristol


    Featuring excerpts from:
    - ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame; read by Michael Bertenshaw and produced for Radio 4 by Karen Holden.
    - ‘A Passage to India’ by E.M. Forster; adapted for radio by Tanika Gupta, produced and directed for Radio 4 by Tracey Neale, and featuring the voices of Penelope Wilton as Mrs Moore, Shubham Saraf as Dr Aziz and Jonathan Firth as Fielding.

    • 28 min
    Cyrus Todiwala: A Life Through Food

    Cyrus Todiwala: A Life Through Food

    From Mumbai childhood to pioneering London chef, Mr Todiwala's Life Through Food; a story involving the legendary dish Bombay Duck and an important connection with Freddie Mercury.

    After years spent cooking in India, first at the prestigious Taj Mahal hotel and then in Goa, Cyrus Todiwala moved to London with his wife Pervin and created one of the most influential south Asian restaurants in the UK, Café Spice Namaste.

    With an emphasis on authentic regional classics including lamb dhaansaak and Goan prawn curry, for twenty five years Café Spice helped reshape Britain's understanding of Indian food. Cyrus and Pervin tell the story of how it all happened, why they were forced to close the original restaurant in 2020 and how it's being reborn and reinvented in another part of east London.

    An important driving force in Cyrus's life (and his cooking) is his faith (Zoroastrianism) and his identity (as a member of India's Parsee community). He explains how they have both shaped his outlook on life and his work as a chef.

    Produced and presented for BBC Audio in Bristol by Dan Saladino.

    • 28 min
    The Medical Field: Why student doctors are getting out on farms

    The Medical Field: Why student doctors are getting out on farms

    The Food Programme first met Iain Broadley and Ally Jaffee in 2017, when they were studying medicine in Bristol.

    The pair saw a disconnect between the rise of diet-related diseases, and the training they received around nutrition - with some students getting as little as eight hours of compulsory nutrition education during their entire time at medical school. So Ally and Iain founded Nutritank, an organisation championing better nutritional education for healthcare professionals, which earned them the Pat Llewellyn New Talent trophy at the 2019 BBC Food and Farming Awards.

    Today Nutritank's active in more than 20 medical school societies across the UK, and has been part of a working group charged with finalising a new nutritional curriculum for medical schools, due out this autumn.

    Now, they're piloting a scheme taking student and junior doctors out on farm visits - in a bid to better educate future healthcare professionals about food production and nutrition, so that they in turn can better advise their patients.

    So could it work? Sheila joins them on a farm visit to the Great Tew Estate in Oxfordshire, to find out.

    She also speaks to Kate Henderson from the estate's farm team, Liz Lake and Caroline Drummond from Linking Environment and Farming, and Dr Glenys Jones: a registered public health nutritionist and deputy chief executive of the Association for Nutrition.


    Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

Gaylord Perry ,

More Sheila

There are two Sheila’s that I am in love with. Sheila Dylan, the host of this great show and Sheila from Wild Wild Country. If only I had a time machine. For now, listen to The episode about Patience Grey. And another favourite is called “a fat lot of good”. Both fascinating.

Aldorado2.0.1 ,

Well said... a rare treat

As the previous writer already mentioned: this podcast is definitely a rare gem. Excellent production in any way, interesting and diverse topics handled to a certain deepness that you don't find often in the worlds of food podcasts. Me as well... I can't get enough of this podcast. Keep on the excellent work.

billy12step ,

love love love this podcast

without a full understanding of why, exactly, this is my very favorite podcast. maybe it's the uk accents? or maybe it's the care put into serious examinations of issues ranging from esoteric flavour trends to the serious business of food shortage and whole food viability. not sure, but i can't get enough of this great podcast. a rare treat, really.

billy12step.

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