290 episodes

The Food Chain examines the business, science and cultural significance of food, and what it takes to put food on your plate.

The Food Chain BBC

    • Food
    • 4.7 • 164 Ratings

The Food Chain examines the business, science and cultural significance of food, and what it takes to put food on your plate.

    How to love chillies

    How to love chillies

    Chillies can be hard to love at first, but they are integral to the cuisines of many countries. So what do you do if hot peppers are at the heart of your food culture, but your child can’t stand the heat?

    Emily Thomas is joined by three cooks and parents. Each of them grew up in a food culture where chillies are important, but are now bringing up their own children in a country where hot peppers have less significance. We hear why you might want a child to develop a taste for chilli, how young they should be introduced to it, and whether you should ever resort to bribery.

    Guests: MiMi Aye, Sunrita Dutta, Mei Li.

    • 26 min
    Portion distortion

    Portion distortion

    Serving sizes have increased dramatically in recent decades. It’s happened so subtly that many of us simply don't realise, but it’s having a serious impact on our health and our planet. So, how can we reverse it?

    Emily Thomas learns how food manufacturers and clever marketers have nudged us into buying ever larger portions, leveraging ultra cheap ingredients and our own psychology. We hear that the phenomenon is so pervasive it’s also crept into the home, where many of us have lost any concept of what an appropriate portion is.

    Given the increasing awareness of the poor health and environmental outcomes linked to overconsumption, we find out what regulators and companies are doing to shrink portions back to a more sustainable size, and ask whether the real answer might lie in a fundamental shift in the way we all value food.

    Producer: Simon Tulett

    If you would like to get in touch with the show please email thefoodchain@bbc.co.uk

    (Picture: A woman drinking from a giant coffee cup. Credit: Getty/BBC)

    Contributors:

    Pierre Chandon, professor of marketing and director of the INSEAD Sorbonne University Behavioural Lab, Paris;
    Theresa Marteau, director of the behaviour and health research unit at Cambridge University;
    Denise Chen, chief sustainability officer at Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Hong Kong.

    • 31 min
    A year in the life of a Chinese restaurant

    A year in the life of a Chinese restaurant

    Anti-Asian hate has surged since the coronavirus outbreak, and some of the most common targets have been Chinese food businesses.

    Tamasin Ford speaks to three people who’ve witnessed the rise of Sinophobia first hand and seen it damage not only their livelihoods, but also their families.

    They explain why they’re not prepared to stay silent, as was often the case for previous generations, and how they plan to use food in the fight against racism and ignorance.

    Producers: Simon Tulett and Sarah Stolarz

    If you would like to get in touch with the show please email thefoodchain@bbc.co.uk

    (Picture: A person holds a sign during a rally against anti-Asian hate in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Credit: Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty/BBC)

    Contributors:

    Patrick Mock, manager of 46 Mott bakery in New York;
    John Li, owner of Dumpling Shack, London;
    Ying Hou, owner of ShanDong MaMa, Melbourne

    • 26 min
    Should the US abandon tipping?

    Should the US abandon tipping?

    President Biden has pledged to scrap the 'tipped wage' in the US - a salary system where diners effectively subsidise waiters' wages.

    It's a move that's divided restaurant staff across the country. Tamasin Ford hears from those who want a higher minimum wage and an end to a system they argue makes servers vulnerable to discrimination and harassment. On the other hand, some staff are outraged because, they say, the changes could wipe out their chance to make double or even triple their hourly wage in tips.

    With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the hospitality industry, restaurant owners too are wondering whether now is the time for a shake-up, and also how customers might react.

    If you would like to get in touch with the show please email thefoodchain@bbc.co.uk

    (Picture: A waitress writes notes on a pad. Credit: Getty Images/BBC)

    Contributors:

    Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage USA;
    Dr Michael Lynn, professor of services marketing at Cornell University, New York;
    Xian Zhang, co-owner of Cafe China and Birds of a Feather, New York;
    Joshua Chaisson, president of the Restaurant Workers of America and a waiter in Portland, Maine

    • 26 min
    The food that broke through lockdown

    The food that broke through lockdown

    On the streets of Bucharest a woman unwraps a package of Chinese pepper ... and falls in love. In Portland Oregon, a family finds a new home - in a farmers market. A food writer opens her front door in London and finds a Chinese banquet waiting for her. On a cold winter’s morning, in a city 10,000 kilometres away from her family, a woman stands and waits for a taste of home.

    As part of the BBC World Service festival exploring how the Coronavirus pandemic is reshaping our social lives, Emily Thomas hears four stories of how food can bring us closer together when we’ve never been more distant from one another.

    If you would like to get in touch with the show, please email thefoodchain@bbc.co.uk

    (Picture: Two women sit on a bench talking, Credit: Getty/BBC)

    Contributors:

    Albertina Coacci
    Tse Yin Lee
    Fuchsia Dunlop
    Schlifka Collier

    • 28 min
    Is it time to add vitamin D to food?

    Is it time to add vitamin D to food?

    Vitamin D keeps our bones and muscles strong, and now there's some evidence it could help protect us from Covid-19. With many of us deficient in the 'sunshine vitamin' could food fortification be the best way to ensure we're getting enough?

    Emily Thomas hears how enriched milk and margarines have helped to almost completely eliminate vitamin D deficiencies in Finland, and how plans to fortify flour could prevent devastating bone diseases like rickets in Mongolia.

    As more countries are urged to act, we ask whose responsibility fortification should be - governments' or the food industry's? Plus, why is it so hard to get enough vitamin D from sunlight or our regular diets, and is it possible to get too much?

    If you would like to get in touch with the show please email thefoodchain@bbc.co.uk

    Producers: Simon Tulett and Sarah Stolarz

    Contributors:

    Kevin Cashman, professor of food and health at University College Cork, Republic of Ireland;
    Amaraa Bor, operations manager at the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, Mongolia;
    Christel Lamberg-Allardt, professor of food and nutrition at the University of Helsinki, Finland

    (Picture: An optical illusion of a boy 'eating' the sun. Credit: Getty Images/BBC)

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
164 Ratings

164 Ratings

hohohohohohomj ,

The food chain!

I love this podcast i have been listening for so long and it’s really interesting. It’s packed with a good balance of options and facts about cultures, food and current events. I rate it a 10/10 🙂

sarah7* ,

The topic of the moment

This podcast is great. It brings together our love of food with new realisation that we can’t take the food supply for granted. Once you start listening to this podcast, you realise how much it’s all bound up with changes in the environment just as we are being told that it’s good for us to see flowers in meadows and walk through trees, listen to this and get ideas of how you want your future to be!

Peanutbutternutty ,

Lots of food for thought

Such a good podcast. Really varied, insightful and covering subjects I just would never have thought of. Objective, well put together, if you like food give this a go!

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