304 episodes

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

The Food Programme BBC Radio 4

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 209 Ratings

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

    Madhur Jaffrey: A Legacy

    Madhur Jaffrey: A Legacy

    40 years ago the BBC broadcast a new TV cooking series called "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking". It was a first, and showed audiences that Indian food did not rely on curry powder, and that dishes were different depending on what region of India they originated. But that's not all, the series and Madhur Jaffrey's subsequent books (she has written more than 30) had another effect; it made her a model for two generations of women with roots in India.

    Today Sheila Dillon meets some of those prominent and hugely successful female chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and stylists who are currently working in the UK, to find out about their lives, and what they make of Madhur Jaffrey's legacy.

    Asma Khan rose to fame when she was chosen as the first British chef to star in the Netflix series, Chef’s Table. She runs her London restaurant, Darjeeling Express, with an all-female staff.

    Chetna Makan worked as a fashion designer in India before moving to the UK. She switched careers after making it to the semi-finals of the Great British Bake Off in 2014. She is now the author of 5 cookery books, and has more than 210,000 subscribers on YouTube.

    Ravinder Bhogal is a chef, food writer and author of two books. She also runs the London restaurant, Jikoni, which she describes as being “proudly inauthentic”.

    Romy Gill is a chef, broadcaster and food writer, and was one of the first Asian women in the UK to own her own restaurant.

    Rukmini Iyer is a food stylist and writer and the author of the bestselling "Roasting Tin" series of books.

    Sejal Sukhadwala is a London food writer. Her first book "The Philosophy of Curry" has just been published.

    Presented by Sheila Dillon
    Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan

    • 28 min
    Staffordshire Oatcakes – a Potteries tradition going strong

    Staffordshire Oatcakes – a Potteries tradition going strong

    In our world of globalised food, there are few things that have remained true local specialities, and the Staffordshire oatcake is one of them. This oatmeal, yeasted pancake is an institution in Stoke-on-Trent and surrounding area, but still hardly anyone beyond the Midlands seems to have heard of them. The oatcake has a history stretching back hundreds of years as a staple food for workers of the Staffordshire Potteries – it then suffered a dip in popularity from the 1960s which led to concerns about its future, but today we hear reports that local production is healthy, and even going up.

    In the programme Leyla Kazim visits oatcake bakers in Stoke to hear how they’re keeping this much-loved local staple going strong. And we catch up with Glenn Fowler, the owner of the very last traditional ‘hole in the wall’ shop which closed in 2012, to find out how this Stoke institution lives on through its recipe. But as demand goes up, this is driving more automated production, so what could that mean for the traditional methods and the long-established recipes? And it is time for this overlooked oatmeal pancake to finally gain nationwide appeal?

    Presented by Leyla Kazim and produced by Sophie Anton for BBC Audio in Bristol.

    • 28 min
    SPAM: food + war + memory in a can

    SPAM: food + war + memory in a can

    No other tinned meat has had the worldwide cultural impact of SPAM. Though often denigrated in this country, it is celebrated across the world particularly in the Asia-Pacific where it became integrated into food cultures after The Second World War.

    Jaega Wise explores this love of SPAM with Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon. She also meets Becky (Hanguk Hapa) in New Malden to talk about Budae Jjigae (army base stew), a dish born out of necessity, it is now a national comfort food.

    SPAM also saw big increases in sales in the pandemic. As well as being a shelf stable and practical food, did our war nostalgia play a part in our renewed interest? Jaega talks to historian Dr Kelly Spring about how SPAM, gifted to Britain during the Second World War by the American’s, was initially received.

    She also talks to Dr Duane Mellor from Aston University about the science and nutrition of tinned meat.

    Archive of Stan Suffling and Walter Price is from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive.

    Presenter: Jaega Wise
    Produced in Bristol by Sam Grist

    • 28 min
    Jack Monroe: A Life Through Food

    Jack Monroe: A Life Through Food

    Jack Monroe, the food writer and poverty campaigner sits down in her living room in Southend-on-Sea to share her 'Life Through Food' with Leyla Kazim. It has been almost a decade since Jack first made a name for herself as a blogger and food writer - documenting life as an unemployed single mum. Her blog, A Girl Called Jack (now Cooking on a Bootstrap) first focussed on local politics, but became popular when she started sharing her costed out low budget recipes. Since then, she has written six cookery books, has written 10,000 tweets, and become a voice for those living in poverty in the UK.

    Jack's most recent campaign against the way inflation data is recorded and presented, resulted in the Office for National Statistics saying it would do more to represent the experiences of people living on different incomes in the UK. It also led the supermarket chain Asda to bring back and expand it's budget range of products. Jack is currently working on creating her own 'Vimes Boots' index to document the way food prices have changed over the past decade for people living on lowest incomes.

    In this programme, Leyla finds out what motivates Jack to keep speaking out about inequalities, and how she deals with social media backlashes. She talks about her early food heroes, the pleasure she gets from cooking, and why she believes there needs to be more equality and inclusivity in the food world.

    Presented by Leyla Kazim
    Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan

    • 29 min
    An Easter Special

    An Easter Special

    Dan Saladino hears from cooks in Palermo, Marseille and Kyiv about Easter food traditions.

    Produced and presented by Dan Saladino

    • 28 min
    Ukraine: The Food Dimension Part 2

    Ukraine: The Food Dimension Part 2

    Dan Saladino speaks to food suppliers and farmers in Ukraine about the impact of war.

    Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
209 Ratings

209 Ratings

yakgirl52 ,

Interesting and Enjoyable

Don't have to be British to enjoy this podcast! But where's Sheila Dillon lately? She's my favorite, and it feels like it's been ages since she's done one of these. Hope that's just a temporary thing......

FacebookAppsAreLame ,

Diverse Subjects, Skip the Vocal Fry

Interesting variety of subjects. I enjoyed the topics on chefs, blue fin tuna. The interview questions are great open-ended ones. I had to skip some of the 2018 episodes because host, a British woman, tends to have this intolerable dragging vocal fry.

Andigol ,

So interesting

Loving the subject matter and everything related this is informative interesting and quite entertaining, so many discussions about such a variety of subjects, look forward to each new episode

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