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The Food Programme


Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


London, United Kingdom




Investigating every aspect of the food we eat




Eat Your Art Out: How Art Makes Us Eat

Eating with our eyes is no new concept, but can visual art itself inspire or alter the way we eat? and can food be used to help more people appreciate art? Jaega Wise meets artist, curator and gastronomy enthusiast Cedar Lewisohn to see his collection of artist's cookbooks, and hears how influential they have been. At Tate Modern, the idea of wanting to eat like an artist has been taken a step further with the restaurant offering menus inspired by exhibitions. Head chef, Jon Atashroo tells...


Tom Kerridge: A Life Through Food

Tom Kerridge is probably best known as the first chef in the UK to be awarded two prestigious Michelin stars for food served in a pub, not even a year after opening 'The Hand and Flowers' in Marlow in Buckinghamshire in 2005. Then he was in his early thirties; Known, in the business, for his hard work ethic and hard partying. Today, he's given up the booze and the partying, but as Sheila Dillon finds, he's as driven as ever with a string of restaurants, a food festival company, a catering...


India's Covid Crisis: The Food Story

Dan Saladino looks at covid's impact on food in India and the heroic efforts underway to feed communities. Lockdowns and job losses have disrupted access to food in this country of 1.4 billion people. A further 400,000 covid cases are being reported on a daily basis and 300,000 deaths have been recorded so far. For much of the world the pandemic has primarily been seen as a health crisis, accompanied by significant economic pressures. In India however, the impact on the food system has been...


Socially Distanced Dining: Indoor restaurants reopen again

As hospitality businesses in most parts of the UK are allowed to resume serving customers indoors this week, Leyla Kazim heads to Padstow to meet a couple who have moved their restaurant out of town in order to adapt to the new rules. Prawn on the Lawn in Padstow is a fishmonger with a small restaurant, which can typically fit around 22 diners, but only 12 with social distancing. Owners Rick and Katie Toogood have now relocated the restaurant into a marquee on a nearby farm, where all the...


Pure umami: should we learn to love MSG?

Monosodium Glutamate is probably one of the most contentious ingredients in modern food. Increasingly there have been calls to tackle the stigma attached to it especially as this has been linked to Chinese restaurants and people with East Asian heritage. In this programme Leyla Kazim aims to demystify MSG. She looks into where it came from, what it is and how it became so demonised. Professor Lisa Methven from the University of Reading explains the taste science behind how and why we like...


1971: A year that changed food forever?

Dan Saladino asks if the year 1971 was a turning point for how the world eats? It was a year of contrasts: McDonalds increased the portion sizes of the beef burger it served with the launch of the Quarter Pounder, meanwhile one of the best selling books of 1971 was full of vegetarian recipes, 'Diet for a Small Planet' by Frances Moore Lappe, which argued hunger could be eliminated from the world if we stopped eating meat and embraced plant-based diets. In the UK the food industry was...


The Joy of Heat

The chilli revolution of the past decade has made the UK a nation of chilli-jam lovers, and windowsill spice-growers. But our desire for the fiery kick of heat-giving food goes back centuries. What is it about us that makes us crave the pain and pleasure of chilli, wasabi, and horseradish? In this programme Sheila Dillon investigates our love for the hot stuff, speaking to chefs, growers, and researchers who are taking heat to new, extravagant heights. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced in...


A Nominations Celebration

The BBC Food and Farming Awards are back for their 20th edition, ready to celebrate the people across the UK who are changing lives for the better, through food and drink. Marking the official opening of nominations, Sheila Dillon chats to this year's head judge, chef Angela Hartnett, about how the hospitality industry's coped over the past year - and the brand new awards categories up for grabs. Because although it's been a time of incredible stress and hardship for many in the industry,...


Lab-grown meat: How long before it's on a menu near you?

The first lab-grown beef burger was cooked and eaten in London in 2013. Since then more than 15 types of meat have been re-created by food scientists - including lamb, duck, lobster and even kangaroo. Last year, Singapore became the first country in the world to approve the sale of a cultured chicken nugget - so how far away are we in the UK from seeing cultured meat on the menu? The companies producing lab-grown meat say it is the answer to many of the world's problems; deforestation,...


The Urban Growing Revolution

Planting and growing food has had a massive boost during the pandemic - and that hasn't been limited to those with gardens. Right across the country, people have been making the most of balconies, rooftops, even window boxes to get their green-fingered fix, as increasing numbers of us enjoy the benefits of interacting with nature and having a hand in producing our own food. Hot on the heels of her own spring planting project, Leyla Kazim explores stories of food being grown in cities: from...


The Magic of Mussels (And Their Troubled Trade)

Dan Saladino finds out how Brexit could wreck plans to turn the mussel into a mainstream food. They're good for our health and the environment so why are producers facing ruin? From their base in Lyme Bay in South Devon Nicki and John Holmyard grow mussels out at sea. Their pioneering farm, once completed, will be the largest of its kind in European waters, capable of producing ten thousand tonnes of mussels each year. Since January however, they haven't been able to harvest the shellfish...


Food, James Bond’s food

We don’t often see James Bond eating in the films, but in the novel food is almost as important as espionage, cocktails, sex, villains and travel. As many await the release of the new Bond film, we want to take your taste buds on a journey, to the flavours that were so unimaginably exotic when these books were written in the 1950s and 60s. Tom Jaine, former restaurateur and editor of The Good Food Guide, came of age when the Bond books were written. He remembers sneaking a copy of Casino...


Food in Lockdown: One Year On

A year after the UK was first put into lockdown, Sheila Dillon catches up with some of those who have been keeping the nation fed. If you listened to news reports, you might have thought getting food in lockdown was all about supermarkets and delivery slots, but as we have been hearing during the past year, it has been quite a bit more complicated than that. Coronavirus and lockdown has reset our minds to local and opened our eyes to how widespread hunger is in Britain. In this episode,...


The Barrel Effect: Why Oak casks have stood the test of time.

Brewer Jaega Wise looks into the history of the oak barrel, and hears how despite their shape, sizes and names having barely changed in hundreds of years, their use for flavouring drinks really has. There are an estimated 25 million casks in Scotland, mostly filled with Scotch whisky. Although their contents could not be more Scottish, the casks themselves are generally not. We find out why most in fact originate in the United States, and from one State in particular.. Kentucky. Jaega speaks...


Genome editing and the future of food

Dan Saladino looks at the future role of genome editing in food and farming. A public consultation is underway on technologies such as CRISPR. What could it mean for farmers and consumers? Unlike transgenic technologies (in which DNA is moved from one species to another), genome editing can be used to create changes to the DNA of plants and animals within a species. Helping to explain how the technology works is a plant biologist working at Cold Spring Harbour in the United States, Zach...


School Food: Re-imagined

What is the current school meal model, how well is it working and how has the pandemic highlighted existing problems and created new ones? More importantly, given the very public problems that have cropped up in recent months, how can the system be improved and made more sustainable and resilient? Sheila Dillon brings together a panel of school food visionaries to re-imagine the way we provide meals to pupils across the UK, and consider whether and how we could change the system for the...


Everything Stops For Tea.

The past 12 months have been tumultuous for us all. But imagine, for one second, how it would have been without a cup of tea? In the first three months of lockdown, we spent an additional £24 million on tea and coffee according to research firm Kantar. And despite tea trends diverging from the traditional cuppa over the years, the UK and Ireland remain two of the top tea drinking nations per capita, in the world. In this programme Jaega Wise looks at the connections we've built over tea, and...


Charles Campion: A Life Through Food.

The writer Charles Campion, who passed away recently, was an obsessive collector of food stories. With the help of Jay Rayner, Cyrus Todiwala, Nigel Barden, Mark Hix and Angela Hartnett, Dan Saladino finds out why. Charles had first worked in advertising, then became a chef in his own hotel-restaurant and eventually turned to food writing. He made numerous appearances on The Food Programme and was a longstanding judge in the BBC Food and Farming Awards. As Jay Rayner explains in this...


Cooking Blind

Amar Latif, entrepreneur and presenter, became the first blind contestant on BBC One's Celebrity MasterChef in 2019. During the series he inspired viewers, sighted, blind and partially sighted, as well as the MasterChef judges with this recipes and flair for flavours. Amar is one cook speaking to Sheila Dillon about his culinary inspiration and his rejuvenated enthusiasm for cooking. Sheila also speaks to double world champion, Paralympic Gold medal winning tandem cyclist, lifetime home cook...


Flavours of Home: The refugees forging new lives through food

COVID-19 may have pushed it from the front pages, but the refugee crisis rages on around the world, fed by war, famine and political persecution; and that’s before you even factor in a global pandemic. In this programme, Sheila Dillon explores the remarkable stories of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, forging new lives and careers through food. She hears from Josie Naughton, co-founder and CEO of refugee aid organisation Choose Love; Chernise Neo and her team at Proof Bakery in...