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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




Best Food Producer of the Year: Meet the Finalists

What does it take to bring home the title of Best Food Producer in the Food and Farming Awards 2021? This year, Sheila Dillon and chef Angela Hartnett visit a local nose-to-tail butchery, a community cooperative farm and an enterprise employing ex-offenders to make delicious pasties and pies. H.M.Pasties was set up by Lee Wakeham to ‘bring out the good inside’ by employing ex-offenders like himself to make and sell handmade Cornish-style pasties and baked goods to customers across Greater...


Oz Clarke: A Life Through Wine

Oz Clarke, the popular man of wine, has enjoyed success in wine writing and broadcasting for four decades. First appearing on our screens on BBC2’s Food and Drink in the 1980s, he helped lead a wine drinking revolution in Britain. Visiting Oz to share a glass or two from his collection, Jaega Wise hears about his varied career and lifelong passion for wine, as well as how he’s never been afraid of introducing controversy into the wine world. Oz also shares his thoughts on the natural wine...


Prue Leith: A Life Through Food

She might be best known as the colourfully clad host of the Great British Bake Off, but Dame Prue Leith's accomplishments during her six decades in the food industry are vast and varied. She's enjoyed success as a cook, restaurateur, businesswoman, broadcaster, campaigner, food writer and novelist; and in conversation with Sheila Dillon, on a balmy summer afternoon on the terrace of her Cotswolds home, Prue shares the lessons she's learned from her career so far. We also hear from Prue's...


High Spirits: A story of vodka

Vodka is a spirit with a rich cultural history in a host of European countries including Russia and Poland, where it’s been distilled for centuries. In the west, it's traditionally been considered either a base for other flavours, or something to be knocked back as quickly as possible. But the recent craft spirits boom has seen more distillers experimenting with vodka, showcasing the subtle flavours of base ingredients or trying out quirky botanical additions; and now, a growing vodka fan...


Buckfast: the Transformation of Scotland’s Most Controversial Drink

Shedding its associations with street crime and violence, Buckfast is now drunk in upmarket cocktail bars, trendy restaurants and hipster haunts. Jaega Wise visits Glasgow to hear about this transformation, and finds out what a wine produced by monks in Devon can tell us about modern Scotland. Jaega speaks to a comedian about his complicated history with the drink, enlists help from a criminologist to understand Buckfast’s rebirth, and finds out what the fortified wine tastes like as a pizza...


Stirring Up Stories: The Business of Food PR

Leyla Kazim finds out how food companies and restaurants use PR agencies to get us thinking about the meals they want us to buy. From talking teabags to weird breakfast combos, social media has become a way for brands to show us their personalities. In this episode we speak to those behind the stories, find out where they came from, and why they work to keep brands relevant. In hospitality, as restaurants reopen, PR agencies faced with contract cancellations at the start of the pandemic are...


Tastefully Worded: Exploring food in language

Can you have your cake and eat it? Do you have bigger fish to fry? Are you seduced by food imagery in literature, and lured into rash purchases by the purple prose of food packaging? This, then, is the programme for you! Sheila Dillon is joined by author, poet and presenter of Radio 4's 'Word of Mouth', Michael Rosen, to discuss the origins and impacts of food language: from the everyday idioms that hark back to ancient dietary habits, to the seductive language of advertising. Exploring food...


The Story of the Digestive: From grain to biscuit.

Dan Saladino tells the story of one of Britain's oldest and most popular biscuits, the digestive. He follows the story from a farmers wheat field to a food factory in London. Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.


Flour to the People.

Dan Saladino finds out how farmers, millers and bakers are reclaiming wheat, flour and bread in Scotland. When flour ran out during the pandemic the project came into its own. Produced and presented for BBC Audio in Bristol by Dan Saladino


Andrew Wong: A Life Through Food

“It’s about trying to paint pictures – of different places, different moments in time, throughout China’s past.” Andrew Wong grew up helping out in his parents’ Chinese restaurant in central London, convinced that he would never work in hospitality himself. But the “magic” of the industry drew him in – and today he’s chef-patron of a restaurant on the very same site as his parents’ place, but totally transformed. In the decade or so since its launch, A.Wong has built a reputation for...


Catering in Care Homes

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought into focus the lives of older and disabled people living in care homes like never before. From the start of the first lockdown, there were fears about food being in short supply, and then later came the reality of lockdown, with residents spending days alone in bedrooms, and video-calls and ‘window visits’ becoming the only means of contact with loved ones. In this programme, relatives share their anxieties about the catering on offer to elderly parents,...


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...


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...


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...


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;...


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...


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...


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...