© Samual Fradley
Food Matters: science, diet and everything
Food Matters: science, diet and everything is the name of our unique Food Festival programme on contemporary food issues.
A series of conversations between experts from the spectrum of food production, preparation and promotion. Sustainability will be our central theme but we will also explore survival and innovation during the Covid lockdown, its possible long term effects on the food industry and even shine light on the science of human nutrition.
With audience participation very much encouraged we aim to provide an entertaining and friendly exchange of ideas and discussion because, well, Food Matters!
The format is primarily a conversation between a host and 2-3 experts for 20 mins followed by an opportunity for the audience to be involved in the discussions. Food Matters is a unique part of our Food Festival.
In the spirit of sharing knowledge and public debate we make no charge for entry but need to ask for donations to cover our costs. Please give generously.
Seats cannot be booked so come early to secure a place. Entry will be allowed from 10 mins before the start of a new session. There will be around 20 standing places.
Over the years, Chef Ash Hamilton and his team have worked hard to bring original concepts to Brixham including modern brunch and lunch, supper clubs and their famous #donutporn whilst maintaining a laid back welcoming vibe steeped in the team’s love for rock music.
Now a Devon staple, The Curious Kitchen (‘TCK’) has won multiple awards and received rave press and public acclaim due to its high standards of food and drink but also for its community input including Ash’s Cooking with Ash online series where he teaches how to take a £25 budget and feed a family of 4 for 5 days (lunch and dinner).
“I founded a catering event business that makes life time memories on long tables. One of 7 kids, I grew up around long tables and conversation. My career has always been motivated by the maternal instinct in cooking. I have worked with the likes of Ottolenghi, Honey & Co, Jamie Oliver and Berber & Q. They are more importantly now my friends. My businesses challenge and disrupt the hospitality sector and our Canteen concept is going to change the world.”
Ben Quinn is known for his flavour-drenched, colourful food – often cooked over live fire – served to the centre of communal tables guaranteed to be packed with an appreciative crowd of food lovers. Ben dishes out ‘experience dining’ with all the creativity, flare and memorability which that lofty terms implies; he is a force to be reckoned with and not just for his culinary skills.
Ben worked at top restaurants, including Fifteen Cornwall, and as a freelance consultant before deciding to take a non-traditional career path in the hospitality industry. He co-founded Woodfired Canteen which, in a few short but intense years, has built a cult following for hosting dinners in special locations – think spectacular clifftops, bucolic barns and idyllic gardens – eat your heart out Instagram!
Canteen, at Wheal Kitty Workshops near St Agnes, is HQ for Ben and his team. This industrial-style prep kitchen and shared workspace is open to the public every day and was described by Olive Magazine as Cornwall’s hottest new opening when it launched in 2017. Grab a mug of Origin Coffee, browse Ben’s favourite cookbooks and store cupboard ingredients, and enjoy a delicious plate of food while chatting to fellow foodies or catching up on your emails.
Beware though, spend too long with Ben and you will succumb to his infectious enthusiasm for positive change. “It’s about more than plates of food,” Ben explains, as he talks eloquently about building a catering company with a social purpose, putting people before profits. And it’s more than just talk – Woodfired Canteen have developed event concepts with the likes of ShelterBox, the RNLI, Cool Earth and CLIC Sargent.Passionate, articulate and ambitious, Ben is taking no prisoners in his bid to shake up the hospitality industry in Cornwall and beyond.
Food Matters Programme Co-ordinator
Always fond of good food and wine, and an enthusiastic domestic cook, Craig has since retiring to Dartmouth become a lobster fisherman, sourdough bread maker and dedicated seasonal eater. He has also become interested in how food is produced and became aware of the ecologically poor record of modern farming and the food industry.
For 2021 we offer an even more challenging and entertaining programme than in 2019 with Sustainability and the impact of the Pandemic on the food industry as core themes. We have a fantastic collection of experts to amuse and challenge the festival audience.
Come and hear the experts and join in the conversation.
Dietitian & Public Health Nutritionist
DR CLARE PETTINGER
“Call me a nutrition expert if you will but I am foodie through and through! I breathe food…in all its delectable, historical, political, socio-cultural glory! So bring me to the table and let’s share those peppered and convivial food conversations – I have a deep intrigue into how food can make us happy, sad, thin, fat, shamed, coerced (the list goes on)… In light of COVID and Brexit, I have a particular interest in how we can collectively transform our food system, so that it is fairer and more resilient for all members of society.”
Clare is engaged in community research on food poverty and social justice and currently leads a Plymouth based ‘Food System transformation’ project that aims to transform the food system for disadvantaged communities. She is an active member of the Food Plymouth partnership and leads on the Food Equality (poverty) aspect of their action plan.
Edward is the Chair of the Eden Trust, the charity behind the Eden Project. He and his wife have a deep interest in sustainability, increased when their tenant farmer retired prompting them to take a direct role in managing their farm. They are learning to manage the conflicting priorities of biodiversity, carbon, food production and public access.
Food Producer & Publican
GEETI SINGH-WATSON MBE
Geeti is the founder of organic pubs and inns and has 23 years of running truly sustainable pubs!
Geetie Singh-Watson is the founder of the first official organic pub in Britain, The Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub, in Islington, London. After working in the restaurant trade for several years, she was horrified by the wastefulness that she witnessed – food was regularly thrown away, nothing was recycled and seasonal eating was unheard of. Geetie was determined to combine her passion for pubs and food, and set up The Duke as a business that could thrive without harming the environment, bringing delicious organic food to its customers, and educating them about organics, sustainable living and seasonal eating.
In 2009, she was awarded an MBE for ‘Services to the Organic Pub Trade’, and has also been named Business Woman of the Year, Asian Woman of Achievement and Entrepreneur of the Year. An active campaigner and environmentalist, Geetie firmly believes that businesses must act responsibly and be led by their ethics and values.
Geetie’s 4th organic pub, The Bull Inn, Rotherfold Square, Totnes, is due to open in Autumn 2019.
Guy Singh-Watson has over the last 30 years taken Riverford from one man and a wheelbarrow delivering homegrown organic veg to friends, to a national veg box scheme delivering to around 80,000 customers a week. Tired of meetings, brands and the assumption that greed is our predominant motivation, Guy converted the business to employee ownership in 2018, using the proceeds to buy a small farm and return to growing organic vegetables.
In common with many of Riverford’s new co-owners, Guy is an advocate of using business to shape a part of the world, however small, to be kinder, more considerate and sustainable; more like the world most of us want to live in. His weekly newsletters connect people to the farm with refreshingly honest accounts of the trials and tribulations of producing organic food, and the occasional rant about farming, ethical and business issues he feels strongly about
HENRY DIMBLEBY MBE
Henry Dimbleby is co-founder of Leon Restaurants, the not-for-profit Sustainable Restaurant Association, and the charity Chefs In Schools.
Henry Dimbleby was made lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2018 and in June 2019 the Environment Secretary appointed him to lead the National Food Strategy. Henry co-founded the Leon restaurant chain in 2004, the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2009, the charity Chefs in Schools in2018 and co-authored The School Food Plan in2013. This set out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food.
Henry previously worked as a Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company where he advised businesses on strategy, performance improvement and organisational design. Before that he worked as a journalist on The Daily Telegraph and a chef at the Michelin-starred Four Seasons Inn on the Park
James Crowden grew up in South Devon where there was plenty of farmhouse cider and started working on farms in the late 1960s. After a spell in the deserts of Iran, the Afghan Hindu Kush and the Himalayas he became rather thirsty and returned home via Bristol Docks. He then helped make cider in Somerset for a good few years just as the Somerset Cider Brandy Company started business. He first went to school in Dartmouth and has written three books on cider He loves tannin.
Following a 12-year career that ended as Captain in the Merchant Navy, I switched to the fishing industry via a 2-years spell as a Fisheries Inspector in MAFF. I have been the CEO at SWFPO Ltd since 1989, representing fishermen and vessel owners to the highest levels of UK Government and to Commission level in the EU. I lobbied for changes to the Common Fisheries Policy that would restore the UK industry to a fair and level footing and, when offered the chance at the referendum I campaigned to Leave.
The resultant melee was not of anyone’s asking, but I remain optimistic that the eventual outcome will provide the UK fishing industry with investment opportunities and profitability better than was in prospect from the discredited Common Fisheries Policy.
My food career started as an apprentice chef. After travelling and working in kitchens for 16 years, I had the opportunity to move into food buying and have built up an extensive experience and qualifications in food preparation and animal welfare including a master’s degree in Food Policy.
I am now Group Food Policy Manager at Whitbreads, a pivotal role in maintaining our welfare and responsible sourcing agenda. I am responsible for our Animal Welfare policy and the Marine Stewardship Council audit and compliance that includes approving suppliers and products for wild caught and farmed seafood.
CHEF, Landlord and Butcher
Landlord of the award winning Bear and Blacksmith in Chillington, born and bred on the area and chef on and off for 20 years. We rear our own lamb and pork on our farm which we then put through our own butchery. If we cannot use our own then we source from local farms and fishing boats. Providing local produce through my pub is a passion and I love it.
I grew up in Dartmouth and Stoke Fleming. My teenage years were great : diving, sailing & shooting, a real outdoors life. I followed my father into the Fish Merchant business and after a few years set up my own. I still sail when I can but I have never worked harder than during the past year and a half!
Academic & Food Writer
Focused on inequality and how many in our population don’t have adequate access to food; this leads to food poverty and obesity.
Martin is Emeritus Professor of food and health policy, at City, University of London. He has spent decades working on issues related to food poverty, local food systems, food in schools and food banks. His recent focus is on how rising levels of debt during the Covid crisis has impacted on food poverty.
Mary Cadogan’s career spans decades most notably as Food Director of BBC Good Food magazine for 12 years. Following a move to France she continued her writing and editing career as well as opening a bespoke cookery school with her husband Mick that attracted guests from all over the world. Mary now lives in Somerset where she cooks regular pop up suppers, runs the village market and makes seasonal preserves when the mood takes her. During lockdown she baked for the village to keep spirits up and to ensure everyone else put on weight!
Launch editor of BBC Good Food and Delicious magazines; now freelancing as a food writer, food stylist and baker of wonderful cakes.
As a young girl, Mitzie pored over every recipe book and cookery feature in magazines and spent her childhood growing up in Devon making scones and cakes for tea, picking wild fruit for making jams and home made wines and making chutneys from her Dad’s garden produce.
Since then she has been writing receipes for the cookery pages of just about every woman’s magazine. Her career highlights include launching BBC Good Food magazine and editing it for 9 years, and then launching Delicious magazine in 2003 which she edited for 3 years.
Her passion has always been creating delicious cakes and bakes and food styling for beautiful food photography and as a result has tried every cookery gadget you can imagine (most of which have been confined to the bin!), but there are some essential tools she could not live without.
Nina is editor of Wicked Leeks magazine and a journalist specialising in food sustainability, supply chains and ethical business. She honed her trade at leading trade magazine Fresh Produce Journal, and has written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and The Ecologist. A passionate traveller, she is interested in food as the starting point for discussions about culture, the environment, health, business, politics and beyond.
“I’ve been to dozens and dozens of food festivals, on islands, up mountains, underwater (I made that last one up) but there is none as delightful and picturesque as Dartmouth. The harbour setting – stalls draped along the waterfront – is beautiful and unusual, and gives the festival a unique atmosphere. I also think it is the friendliest festival, with festival goers in a really good mood”
Orlando Murrin is a highly experienced food writer and editor, based in Exeter.
During a varied career in food, he has been a magazine editor, hotelier and in September published ’Two’s Company’, a book of recipes serving two, for couples, friends and flatmates.
PROF TIM SPECTOR OBE
Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London. He is also an expert in personalised medicine and the gut microbiome and started the famous UK Twin Registry in 1993. He is the lead researcher behind the world’s biggest citizen science health project – the Covid Symptom study app for which he was awarded an OBE.
He is also ranked by Google as being in the top 100 most cited scientists in the world and has published four popular books- including the best-selling Diet Myth and more recently, Spoon-Fed, a Sunday Times bestseller.
Shane Holland is Executive Chairman of Slow Food in the UK, the leading Food NGO which campaigns for Good, Clean & Fair food all.
Shane is also Ambassador for Venner, a charity which seeks to improve the diet and life chances of the poorest in society, a trustee of London’s iconic Borough Market, and a trustee at United St Saviours, a charity which runs best in class Almshouses and gives grants to the community of more than £1 Million a year. Within the third sector his work has specialised in regards to our most vulnerable citizens, their issues of food poverty & food skills, education, offending, and access to service.
He frequently sits on expert panels, guest lectures at a number of universities, is a TED speaker, and carries out dozens of speaking engagements a year – particularly about the right for good food for all. He is a well-known bonviveur and after dinner speaker, and returns to Dartmouth each year often to be found hosting tasting events