Press Cuttings: February 2020

3 March, 2020

Recent snippets of significance from the Press

The Great Street Food Swindle
Writing in The Guardian, Dan Hancox offers up his opinion on the current rise of street food markets and trendy food courts – which are becoming commonplace in cities throughout the UK. Rather than viewing them as authentic and egalitarian purveyors of global cuisine he sees them as more of a cynical marketing ploy designed to appeal to only a small section of society. Hancox does however concede that with rent levels constantly on the rise they do offer good opportunities to would-be restaurateurs who are from less moneyed backgrounds.

UK v USA: Critical Differences
An entertaining article in The Guardian by Jay Rayner, in which he takes a light-hearted look at the difference between US and UK restaurant critics (including himself) and their subsequent published reviews. He notes that, sweeping generalisation aside, US critics tend to undertake more thorough research (often visiting a restaurant multiple times before publishing a review) and write serious pieces as if they’re paying homage to Hemmingway, while UK critics are brasher, more humorous and more willing to give negative opinions. Each method has its merits and it’s no surprise such differences exist given cultural differences between both countries, but as Rayner points out ‘US critics go three to five times. Generally, we go once. As I often say, how many times do you need a lousy meal to know a restaurant is lousy?’

Food to Sooth the Soul
The idea that food can be medicine is nothing new, and in this short article in The Telegraph Diana Henry explores this idea further, taking the view that while food may indeed medicate it’s also great for a general feel-good lift. Given that food is the backbone of all global cultures, and as such we all have a relationship with what we eat, Henry believes that eating certain foods, in particular those that mean something to you on an individual level – be it simply your favourite dish or maybe the food of your childhood – is the best way to help nourish both the body and mind alike.

The New Lunch
According to this article in The FT, the office canteen is making a comeback, albeit it re-imagined to meet the needs of modern day employees and their working styles. From healthy and sustainable food to global eats and chef demonstrations employers are increasingly offering a range of lunch options, often in relaxing, architecturally designed spaces with which to boost staff satisfaction and one to one interaction and drive productivity.

Taking Noma to the World
In the 16 years since it opened, Denmark’s Noma restaurant has won accolade after accolade and has become renowned as one of the most unique and forward thinking restaurants in the world. Headed up by chef and culinary hero Rene Redzepi the influence of his particular take on new Nordic cuisine and its underlying culinary ethos is now being felt on a global scale reports Kieran Morris in this in-depth piece in The Guardian. From Claus Meyer’s (Noma’s co-founder) Danish food academy to current Noma chef Fejsal Demiraj running a foundation that researches and catalogues traditional Albanian recipes, the impact of Noma and its alumni just keeps growing – driving positive change and bringing progressive culinary thinking to all corners of the world.

Taking the Pressure out of the Kitchen
According to Fuchsia Dunlop, writing in The FT, one of her essential kitchen gadgets is the pressure cooker – a simple but highly useful device that I similarly couldn’t do without in my home kitchen. Even though some people may still think of this as a relic that their grandparents might have cooked with, that fact that it can do everything from ‘slow cooking’ meats in 30 minutes, to cooking dried pulses without needing to pre-soak them and to making chicken stocks with real depth of flavour in the time it takes to put dinner together – makes this an indispensable and great time-saving piece of kit.

Who’s Going to Work Here Now?
Now that the UK has officially left the EU, there’s been plenty of talk about how the new immigration rules are likely to affect the country’s hospitality industry – which relies heavily on staff from the EU and further afield. One thing that we can be sure of, points out this article in The Telegraph, is that with the Government’s new points-based entry system that aims to reduce EU immigration the number of foreign workers available to work here is going to drop. Although theoretically the aim is to increase the number of jobs available to UK residents, with EU nationals currently doing many so-called menial jobs that UK workers don’t want to do, it’s hard to see how the industry won’t suffer as a result.

From the Test Tube to the Table
The FT has an article that looks at the American startup Artemys Food, which is on a mission to develop palatable lab grown meat. Although the past few years have seen the launch of many plant-based meat-alternatives, company founder Joshua March believes that the only way to get the majority of people to give up eating traditional, unsustainable meat is to offer real meat as a replacement – just that this meat will come from a test tube, without any ethical and environmental issues. The company has already proved that meat can be grown this way, now the challenge it has is getting people to change their perceptions of where meat actually comes from and accept eating a lab-grown product.