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the line up - main stage 2021

*sessions are subject to change as the programme develops for our evolving festival.

A brief history of British Food

The saying goes that “there is nothing new on the planet” this is probably never truer than when applied to food. As chefs we do have a habit of re-discovering techniques and historical ingredients and re-inventing them with a contemporary angle.
Just think about the current trend for pickling, fermenting and preserving. methods that have been practiced for centuries but have recently discovered a new lease of life on our menus.
This session will explore some historical recipes, ingredients, methods and dishes from Britain and in particular the region where we will be based for this year’s ucff Warwickshire.
A session not to be missed if you want to make some discoveries from our foodie past.

- Miranda Quantrill, Westminster Kingsway College

- Mark Griffin (Griff), Managing Director, Griffin Historical Ltd

- Steve Ruthen, Greene King

past perfect

The trust about pesticides

Ever since we started ucff we have always celebrated the outstanding work of our farmers and growers who provide produce for our kitchens year round in often challenging circumstances.


This session will focus on one of the more recent challenges faced by growers, namely the continued reduction of pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers available to them due to the perceived impact they have on environment and wildlife such as the recent (highly publicised) ban of noenicitinoids as a result of the effect they are believed to have on our native bee population. Whilst the average consumer applauds the banning of many pesticides used in the production of their food they’re often horrified to find a caterpillar in their cauli!

Are all chemicals bad or should we think of them merely as ‘plant medicine’?


This session will aim to take a balanced view for chefs about the true implications on the use of chemicals in food production.


- Nick Saltmarsh, Managing Director, Hodmedod


- Mark Hayward, Founder, Dingley Dell Cured

- Jon Hammond, Owner, Hammond Produce


Over the last 5 years probably nothing has impacted on how (and where) we eat as much as social media. Love it or hate it many chefs seem to have become addicted to Instagram and Twitter many attracting legions of followers in the 10’s of thousands that would historically be limited to boy bands and ‘celebrities’.

Some restaurants are now even offering phone stands with the dishes served to ensure the diner takes the best possible picture of the food before posting, rather than risk a shaky, out of focus image of a chef’s signature dish! Trip Advisor seems to be another divisive element in the mix. Get a 5 star review and it’s the best thing since hand sliced artisan sourdough, get a slating for shoddy service and mediocre menus and it’s ‘just some miserable sod’s personal opinion’!

This session will explore the good and the bad of social media, the do’s and don’ts of posting and tips for creating the perfect ‘Instagrammable’ dishes #Getinvolved #ucff2021 #designedbychefsforchefs

- Karen Fewell, Founder, Digital Blonde Marketing

- Paul Foster, Chef Director, Salt

- Majella O'Connell, Owner, Pavlova and Cream

- Robbie Lorraine, Executive Chef, Only Food and Courses

- Jacqui Brown, Creative Director, Naked Foodies

keeping it social

Mental health has long been an issue in our industry, and very often one brushed under the carpet. Although over the years this has improved and we are becoming a lot more 'open' and better at discussing mental health, it's probably fair to say we still, as an industry, have a way to go. Never has the topic of mental health been more relevant than over the last 12 months with Covid, lockdowns, restaurant closures, redundancies and forced isolation.


In this session we will aim to focus on issues such as how to identify mental illness  (both in colleagues and ourselves), how to support, where to find help and coping mechanisms. It’s okay not to be okay.

- Dave Sayers, Chef and advocate for mental health 

- Tony Lewis, Ambassador, The Burnt Chef Project

- Kris Hall, Founder, The Burnt Chef Project

- Adam Mason, Director General, ceda

- Alex Hall, Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions

silence SUCKS...LET'S TALK

local heroes

ucff just wouldn’t be the same without celebrating the host areas food heroes.


This year is no exception and we will be featuring local producers, chefs and people making a difference in our industry from in and around Warwickshire. Always a firm favourite in the festival line-up stay tuned to see which gems we manage to uncover. 

- George Beach, Managing Director, Mudwalls Farm Ltd

- Paul Foster, Chef Director, Salt

- Nik Spencer, Chief Executive Officer, HERU - Manik Ventures Ltd

- Sue Stinchcombe, Chef, Just Rachel's

Death of the high street?

It has been a very tough few years in the hospitality and catering industry and none more so than in the casual dining sector, with CVA’s, multiple site closures, uncertainty around Brexit and declining customer numbers.
However some ‘brands’ have bucked the trend and continue to flourish while the rise of street food markets, low overhead pop-ups, home delivery and the invention of ‘dark kitchens’ and ‘virtual brands’ seems to demonstrate that the eating habits of the nation are definitely changing.
So what do we do as chefs to encourage eating out again? Is the menu enough or is it more about the overall experience?
This session will explore how food developers and executive chefs are keeping the menu fresh and staying ahead of the trends and delighting customers and if ‘delivered’ is the future.     

- Surendra Yejju, Head of Food, Wagamama

- Simon Stenning, Strategic Advisor for Foodservice, The Future of Foodservice

- Cyrus Todiwala OBE, DL, Owner, Café Spice Namasté & Chef

brand & deliver

This year to complement the main stage we will be hosting the Global Kitchen Stage where we will be celebrating food, ingredients and culture from around the globe with some of the finest chef exponents of their chosen cuisine.


They’ll be rattling the pans (and no doubt woks, tagines and molcajetes) to bring you the kitchen secrets and techniques from all corners of the world.


This year ucff is definitely going global.


- modern British Game Ben Heath, Managing Director, Deer Box Ltd


- modern British Game Jon Coates, chef, the woodmans restaurant



global kitchen stage

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