Past Perfect - A brief history of British Food
The saying goes that “there is nothing new on the planet”. And 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 Godfrey, LECTURER, WESTMINSTER KINGSWAY COLLEGE
The Birds and the Bees - The truth 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 neonicitinoids 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.
Keeping it social
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 #UCFF2020 #designedbychefsforchefs
kAREN FEWELL, FOUNDER, DIGITAL BLONDE MARKETING
The 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
Brand and Deliver - 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.
THE global KITCHEN stage
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 The UCFF is definitely going global.
FILIPINO CUISINE - JEREMY VILLANUEVA, HEAD CHEF, ROMULO CAFÉ & RESTAURANT
AFRICAN CUISINE - DENNIS MWAKULUA, EXECUTIVE CHEF, LEXINGTON CATERING