You will have heard of palm oil... but do you really know why? Possibly the things that come to mind are orangutans, deforestation. Perhaps you know that most of it is grown in Malaysia and Indonesia? Maybe you were aware of the frozen food specialist Iceland's very public decision to avoid using it in it’s own brand products?
In this programme Sheila Dillon delves into the complicated world of palm oil. She hears how the fat made from the fruit of the oil palm has become the world's most used vegetable oil. She speaks to environmentalists, and food producers about the environmental and social impacts the growth of the industry is having worldwide. And hears why avoiding palm oil completely might not be the simple solution that it sounds.
We're making this programme, because so many of you have written to us asking whether you should avoid palm oil, so we help to shed some light.
Presented by Sheila Dillon
Produced by Clare Salisbury
Curry house crisis... where are the women?
The British Asian restaurant sector says it's suffering the consequence of major staff shortages. Many high street takeaways and curry houses are facing closure. While restaurants search for a solution, some are questioning whether enough is being done to encourage women into traditionally male dominated kitchens. And whether if they could, this might be part of the solution.
In this programme Sheila Dillon meets pioneers of British Asian cooking. Chef Romy Gill MBE, one of the first Indian women to own and run her restaurant 'Romy's Kitchen' near Bristol. Winner of BBC One's Masterchef Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, whose multi-faceted career takes in cheffing, food writing, raising children and working as a doctor. Asma Khan, soon to be the first British restauranteur on the Emmy nominated Netflix series 'Chef's Table'. Takeaway chef Salina Ahmed, finalist in the British Takeaway awards for her cooking at 'Sizzlers' in Winchester. And Rakesh Ravindran Nair, Group Development and Training Chef at the Cinnamon Club in London.
Presented by Sheila Dillon
Produced in Bristol by Clare Salisbury
Who are the new generation shaking up the food system?
Who are the new voices pushing for change in the food system? Sheila Dillon hears from Alice Thompson of Social Bite, a charity that distributes over 100,000 hot drinks and meals to Scotland’s most vulnerable people every year from its sandwich shops and every Monday afternoon they invite people experiencing homelessness to their restaurant Vesta for a free sit-down two-course meal.
Sheila also meets Ben Adler who was the husband of TV producer Pat Llewellyn who made stars of the Two Fat Ladies and Gordon Ramsay and launched Jamie Oliver's TV career.
Pat died of metastatic breast cancer in October 2017 and we hear from Jamie Oliver about his memories of Pat and what made her so good at nurturing new talent.
To honour the impact Pat had on the food industry the Food and Farming Awards is launching a Pat Llewellyn New Talent Award. It will see Ben and his co-judge Barney Desmazery, Senior Food Editor at BBC Good Food, on the search for fresh voices in the food system who could be campaigners, innovative cooks and people taking a different approach to a food or drinks business.
To understand more about the types of people they might be looking for they met one of the strongest but lesser-known voices in the food system today. At Where The Light Gets In restaurant in Stockport they met founder Sam Buckley who is taking a new approach to every facet of running a restaurant with unflinching principles when it comes to responsibility for his staff and for the environment.
We also hear from last year's Food and Farming Awards winner Kimberley Bell and our Future Food Award judges entrepreneur William Kendall and the Oxford Cultural Collective's Don Sloan meet Safia Qureshi who is building an alternative to disposable cups with her business CupClub.
Producer: Tom Bonnett
What does a no-deal Brexit mean for our food?
With just over 60 days before we're set to leave the EU Dan Saladino gathers thoughts along the food supply chain, from farmers and retailers to exporters and so called "preppers", on the prospects of a no deal Brexit.
The likes of the British Retail Consortium, which represents the major supermarkets, and the Food and Drink Federation, which speaks on behalf of the biggest processors and producers in the UK have voiced their concerns that a "no deal" and more disruptive Brexit could mean significant delays importing food into the UK. For this reason their members have been stockpiling supplies to prevent disruption for customers.
However, as farmer Guy Watson explains, we are entering the so called hungry gap, meaning that by March 29th we'll be supplying very little of our own fruit and veg. Businesses such as his, the Riverford box scheme, will instead be depending on fresh produce brought in from Italy and Spain. He believes more than four days of disruption could wipe out his profits, and two weeks of delays could bankrupt the business.
Meanwhile other members of the farming community believe we should stay focused on the idea that food benefits will come from Brexit, whilst others are convinced trading under World Trade Organisation terms will provide us with plenty of new options for imports.
Dan travels along the supply chain to hear a range of different views on what the next few weeks might hold as farmers, food producers and retailers wait for the stalemate in Westminster to end.
The one where we talk about deep fried Mars Bars
Deep frying our food is a fast efficient way of cooking and it's not new.The ancient Greeks staged comedies involving frying pans. The Romans fried fish in copious amounts of oil. But these days deep frying often gets a bad press. British chip shops compete to create ever more outrageous deep fried dishes. Deep fried chocolate orange anyone? American state fairs hold extreme deep frying competitions involving butter and cookies. And in the west of Scotland the 'munchie box' is a fearsome thing to behold. Rachel McCormack explores different cultures' approach to deep frying asking why in Britain it's often regarded as unhealthy and lower class, whilst in Italy and Spain fritto misto has its place in a balanced healthy diet.
Producer: Maggie Ayre