Fourteen top British chefs have entered a competition to create the best menu of regional British food, the winners of which will cook the Queen’s birthday lunch. It is interesting to see how the latest gastronomic obsession, that of food provenance, has taken off to such an extent that the BBC believe it is worthy of an eight part series. The popularity of cookery programmes on British TV has rocketed over the last few years thanks mostly to the omnipresent Jamie Oliver. Whether you love him or hate him it can’t be denied that this chirpy chappy has done much to encourage people into the kitchen, as well as educate them about good food. Well it now seems that the Great British public and indeed the Queen are primed and ready for a crash course in local British produce.Some not so confident in the reputation of British food may snigger, especially the French! As one of the judges Matthew Fort said in yesterday’s Observer: 'In the past 10 years, there has been a massive shift in Britain in terms of appreciating good food, but there's a long way left to go when it comes to valuing the history of our cuisine, but if our food culture is to evolve, it is vital we educate ourselves about our history.'
An education is what it will be to most viewers who will watch over eight weeks as ‘two chefs from each British region go head-to-head, scouring their area for the best local produce and crafting what they believe to be the perfect four-course menu from traditional recipes. The judges will narrow the dishes down to a select few and the final menu will be voted for by the public.’
Gary Rhodes is one of the celebrity chefs taking part in the competition, and will be representing the South East of England. He said 'I have to admit that I knew shamefully little about regional produce until relatively recently, now I'm obsessed. I believe that we have the finest produce in the world in this region. We need to stop looking abroad for our food and start concentrating on what we have at home.'
TreeHugger has championed the environmental and health benefits of local produce, as well as the importance of keeping culinary traditions alive, for quite some time now. We are very excited that this subject will be given such prominence on national television. Hopefully the trend for food provenance will now make the leap from hip London restaurants to household kitchens all over the country.