Friday 14 October 2011

Great British Food Revival Series 2 on BBC2 at the end of the month

This is a great foodie programme so I thought you might like a sneaky peek of what's coming up to titillate your tastebuds. Have a close look at the programme dates though as it's a bit of a complicated programming schedule !


Weds 26th October at 8pm-9pm - Michel Roux Jr (pears) & Clarissa Dickson Wright (British garlic)

Thur 27th Oct at 8pm-9pm – Gregg Wallace (rhubarb) & Ainsley Harriott (peas) 
Weds 2nd & Thur 3rd Nov at 8.00pm-9.00pm

Weds 9th & Thur 10th Nov at 7.00pm-8.00pm

Mon 14th & Tues 15th Nov at 7.00pm-8.00pm

16th/17th/18th at 7.00pm-8.00pm (repeats of last series)

Following the success of the first series, BBC’s campaigning food series the Great British Food Revival returns to BBC TWO from Wednesday 26th October at 8.00pm with eight brand new episodes. The series, which really touched a nerve with the British public, aims to highlight the plight of British produce that is in danger of disappearing from our dinner tables forever. Some of BBC’s best loved chefs and cooks will champion the qualities of our traditional produce and encourage us to re think our cooking and shopping habits. Each chef is passionate about reviving British ingredients and they embark on a journey to investigate and re-invigorate our great heritage foods.

Michel Roux Jr who previously campaigned for the return of real bread said: "Making this series opened my eyes to just how important it is that some of Britain’s best produce isn’t forgotten. We need to put it back on our shopping lists and back on our plates." Valentine Warner who will be championing the delights of British shellfish in the new series echoes this view and said: "As a nation we’ve become increasingly boring with our food choices. Britain has a wonderful array of produce and it would such a shame if some of these were to disappear from our tables."

In addition to highlighting the problems facing many of our traditional British produce the chefs also cook three mouth-watering dishes that feature the ingredient they are championing.


PEAR – MICHEL ROUX JR (TX1: BBC TWO, Weds 26th October at 8pm-9pm)

Michelin starred chef, and host of Masterchef –The Professionals and Service, Michel Roux Junior gets passionate about British pears. The Victorians had over 600 varieties to choose from. These days we’re presented with only a handful, and most of us are probably only familiar with the conference pear, which accounts for 90% of UK pear production. What particularly concerns Michel is that 8 out of 10 of the pears we buy in Britain are imported. The bottom line is that homegrown fruit has been usurped by cheaper, perfectly shaped imports. Michel meets growers and pear enthusiasts to try and understand the problems they face in satisfying supermarket demands, and what they’re doing to raise their game. As he gets to grips with the issues, Michel has his own solutions in the Revival kitchen where he conjures up some tantalisingly tasty dishes, designed to enthuse the home cook to make more use of pears in sweet and savoury dishes. His daring and delicious beef cheeks with pear and bitter chocolate sauce turns convention upside down, while his omelette soufflĂ© with pear and salted butter caramel sauce, gives us a fabulous fruity treat that radiates yumminess from the plate.


Clarissa Dickson Wright is determined to explode the myth that garlic is “foreign”, and wants to spread the message that garlic is as British as ham and eggs. She has even scoured her medieval recipe books to demonstrate how long garlic has been grown in the UK, to prove her point. But although we can and do grow garlic commercially, it’s in relatively tiny quantities. Clarissa meets one of only a handful of our garlic farmers to learn more about the challenges facing the plucky British garlic producer, and how hard it is to compete with cheap imports from places as far away as China. In the process, she discovers that we have some really impressive home grown varieties including the supersized elephant garlic which lends a gentle smooth garlicky hint to the foods it’s used to flavour. Clarissa heads to the Revival kitchen to cook 3 dishes with her British garlic, and reveals a startling and delicious dessert, made with nectarines and garlic fudge. It’s an eye-opening way to use garlic and is guaranteed to inspire us to see garlic in a new and different light.
RHUBARB – GREGG WALLACE (TX2: BBC TWO, Thur 27th Oct at 8pm-9pm)

Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace heads to the Rhubarb Triangle in Yorkshire to dig deeper into our illustrious rhubarb heritage and find out why production has shrunk to a fraction of what it once was in its Victorian heyday. Gregg has always loved his rhubarb, but is shocked to find that while there used to be 200 forced rhubarb growers in Yorkshire, since the Second World War, that number has plummeted to just 11. Our great British rhubarb is no stranger to controversy – shunned by many, with a reputation for tasting sharp and being stringy. Yet, our forced rhubarb became the envy of the world, with others copying it and even trying to pass theirs off as Yorkshire rhubarb. Gregg meets a grower who helped to put our rhubarb back in the headlines - but for all the right reasons. Spurred on by what he’s learnt, Gregg goes beyond his favourite rhubarb crumble in the Revival kitchen, to produce 3 easy to prepare, delectable dishes, in celebration of the wonderful flavour of rhubarb. And he shouts his mantra loud and clear: “ Bring on the rhubarb renaissance!”

PEAS – AINSLEY HARRIOTT (TX2: BBC TWO Thur 27th Oct at 8pm-9pm)

The common or garden pea inspires Ainsley Harriott to go on a mission to persuade us to pick fresh peas when they’re in season. Over 90% of our pea harvest is frozen, and Ainsley’s certain that there is a generation of children out there who’ve never sat and podded fresh peas in the kitchen with Grandma, in the way he used to in the old days. Ainsley meets the custodian of our extraordinary pea heritage, with a seed library bursting at the seams with 3,500 pea varieties. And he uncovers the fascinating role that peas have played in the study of genetics. He also visits Highgrove where HRH Prince of Wales is leading the revival by growing heritage pea varieties in his kitchen garden, to be eaten fresh at his table. Meanwhile, in the Revival kitchen, Ainsley draws in his Caribbean roots to create a dazzling jerk pork belly and fresh pea and potato mash up as just one of the exciting ways he shows us to cook with fresh peas.


Raymond Blanc is only too aware that in Britain, we have lost 65% of our plum orchards in the last 25 years. He is so passionate about locally grown produce, especially fruit, that he’s in the process of planting his own orchard. Included will be some varieties of one of his favourite fruits, the plum. So Raymond is already doing his bit to save the British plum, now he wants to spread the message that we should and must save our British plums. Raymond goes in search of intrepid plum growers in the Vale of Evesham, holding on to, and harvesting their orchards in the face of mounting disinterest in what they’re producing. And he discovers die-hard lovers of plums who are determined to revive the fortunes of this classic British fruit in new and exciting ways. In the Revival kitchen, Raymond strives to create dishes that demonstrate the breadth of uses for plums: he shows us how to stuff pork with dried plums, he makes own version of a British classic – plum chutney – and with memories of Maman Blanc’s plum desserts from his childhood in mind, he makes a delicious plum dessert with a typical French twist.


Valentine Warner remembers eating shellfish from a polystyrene cup with a cocktail stick when he was a boy on holiday at the seaside. It harks back to an era when our shellfish played a more welcome part in our diet. But Valentine is incensed to learn that these days, a mind-boggling 98% of our fresh mussels are exported, much of them to be re-imported in a different guise and no longer “British”. And our cockle production has shrunk beyond recognition. Valentine is determined to put right these wrongs, by convincing us there is nothing to fear from eating our shellfish, and that it’s a fantastically healthy option in our diet. He meets shellfish producers working on a huge scale…. for the export market. And at the other end of the spectrum, he talks to a professional cockle picker in south Wales, who is hanging on to an industry and a way of life that are dwindling in front of his eyes. In the Revival kitchen, Valentine prepares a tasty starter of stuffed mussels to show us just how easy they are to cook with. And he rustles up a traditional Welsh surf and turf dish that challenges our preconceptions of how to cook with our homegrown, delicious shellfish.


Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett admits that she’s been guilty of only eating turkey at Christmas. Her campaign is about reviving the turkey at other times of the year when this affordable alternative to chicken is largely ignored. She discovers just how nutritious it is – low in fat, and high in protein - so much so that many of our 2012 Olympians are eating it regularly as part of their super-healthy diets.

Angela’s concerned that people’s perception of turkey is of that over-cooked, over-dry meat that we have to eat for days on end following the big festive meal. It puts us off for the whole of the following year until Christmas comes around once again. She feels the way forward might be for people to embrace the slower reared heritage varieties of turkey that produce succulent, tasty meat. So she goes in search of producers who give their birds more time to mature in an outdoor environment. Their enthusiasm for their birds is infectious and Angela uses their meat to cook 3 turkey dishes in the Revival kitchen to make us think again about turkey as our meat of choice all year round, instead of just at Christmas.


Award winning chef Jason Atherton is passionate about only using fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables in his restaurant kitchen. And cabbage has always been a staple on his menu. But this is a vegetable with an image problem, shunned by the younger generation. In fact only 24% of cabbage buyers are under the age of 45. Jason thinks that’s crazy, so on his revival campaign he seeks the advice of a young cook and food blogger to find out how to get more of the younger generation eating cabbage. But Jason realises one of the best ways to turn people on to cabbage is for him to lead by example in the kitchen. He uses the various cabbage varieties we produce in Britain in truly inspirational ways. Drawing on his experiences of cooking in Spain, he makes a cabbage escabeche to accompany quail, and he creates a cabbage pesto, a braised cabbage, and a spicy red cabbage that would successfully accompany many a hearty meat dish.


Masterchef’s John Torode is a self-confessed carnivore, and British beef is his passion. His quest is for heritage beef breeds, 5 of which are on the critically endangered list. And that is no exaggeration. We have lost 26 species over the course of the last century, so these 5 species really are on the brink of extinction. John heads to Scotland to meet a beef farmer dedicated to reviving the fortunes of the original, traditional Aberdeen Angus. And he discovers another rare breed farmer who gives hope that it IS possible to bring a breed back from the brink. Meanwhile John does his utmost to persuade us that the meat from a rare breed animal is absolutely worth the extra cost in terms of flavour and succulence. His dishes in the Revival kitchen are a sight to behold with his stupendous slow roast 4 rib inspiring us to choose rare breed beef next time we are cooking a large celebration meal.


Matt Tebbutt takes time out from his busy South Wales restaurant to champion the cause of British currants in all their magnificent colours. It soon becomes clear that while we grow plenty of blackcurrants, 95% of them go straight into the production of a certain blackcurrant cordial. Meanwhile our redcurrants largely go into making jelly, and there is only one producer left of white currants… and that may not be for much longer. So it’s a huge challenge to turn around our attitudes to these snappy little fruity gems. Matt discovers that it’s almost impossible to buy fresh British currants – simply because there is hardly any demand. But he’s heartened to meet a scientist who’s working on the perfect blackcurrant, and a Scottish grower who hopes to overturn our new passion for the imported blueberry, in favour of our own British blackcurrant as our super-fruit of choice. Matt enthuses about the wonderful flavour and delicious qualities these various berries add to the dishes he prepares in the Revival kitchen, including a luscious whitecurrant and whisky semifreddo.


The much loved and respected Italian food writer Antonio Carluccio is on a mission to revive the fortunes of the British beetroot. He doesn’t share the memories of over-cooked, vinegary, pickled beetroot we detested in our school dinners, and can’t understand why we don’t make more of this wonderful veg in our cooking. He wants to breathe new life into the great British beetroot. Antonio discovers the shocking truth that we’ve lost half of our beetroot fields in the last 30 years, almost certainly due to those revolting school dinners turning us away from an awesome, traditional British root vegetable. There’s a very real chance that in the next few years, commercial beetroot production could die out altogether, consigned to the diehard fans who will still be growing it on their allotments. Antonio is determined to reverse this gloomy picture. He opens our eyes to some fascinating varieties, and finds ways to cook beetroot we may never have thought of, in the hope that we will realise what a wonderful vegetable beetroot can be, if cooked properly and imaginatively. His message, borne out by his recipes, is certainly persuasive.


The doyenne of British baking, Mary Berry has a genuine passion for fresh herbs and wants the world to know how easy they are to grow, use and store. She wants us to banish forever our jars of dried herbs from our kitchens, and embrace the unique flavours of fresh herbs. It’s a drastic approach, but Mary believes the overwhelming benefits of fresh herbs to our cooking cannot be under-estimated. She challenges a commercial herb grower about why more herbs are not available fresh in our supermarkets. And she meets a passionate producer who has the largest collection of organic herbs in the UK, with over 650 varieties. Mary takes on the mantra “think seasonal” to show us all the way forward. In the course of Mary’s campaign, we learn how easy it is to grow herbs, even how to find them in the wild, and how to jazz up our dishes in the kitchen. Mary introduces us to 3 of her favourite herbs that aren’t commercially available at the moment, to start to break down the barrier between us and the wealth of flavours out there, if only we would give fresh herbs a go.


Popular TV chef James Martin is well known for his prowess in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking. In his revival campaign, he wants to open our eyes to cooking with different sorts of eggs, rather than always choosing the tried and trusted hen option. It’s not that long ago that our diet was full of different kinds of eggs, but somehow we’ve lost the habit of keeping this rich variety in our diet.

James takes us to meet a duck egg producer who’s addressing the safety issues that people may have, by introducing a recognisable standard mark so people know his eggs are safe. And James meets a quail egg producer, who started off rearing quails as a hobby and has ended up making a business out of them, which suggests that demand may rise if the word gets out that these fabulous little eggs are worth a go.

James shows us that the potential is there for us to experiment with eggs we may never have tried before, and he hopes he can show us why. He creates a magnificent sponge cake using duck eggs in the Revival kitchen, which will have viewers drooling. And he rustles up a couple of other savoury egg dishes that make us realise that different eggs really have a lot of potential in the kitchen.


Co-owner of 5 London restaurants, and a food writer, Israeli born Yotam Ottolenghi has always used nuts in his recipes. He comes from a culture where walnuts are freely used in cooking, and even just to nibble fresh as a canapé. What he learns on his journey of discovery about British nuts is that we have a long history of growing nuts, yet most of us are hardly aware of their existence. We have never produced walnuts commercially, yet we do pickle them, using imported nuts. There was time a time when every big house had a walnut tree in its garden, and many a hedgerow too. Mrs Beeton was happy to give advice to her Victorian readers about how they should pickle their walnuts. That tradition has largely been forgotten. Yotam also learns about our cobnut industry - we do grow our version of the hazelnut commercially, but far too many of us are unaware of them, unless we live in Kent where they are grown. Some forward thinking producers are determined to change our attitudes, and are working hard to give us a wealth of heritage varieties of the Kentish cobnut to choose from. In the Revival kitchen, Yotam introduces us to some beautiful, tasty dishes using British walnuts and cobnuts, which are sure to inspire viewers to include more nuts in their cooking in the future, and maybe to even plant a walnut tree.


Irish-born chef Richard Corrigan is a firm believer in the philosophy of “farm to fork”. For him a love of mackerel is in the blood – not for him a fear or ignorance about fish. So, he’s shocked to discover that we export 90% of our mackerel catch… his mission is to find out why, and to do what he can to change it.

Mackerel is a superfood like no other - packed with Omega-3 oil. We have plenty of it on our doorstep, yet we ignore it. Richard is passionate about fresh fish and is determined to persuade us to choose our own mackerel over imported tuna when we can. And one of his first converts on his revival campaign, is a mackerel fisherman who, bizarrely, has never tasted freshly cooked mackerel – it’s a challenge Richard simply cannot resist. In the Revival kitchen, Richard enthuses about the dishes he creates, which look truly mouth-watering. And inspired by his visit to a Scottish smokery, he even shows us a simple way to smoke mackerel at home, if we fancy creating a mackerel dish with a little more pizzazz.


With 5 Michelin stars to his name, it’s no wonder that Gary Rhodes is fanatical about the quality of the produce he uses, in his relentless pursuit of perfection in the kitchen. Born and bred in the Garden of England, Gary remembers scrumping cherries as a lad with his mates from school. It left him with a life-long love of British cherries. So he’s horrified to discover that, since 1950, we have lost a staggering 90% of our cherry orchards. Furthermore, only 5% of the cherries we eat in the UK were grown here. His campaign takes him to meet growers who are trying to buck the trend and fight back, not only with new strains of sweeter, larger cherries, but with old fashioned heritage varieties that they’re fighting to preserve from extinction. Gary’s powers of persuasion to make us fall back in love with the British cherry come to the fore in the Revival kitchen, where he prepares some exceptional dishes, including his signature dessert - a delectable cherry clafoutis.

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  1. I really enjoyed the first series of this show although I came across it quite by accident. I will definitely be watching the second series, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  2. I missed the first series. I have been watching this one, and can't wait for the cookery book to follow!

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