We are, they tell us, in the throes of the Great British Food Revolution… ‘Look around you!’ they cry, eyes gleaming with near religious fervour, gesturing towards the farmers’ markets and food shows, the eel smokers, cheese makers and ham bakers. ‘Britain has never eaten so well, nor tasted so good!’ but before we all rush outside to hang out the bunting and cry god for harry, England and St Austell beer, stop a moment. And gaze upon the cold, hard reality. Because the food revolution has yet to happen.
It is still little more than a middle class conceit. We might gaze lovingly at Jamie, Nigella and Hugh on the box, and buy their books by the million, but we’re a nation of voyeurs, watching rather than actually doing. Meanwhile the steep rises in Type 2 Diabetes and obesity are just two symptoms of a nation in poor nutritional health. They cannot be ignored. Good food is seen as ‘lifestyle choice’, like DIY and Flower Arranging. The real national diet is still dominated by processed convenience foods and lurid, chemical stuffed snacks. We know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.
WE HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT REAL FLAVOUR IS. But there are green shoots of hope. Our native food culture, once long forgotten, is back, albeit in nascent form. And we’re beginning to question where our food comes from. While the incessantly damp climate might make for grim holidays, it does wonders for our grassy pastures, the basis of our fine livestock and dairy industries.
ARTISAN PRODUCERS ARE ON THE UP TOO, PEOPLE WHO PUT FLAVOUR BEFORE PROFIT. This, though, is just the beginning of a long road ahead. It’s time to cut through the marketing guff. Local, seasonal and organic food are all hugely important but they do not automatically guarantee quality. And while its nice to know how long your steak has been hung, do we really need a 100-word biography on the happy cow in question?
Tom Parker Bowles
IT’S TIME TO TRUST OUR PALATES, RATHER THAN FALL FOR YET ANOTHER HYPED UP FAD. The search for real flavour is unceasing and eternal, as fervently pursued in scruffy allotment as in gleaming laboratory. Base survival aside, flavour is what gives eating its pure, visceral enjoyment. It is what turns lunch from being a mere biological necessity into something altogether more exciting. We want to define what real flavour is, to get to the heart of what makes things taste as they should. We are embarking on a mission to bring about A REAL FOOD REVOLUTION – with flavour as the pivotal element. Real flavour takes dedication, experience, knowledge and hard work, but by pooling our knowledge, experience and passion for all things edible, we can support small producers and start-ups and help established farmers through rocky times. This isn’t about elitism, or food snobbery – it’s about providing practical, pragmatic advice for professionals and nurturing flavour from start to success.
AS WE’RE INDEPENDENT, THERE’LL BE NO EMPTY PROMISES, no Governmental Quango guff, glib slogans or bureaucratic hot air. And no dreary finger wagging either. We’re here to champion and support Great British flavour, farmers and producers alike, inspire and stimulate debate, celebrate farming methods and techniques, and in doing so help the next generation to not only survive but thrive. The food Revolution is not yet upon us. But by working together, we hope that one day it becomes a truly tangible reality.