OK – So I’ve been watching Questiontime…. I know!… It doesn’t suit me. I should keep my head out of politics and focus on what’s in the fridge. It’s got me thinking about what’s happened to the country of late. Over the last year, many of us have questioned whether there are a lot of great things left in Britain. I’m not one to shout and scream about politics but over the past few months we’ve seen our society turned on it’s head, values questioned and divisions appear across the country. I’m not judging how people voted in the UK referendum – I just know that it’s caused a lot of uncertainty. Like others, I’ve questioned our relationship with the EU and indeed the world and I can’t predict the future, and in times of uncertainty it’s good food that makes me happy!
I’ve got friends who live all over Europe and all over the world and the one thing that they all tell me they miss about the UK is the seasons. We all moan when it’s cold and the trees are bare, and some of us moan when it’s hot – The truth is that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’! But the REAL truth of the matter is that we are blessed with the most wonderful seasons resulting in great British produce. The food that we produce is amazing because of our climate, the seasons, fantastic farming and the love of good produce. So, in a time of uncertainty and huge differences between us, one thing we can be sure of is that we’re doing something right.
In the summer I got the chance to film in some amazing farms in the north of England. Meeting farmers and hearing how their passion is literally growing in the fields & greenhouses and grazing on the land for us all to appreciate, was amazing. Knowing that people are ethically producing great things for us to eat, filled me with happiness.
I was recently asked to judge the first annual Great British Cheese Awards – Another area where we should be proud Brits. I was on a small panel of food professionals including the lovely Galton Blackiston and the legendary Brian Turner (those guys follow me everywhere!) as well as the fabulous Adam Woodyatt (who makes me look like I’m not even interested in food.) There’s a food series in that man, mark my words….
All the judges were as passionate as me about Great British Cheese and it was an honour to be involved. I have judged for the World Cheese Awards on a number of occasions which is always a joy, but it was a great opportunity to take stock of just how good British cheese is. We have a talented bunch of cheesemakers out there and we should be very proud. So get out there and buy some for your cheeseboard this weekend… And here’s to remembering what Great Britain does well: Food!
If you’d like to have a look at the finalists and find out more about the awards, click here: