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Email Update: British Food Fortnight 2015 - A Glorious National Celebration

Email Update: British Food Fortnight 2015 - A Glorious National Celebration

The 14th British Food Fortnight, which took place 19th September to 4th October, saw schools, shops, pubs, restaurants, hospitals and entire communities across the UK celebrating the diverse and delicious food we produce in this country. Chef Raymond Blanc OBE headed the campaign and you can watch our short video to hear why he and the event’s other Ambassadors think buying British food is so important. Here is a flavour of what happened around the country:

From the top table where 70 of London’s top chefs gathered for a British Food Fortnight feast…

Chefs from the top of the culinary world - Phil Howard from The Square, Rob Weston from La Trompette, Damian Clisby from Petersham Nurseries and Josh Eggleton from the Pony & Trap - cooked a British Food Fortnight celebratory lunch for 70 of their contemporaries from leading restaurants including River Café, the Groucho Club and The Pig.

To the grass roots where communities celebrated in towns across the country…

Food and drink festivals were held from Guernsey to Ayrshire and communities came out in force to celebrate British Food Fortnight on the ground. Emsworth, the winners of the campaign’s 2014 Harvest Heroes competition set a high new benchmark with a jam-packed two weeks of activities - they even built a farmer’s field in the town square! Also in the South, South Downs Food Portal, organised a spectacular showcase bringing together 120 local food and drink producers. In the Midlands the food service organisation Centreplate held an educational day focusing on the journey of seafood from ocean to table, and in the North, Stone Food and Drink Festival hosted a new foodie family discovery trail. View event photos from British Food Fortnight Flickr photostream.

Retailers and Markets fly the flag for British food …

Members of The National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) including those at Burnham, Dunblane, Kirkcudbright and Forest Row, took part with gusto. The Farmers Market at Melton Mowbray decorated stalls with bunting, and Monkton Elm Garden Centre held meet-the-producer tastings. Londis retailer Atul Sohda said of his British pie promotion “The most endearing thing for me is the support from the locals when we mention UK Farmers and supporting local! As I write I've been interrupted by customers buying pasties and it's only 7am on a Saturday morning. Needless to say we have covered our investment in three days.” Visit Love British Food for details of how retailers can use British food to boost sales.

British Food Fortnight gives boost to school meals…

British Food Fortnight promotions have increased the uptake of school meals by 50% in previous years and this year schools and businesses catered for by Harrison Catering were treated to special British Food Fortnight menus. In the South East, chefs in 47 Cucina school restaurants challenged pupils to design a British menu and special British recipe cards were sent home for parents. The tradition of schools working closely with local restaurants also continued with pupils from the Friary School in Lichfield preparing a British themed three course meal for 70 friends at The George Hotel. Visit Love British Food tips for food service organisations.

From the elderly…

British Food Fortnight has a long tradition of working with care homes for the elderly. This year, residents at Hallmark Care Homes across England and Wales enjoyed British chip shop days, welsh cheese and wine tasting, and British pie and pastry making. Residents at the Abbeyfield Society’s Grace Muriel House in St Albans had help from nearby Marlborough Science Academy. They cleared scrubland to create a vegetable patch in which residents grew and harvested seasonal vegetables.

To the young…

Educating the young about the delights of the food produced on their doorstep, is integral to British Food Fortnight’s activities. Wicor Primary School in Portchester celebrated British Food Fortnight with a jam-packed day organised by local food group Hampshire Fare. Restaurant chefs cooked up local produce on an outdoor demonstration kitchen and children learnt from an expert forager and a beekeeper, tasted jams and honey, had a go at juicing, went on a veg walk and made funny faces from quirky vegetables. “For me this has to be one of the most engaging and exciting learning experiences I can ever remember. It was a privilege to be part of such a special day” said Mark Wildman, Headteacher.

Holmwood House School in Essex held a highly successful produce show for the first time and pupils from Fulham Boys School in London cooked a meal for 70 homeless customers. See Love British Food’s Teacher Zone for information on getting children excited about British food.

Harvest legacy lives on…

The Harvest Torch took centre stage at the Kent County Harvest Thanksgiving Service at Canterbury Cathedral on the 4th October. A stunning display of Kentish produce including honey, bread, pumpkins and even live chickens, uplifted worshipers at the event which was the first to continue the legacy of the National Harvest Service, an initiative supported by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. Over 400 Harvest celebrations have taken place across the UK during the harvest period. Find out more.

Who will be Crowned Harvest Hero 2015?

The Fortnight may be over but entries for the popular Harvest Heroes competition, in association with the Telegraph are open until midday on Friday 16th October. If you or someone you know has organised a local food initiative, why not have a go? Judges including Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss and Raymond Blanc will be looking for initiatives that bring communities together to re-establish the age-old tradition of celebrating the Harvest. Judging takes place on 3rd November. Find out about the competition.

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