Award winning cuisine is back on the menu for visitors to this year’s Natural Food Show, with today’s announcement of the full Natural Food Kitchen demonstration programme featuring a delicious mix of rising star chefs and established Michelin-rated pros cooking to a trade buying audience of thousands.
A popular show feature since its launch in 2009, this year’s exciting two-day kitchen schedule aims to reflect the sumptuous diversity at the heart of the natural and organic food industry by focusing on specific types of cookery and preparation methods – from regional to raw, vegetarian to medicinal, organic to sustainable, gluten-free to sports nutrition – that offer a myriad of health and lifestyle benefits. The introduction of theme-based demos for 2012, will ensure visitors seeking differentiation for their eatery or store will find it easier to select the sessions, which will best inspire, and most appeal, to their own customers, say organiser Diversified Communications UK.
“Healthy eating is becoming increasingly important out of the home,” says event director Simon Barry. “Whilst in the past individuals may have accepted that what they consume at home may not be available at their local cafes and restaurants, they’re becoming a lot more discerning and they do expect a lot more choice. Increasing awareness about provenance, sustainable sourcing, and the benefits of organic, combined with ethical choices and special diet requirements – mean caterers that don’t provide these as standard, as part of their daily menu, are really missing out on a potentially huge source of revenue.”
Among this year’s multi award-winning line-up are leading farmers’ market pioneer and local food champion Henrietta Green, founder of the FoodLovers Approved scheme; medicinal chef Dale Pinnock; Robert Hood, executive chef at Glasgow’s only 5-star hotel – Blythswood Square Hotel; and Tim Bouget, co-founder of ODE, located in the picturesque village of Shaldon in Devon, which recently won the SRA’s Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2012 award (beating Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage). Bouget, who has cooked for Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro among others, is looking forward to promoting ODE’s abiding motto “cooking with a conscience” at the show:
“Natural & Organic Products Europe is one of the most important shows of the year for us and it’s great to be invited to London. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the cooking of our small award winning Devon restaurant to a large ethical audience,” says head chef Bouget, whose restaurant ODE was named one of the Ecologist’s ‘Top 10 UK Eco Friendly Restaurants’ in 2011 and also garnered a Good Food Guide 2011 Editors’ Award for ‘Best Use of Local Produce’.
Life-long vegetarian Jay Pindolia is another award winning chef who sees the show as a great opportunity to share his knowledge in his session ‘Veggie Delights’. Winner of the Vegetarian Society’s coveted Cordon Vert Chef of the Future award in 2011, aged 26, Pindolia’s dynamic creations of globally influenced, well-balanced and nutritional dishes aim to “challenge perceptions of vegetarian gastronomy and make a positive impact on vegetarian cuisine.”
“Vegetarian cuisine has notoriously been stigmatised as ‘rabbit food’ – monotonous and unsatisfying,” says Pindolia, who has recently set up his own company called Cilantro where he applies his vision and principles about vegetarian cuisine. “People often say that being vegetarian isn’t always the easiest option to chose when cooking. However, my experiences of vegetarian cuisine have always been a stark contrast to this perception. By using just a few ingredients, I can create dynamic dishes, which stimulate the senses whilst enhancing the flavours, and nutritional value, of natural produce.”
Whilst the history of vegetarianism can be chartered back to ancient times, gluten-free cookery is a more 20th century phenomenon. Since the 1940s – when coeliac (or celiac) disease was first correctly diagnosed – right through to the present day, the search for tasty gluten-free alternatives and replacements remain a priority for millions of sufferers worldwide. With around 1 in 100 people in the UK said to affected by coeliac disease (source: Coeliac UK, 7 November 2011) the market for providing good quality, gluten-free foods and ingredients at restaurants and eateries across the country is potentially huge. One chef with a clear understanding of the importance of providing gluten-free options on his menu is Jason Church – winner Coeliac UK’s Gluten Free Chef of the Year 2011. Currently head chef for Morgan Stanley at Canary Wharf, working for contract catering company Restaurant Associates, Church’s session ‘Setting Food Free’ promises a healthy dose of gluten free and guilt free cooking.
Another niche market gaining increased momentum over the last few years is the raw/living foods movement, which has seen more consumers turning to pure, uncooked, unprocessed food and drink to compliment their natural lifestyle. Encompassing everything from an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption to nutritional bars made from raw or dehydrated products, advocates of raw/living foods include author and TV presenter Shazzie Love, managing director of Rawcreation (which trades online as Detox Your World).
“I am such a huge fan of the Natural & Organic Products Europe event, and feel truly supported in my quest to bring raw organic superfoods to the masses,” says Shazzie, who’ll be hosting a session entitled ‘Naked Lunch’ on the Sunday of the show. “It’s my life’s mission to switch people on to their divine selves, and what better audience can I ask for than those who will be attending Europe’s best natural products event.”
Sustainable food sourcing and production remains strong on the agenda for 2012, with the popular return of one of the most celebrated West Country chefs – Barny Haughton. Following a standing room only session at last year’s show, Haughton (founder of Bordeaux Quay in Bristol – the UK’s first eco restaurant to achieve a gold rating under the Soil Association’s sustainability catering scheme), is back with fresh inspiration on ‘Thinking Organically’.
“This show is a unique window on the world of organic, natural and healthy products. It’s a must visit for anyone in the food industry,” says Haughton, who continues to direct and teach at the Square Food Foundation cookery school, is also head chef at Helen Browning’s organic pub, the Royal Oak, in Wiltshire.
Meanwhile, Helen Browning herself, the Soil Association’s chief executive, will also be adding Natural & Organic Products Europe Keynote speaker duties to her – already impressive – résumé. Awarded an OBE for her services to organic farming in 1998, Browning (the name behind the Helen Browning’s Organic brand) is known for her a “common sense” approach to organic farming. Taking place in the show’s Keynote Theatre at 12.45pm on Monday 2 April, Browning’s candid ‘in conversation’ session, with food journalist Joanna Blythman, will also include key insights and findings from this year’s Soil Association Organic Market Report.
The full 2012 Natural Food Kitchen programme includes:
Sunday 1 April 2012
• 11.00-11.45 Henrietta Green – Local Heroes: The best UK regional food
• 12.15-13.30 Shazzie – Naked Lunch: Bringing raw food to the masses
• 13.30-14.15 Jay Pindolia – Veggie Delights: Vegetarian cooking for the future
• 15.00-15.45 Dale Pinnock – Eat Yourself Healthy: Medicinal cooking with Dale
Monday 2 April 2012
• 11.00-11.45 Barny Haughton – Thinking Organically: Making your kitchen organic
• 12.15-13.30 Tim Bouget – Sustainable Food From Field To Fork: How to do sustainable in the kitchen
• 13.30-14.15 Jason Church – Setting Food Free: Gluten free and guilt free cooking
• 15.00-15.45 Robert Hood – Get Active: Food for Sports Nutrition
Showcasing thousands of speciality food and drink brands from over 300 exhibitors, the Natural Food Show annually provides thousands of professional food buyers – from specialist retailers, multiples and contract caterers, to delis, restaurants, farm shops, cafes, and wholesalers – with the widest choice of natural, organic, biodynamic, Fairtrade, free-from and special diet products from suppliers all around the world.
The Natural Food Show at Natural & Organic Products Europe on 1-2 April 2012 is free to attend for pre-registered trade visitors and relevant press representatives only. Register now, and be kept fully up-to-date with all the latest news and exhibitor information (please quote priority code NPE12050).
Exhibitor enquiries to:
Simon Barry, Event Director
t: 44 (0)1273 645125 e: [email protected]