How our relationship with food is forged in early life.
This is a live online event. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access.
The way we think and feel about food as children can dramatically influence our lifelong relationship with it. Early exposure to different tastes and textures makes a huge difference. Consider the politics and practicalities of feeding children with award winning food writer, broadcaster and chair of TastEd Bee Wilson, chef Gita Mistry, headteacher Jason O’Rourke and nutritionist Anna S Ólafsdóttir. Chaired by Sheila Dillon.
Gita Mistry, the founder of Gita Mistry Food, started her entrepreneurial career at the tender age of 13 when she invited the public to ‘Enjoy a Gita Mistry Curry in the luxury of your home'. This was before the days of home-delivery food in Bradford. She is the first Asian competitor in the UK to win a major TV cooking competition (BBC’s Britain’s Best Home Cook). The Times’s food correspondent described Gita’s food as ‘better than sex’. As a young child, Gita used to watch her mother dry, grind, blend and store a whole array of herbs and spices in her special spice tins. Gita absorbed the passion and found her vocation. Gita educates, demonstrates, and entertains her customers on how to compose with the art of spice and judges and speaks on various panels alongside radio and TV appearances.
Jason O’Rourke is the headteacher of Washingborough Academy, Lincolnshire. During the 10 years that he has been there, the school has gained national and international recognition for the curriculum it has developed, which puts healthy living and food education at the forefront of children’s learning. One of Jason’s first transformations when he arrived at the school was to create a children’s kitchen. It sits in the heart of the school and everything is at a child’s height. It is used to teach children cookery so that by the time they leave primary school they are able to create 10 meals.
Anna S Ólafsdóttir is Professor of Nutrition Sciences at the School of Education, University of Iceland. She has a PhD in Nutrition Science from University of Iceland and a master’s degree in the same subject from University of Vienna, Austria. Her research includes dietary behaviour in relation to weight management, body composition and lifestyle. She has researched the value of school meals and family-focused treatments for obesity. She is currently working on a taste education intervention programme for families with fussy eaters, focusing on children with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. Her studies have covered everything from nutrition in pregnancy and breast milk composition to health and quality of life in the elderly.
Sheila Dillon has been a food journalist for more than three decades. She has worked on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, first as a reporter, then producer and now presenter. In her early days on the programme she produced groundbreaking editions on BSE – mad cow disease and its connections to our desire for cheap food, the rise of GM foods, the growth of the organic movement from muck and magic to multi-million pound business, and the birth of the World Trade Organization. All at a time when those subjects were not widely covered in the media and certainly not covered by 'food' programmes'. Recent programmes on childhood poverty, a look at the world in 2030 when Carolyn Steel, author of Sitopia, is Prime Minister, the glory of British pies, diet and cancer, and the inadequacies of medical training when doctors are faced every day with diet-induced diseases, carry on the tradition. In 2000 she helped set up the BBC Food & Farming Awards which judge shops, food producers, campaigners, cooks in public organisations, and policy makers – not only for the quality of their food but the difference they make to their communities, as well as local and national economies. She’s won numerous awards for her journalism, including the Glaxo science prize and honorary doctorates from Harper Adams University, University of Chester and City, University of London for her work, which, the City citation said, 'has changed the way in which we think about food'.
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