UKTV Local Food Heroes

I spent an hour this afternoon watching Gary Rhodes Local Food Heroes before realising that it was a repeat of the London heat in 2006.

What struck me, other than them using my website name, were the bizarre criteria for selecting the winner. Of the three put forward to the final stage, one was a butcher selling meat from his Yorkshire farm, one a baker using flour of unspecified source milled way away from London, and the other, an organic pub whose featured dish was red mullet from Cornwall. What's local about any of that? Looking at the uktv.co.uk website shows the six Midland's businesses selected to go forward to the final stage of this year's competition. Now, I am sure they all produce superb food and are worthy of a food award; but are they local? Surely, in assessing this, the use of locally sourced raw ingredients should be the deciding factor. If it is not, they should remove the 'Local' from the title of the award.

I have no particular knowledge of any of the companies put forward as, unfortunately, none hail from Leicestershire. However, from the details given I can see that one produces flavoured olive oil, Local? Another, a shop in Leamington Spa, sells "Cornish lamb, corn-fed Loire Valley hens and free-range pork produced by Pig Farmer of the Year Jimmy Butler - Jimmy Butler is a Suffolk Farmer. It also sells, "the finest Highland cattle. Some of it even comes from Ballindaloch Castle" – Scotland: Local? You must be joking!

I'm not saying that a flavoured olive oil producer shouldn't be in the competition, given the use of locally produced flavourings, but that they can make the finals in preference to a truly local product seems wrong. Certainly, in the second example, there is no excuse for a Warwickshire based shop to be selling products from so far away when we all know that excellent quality meat and poultry is available locally.

Where are people like Paul's Bakery at Melton Mowbray who bake sourdough bread made from local flour milled at Whissendine Windmill, or the farmers and farm-shops, like Manor Organic Farm or Brocklebys, selling the farm's own and other local products?

This Local Food Heroes thinks its name-sake had better get its act together!

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