Events, Features, Food

What we learnt at the Food Summit 2019

Thomasina Miers, Raymond Blanc and Laura Jackson got everyone thinking about consciousness at this year’s Soho Farmhouse Food Summit. Here are eight facts you may have missed

1 Bonobo monkeys like to share
Guests at the “Bonobo brunch” that kicked off the summit were presented with a table full of delicious baked goods from the Luminary Bakery – and told that they were not allowed to feed themselves. “Bonobo monkeys share surplus food outside of their own groups and we should too,” explained the event host, shortly before eating a piece apple off a man’s arm.

2 Full circle is the new full English
Executive chefs Giacomo Pettinari (Soho House West Hollywood) and Alexis Rorabaugh (Soho House Chicago) beat their jet lag to cook up an incredible brunch on Day Two. Starting with a theme of consciousness, they served a series of dishes that showcased the shift towards lighter, healthier eating in their Houses. “As chefs we are responsible for nourishing people, our teams and ourselves,” says Alexis. “We focused on ingredients that help to complete a full circle meal of high protein, good fats, fibre and natural sugar to satisfy and to make guests more aware that healthy food can be fun, beautiful and attainable.”

3 Herbs aren’t just useful for flavour
Former head gardener Anna Greenland returned to the Farmhouse to host a talk on growing and using herbs. Her panel, which included Raymond Blanc OBE, explored how herbs can be uplifting, calming and nourishing in everything from pimped-up pestos to herbal honeys. 

4 Thomasina Miers has a pig idea
Thousands of tons of soy are grown on rainforest land to feed pigs in the EU, where it’s illegal to feed them food waste. But now the charity Feedback has done research (part-funded by Soho House) showing that pasteurised food waste is perfectly safe for pigs to eat. “The practice of feeding food waste to pigs and chickens has been going for 6,000 years and it’s still done in places like Japan, where pork fed on food waste is sold at a premium,” Thomasina Miers told the summit before serving a waste-conscious lunch including sopa di giuas (made with courgette shoots, flowers, leaves and plants).

5 You can now become a master of cheese
“Which is probably the best job title ever and seriously makes me question my career path,” says Lil Jackson, the Farmhouse’s events coordinator – for now at least.

6 Farmhouse cows are kept with their calves
Broadcaster and former Shoreditch House receptionist Laura Jackson chaired a panel on best practice in dairy. Frank Shellard then introduced some of Farmhouse’s White Park cows, who are allowed to feed their own calves. It means slightly less milk to turn into organic yoghurt and cheese, but much happier cows.

7 Pineapple sage exists
Not many people got a point for it in the Guess the Herb round of Melissa Hemsley and Mina Holland’s popular pub and grub quiz, but they’ll know for next year.

8 Restaurants can be waste-free
The team from Silo in Brighton showed how it’s done at a first-night dinner in the Hay Barn. “It was a highlight of the whole summit for me,” says Kimberley Payne. “Doug McMaster is such a humble chef and he served up truly spectacular food. It was a topic of conversation all night.”

Mushroom toast with whipped tahini and dill • Baked egg in sweet potatoes, peppers, spinach and garlic • Beetroot and cashew hummus, wild rice salad • Avocado and corn toast • Melon, coconut labneh, cocoa nibs and mint • Overnight chia and oat peanut butter pudding, fresh berries

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