Weekend on a Plate

The bank holiday weekend digested: dark kitchens under review and a bumper strawberry crop

The news, reviews and trends from May 4-6, including the state of CBD edibles and whether yellower egg yolks are more nutritious.

7 May 2019
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Food news

Dark kitchens in council black books

Three of Deliveroo’s so-called ‘dark kitchens’ are facing planning inquiries over claims they are operating unlawfully, reports The Sunday Times. Deliveroo insists that its units do not require the same planning permission as takeaway restaurants, but two councils in London as well as Brighton & Hove have called that into question following complaints from residents that allege “dangerous” behaviour by drivers and high volumes of traffic.


The picker problem

There are currently enough Eastern European pickers to handle the bumper crop of British strawberries this year, but The Guardian questions whether there will be shortages later in the season. Tax incentives in Germany are luring away workers, while the expanding economy of countries like Romania means fewer people are returning to the UK year on year. Apple harvests may suffer the most from any potential labour shortages as they are gathered in late autumn, when many workers leave the country having reached the limit they can earn before paying tax.


No yolking matter

Consumers who believe that a yellower yolk indicates a more nutritious egg may be mistaken, according to The Telegraph. The paper, reporting on a Channel 4 Super Shoppers episode that aired yesterday, notes that ingredients like paprika and maize can be added to chicken feed to give the yolks a more vibrant colour, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect on the health of the egg or the chicken that laid it – despite the fact that people will splash out for golden yolks. "Shoppers are prepared to pay more for eggs with rosy-coloured yolks as they associate it with a healthy sign of hen that laid the egg,” said Cormac O’Shea, associate professor of animal nutrition at Nottingham University. “We believe a golden yolk equals a happy hen, equals a better egg. We’ve been buying in to that one for generations.”

image credit: Getty Images

Celeb chef frustrated by slow progress of healthy food project

Scottish celebrity chef Nick Nairn has said he has “made a conscious decision to step back” from the from Scotland’s Good Food Nation initiative, which aims to encourage healthier diets and locally sourced produce. “It’s incredibly frustrating. Lots of talk, very little action. I’ve wasted a lot of time and effort trying to influence government,” he told The Mail on Sunday.


Kraft Heinz to correct almost three years of accounts

The Kraft Heinz accounting drama continues, with the food giant set to restate figures for 2016, 2017 and part of 2018 following a review that allegedly found employee misconduct contributed to “errors” in its accounts, writes The Telegraph.

Patisserie Valerie seeks second administrator

Patisserie Valerie’s creditors are readying to select a new administrator to assess the possibility of legal action against the company’s former auditors, Grant Thornton, having rejected proposals put forward by current administrator KPMG, according to The Telegraph.


Food trends

Is CBD all hype?

As CBD continues to surge in popularity as an additive in food and drink, The Guardian digs into the efficacy of the ingredient and its uses as a relaxant. While scientific studies seem to indicate it can have positive effects on health, the dosage required to achieve these effects appears to be much higher than is available in most products on the street, according to Philip McGuire, a professor of psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience at King’s College London. There are also concerns about safety: in February, New York became the first major American city to ban CBD edibles, while at the beginning of 2019 the European Union reclassified the cannabis derivative as a novel food, subjecting it to more stringent regulation.

image credit: Getty Images

Food reviews

The Spärrows, Manchester M3 1PJ

Jay Rayner praises the portion and price of this restaurant’s signature spatzle in braised onions and cheese (£6 for a “generous plateful”), tucking into a range of Tyrolean specialities. At £12.50, the rich beef goulash is the most expensive item on the menu, but even the humble sauerkraut with pumpkin seeds and carrot receives praise: “Fermenting has become such a cult that it’s easy to forget it need not produce something designed to bash your teeth out. This is soothing and delicate.”


Daaku, Cornwall TR10 8AT

Though it’s billed as Cornish-Indian fusion, Keith Miller notes that the Cornish element appears limited to a “delicately spiced sausage roll and a strong clotted-cream game in the puddings.” Predominantly, he’s confront by a range of South Asian influences, including kulambu, a “slow-cooked Tamil-style shin of beef” that “struck a fine balance between comforting coconut smoothness and zingy acidity.”

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