Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: The rise of pinsa pizza and the launch of Real Bread Week

All the news, reviews and trends from 22-23 February, including Upper Crust owner facing investor revolt and claims a plant-based diet is damaging our health

24 February 2020

Food news

Upper Crust owner faces investor revolt

Upper Crust owner SSP Group is facing investor revolt for a third consecutive time with tensions over pay set to dominate its AGM. The food travel giant is seeking to reduce its bonus targets but increase the pay of chief financial officer Jonathan Davies.


National Trust ends partnership with Cadbury

The National Trust will cease its annual Easter egg hunt from next year following an end to its partnership with Cadbury, with the trust saying it wants to focus more on “nature”. A National Trust spokesperson told The Independent: "Now is the time for change as we look to increase our emphasis on nature and the outdoors. To reflect that in our Easter activities, from next year we will be making chocolate less of a focus.”


Giraffe co-founder Russel Joffe dies

Giraffe co-founder Russel Joffe has died aged 62 having built the food chain with his wife and Andrew Jacobs. In an article in The Times this weekend, Joffe was praised for his skills as a boss, entrepreneur and spotter of talent. Luke Johnson writes: “A good boss breeds good culture. I have been fortunate enough to witness such entrepreneurs in action a few times in my career. Russel Joffe, who sadly died this month at the age of 62, was one of the very best.”


Food trends

Is a plant-based diet bad for your health?

With Brits spending £474m on meat-free alternatives last year, according to Kantar Worldpanel, some scientists have raised concerns that popular fake meats and vegan fast foods may be less healthy than their meaty alternatives. There are also fears that vegan diets may be causing deficiencies in crucial nutrients that could lead to serious health problems.


Real Bread Week begins

Real Bread Week, an initiative launched by the Real Bread Campaign, launched this weekend, and according to the Campaign’s coordinator Chris Young, “real” bread has a strict definition. “Additional flavours like seeds, nuts, fruits and chocolate are all fine but, as soon as you begin to see other ­ingredients listed on the back of your loaf, it’s no longer real bread,” he tells The Telegraph.


Puerto Vallarta – a new foodie hotspot?

Puerto Vallarta might be most famous for its association with Richard Burton’s 1960s film The Night of Iguana, but the Mexican resort town is carving out a position as a foodie hotspot too. Dave MacLean recommends eating your way around a botanical garden, go market shopping followed by rooftop cooking and combining two of Mexico’s most famous treats: tacos and tequila.


Pinsa pizza on the march

The pinsa pizza is beginning to gain traction in the US, with the paying public enjoying the fluffier crust of the little-known pizza. The technique of making the pizza (Lou Tomczak says the “distinguishing factor” is the blend of flours, which often contain “soy or rice flour in addition to wheat”) has been around for hundreds of years but is proving popular with millennials.


Stroganina – a Siberian snack enjoyed raw and frozen

Anton Troianovski looks at Siberian snack stroganina in The Independent this weekend, a snack unusual for being raw, frozen fish or meat. Stroganina, which is a dish of the indigenous people of northern Arctic Siberia, shaved thin with a sharp knife so that it curls off the blade.


Loving the vilified cauliflower

The Sportsman chef and owner Stephen Harris puts the humble cauliflower under the microscope this week, charting how eventually warmed to this often unloved vegetable. “As a chef, I have learned to love many things I once disliked. But with cauliflower – I never saw it coming,” he says.

image credit: Getty Images


Food reviews

Cafe Murano Covent Garden, 36 Tavistock St, Covent Garden, London

“The pasta was expertly cooked, the sauce simple and hard to fault” is how Ed Cummings from The Independent describes Angela Hartnett’s Café Murano as the writer searches for an affordable London lunch beyond Pret A Manger. “Most of us don’t really like choice at lunchtime, but that doesn’t mean we can’t graduate to better habits,” he adds.


Dulwich Lyceum, 7 Croxted Road, London, SE21 8SZ

“Our minds were expanded by the experience,” writes Keith Miller in describing Dulwich Lyceum, a Mediterranean restaurant and sibling to the more established Peckham Bazaar. The cooking is described as “modern and distinctive”, with various sharing plates tried including a chunky salad and some Greek cheese (“our minds had been expanded, and our trousers mysteriously tightened, by the experience”), with the balance of flavours found (“between strong and potentially antagonistic flavours”).


Food interview

Ryan Riley, founder of Life Kitchen

Ryan Riley, the 26-year-old founder of Life Kitchen, was interviewed in The Telegraph this weekend, with the entrepreneur discussing how his cookery school for cancer sufferers got off the ground. Riley, whose own mother died of cancer when he was 20, says: “Life Kitchen isn’t about health, it isn’t about nutrition. It’s about enjoyment – because that is what my mother would have wanted.”

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