Last night I watched a programme on BBC 1 called The Great British Budget Menu. Finally, a TV Channel has made a program about a topic that should be highlighted in the UK. In this one-off Great British Menu special, three of Britain's leading chefs come face-to-face with one of the most pressing issues of our times: food poverty. Recent research estimates that nearly five million people in the UK are struggling to feed themselves properly and eat nutritiously.
Angela Hartnett is with a single mum who has a budget of £2.00 per day to feed her and her daughter, James Martin is with a pensioner who has £1.68 to feed himself per day and Richard Corrigan is with a family of 6 who have on average £1.66 per person per day for a meal.
Watching these three top chefs shopping for a meal on the budget they had was fascinating. Observing them in different supermarkets, markets and butchers etc was brilliant. The saddest part of the program for me was when James Martin realised that for two potatoes, a chicken leg and a tomato he had spent his budget of £1.68. He then bought some rice and spices and went £1.00 over his budget. You saw the shock and sadness in his face when he realised that this was all he could buy and that this was for a pensioner.
What really shocked me is that daily food budgets in households across the country can be less than many of us would spend on a cappuccino. When I am in the supermarket and there is a food bank happening I will buy items on the list that I am given when I walk in. I never know when I may possibly need it and I know of people who have used the Food Bank.
The chefs have to eat just like the families do and need to call on every ounce of their professional skills when challenged to shop and cook on their households' budgets. Britain on the breadline is a wake up call for the chefs but, fired up by their experiences, they want to try and help by inviting the great and good to a special Budget Banquet where they willl raise the issues facing households in food poverty with the people who can do something about it.
Lets hope that this program has struck a cord with a lot of people and I hope that the supermarkets have listened. Why not have the offers on the fresh fruit and veg rather than the processed food? If I can walk down the North End Road in Fulham on a Saturday at the market and spend £10 on fruit, veg and meat for week why cant I do the same in Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrison's and Tescos? A question that I would like to be answered.
On that note. Have a great weekend and if there is a Food Bank happening in your local supermarket it would be great if you could donate a couple of items.
Miss Jones xx
This is the link for over 50 budget menu's that have been done by all sorts of chefs. Have a look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/programmes/b036x3pv. I know that I will be trying some.