Borough Talks 2017

Borough Talks, a series of public debates presented by Borough Market, explores some of the most interesting and important issues relevant to today’s food world

Across five Tuesday evenings between April and September, some of the most respected names in the food industry—including producers, writers, academics and activists—will gather in the Market’s atmospheric Three Crown Square to discuss a variety of topics that are currently driving the news agenda and creating buzz in the UK food scene.

Each debate lasts for around an hour, including plenty of time for questions and comments from the floor. After the debate, ticketholders are invited to enjoy a superb spread of food and drink from Borough Market’s traders (included in the price of the ticket), mingle with panellists and purchase a selection of relevant books and merchandise. Tickets for each debate cost £17.50.

TALK 1: TUESDAY 4th APRIL 2017, 7-9pm

Read, cook, live: the ingredients of a cookbook
What makes a good cookbook? What inspires us to pick one up and use it as a guide for one of life’s most important functions: feeding ourselves? Are there some books whose pleasures lie less in the cooking and more in the reading? And how are publishers adapting to the digital revolution? Our panel of enthusiastic bibliophiles will offer a variety of perspectives on the past, present and future of cookbooks.


Felicity Cloake: Award-winning food writer best known for her weekly ‘How to cook the perfect…’ column in the Guardian, which assesses how different cookbooks approach a single dish. Her latest book is The A-Z of Eating - A Flavour Map for the Adventurous Cook.

Stephanie Jackson: Publishing director of the Octopus Group, where her main focus is on creating distinctive books in her favourite category:  food and drink.  Books include Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour, Richard H Turner's Prime and The Palomar Cookbook.

Monika Linton: Founder of Brindisa—Borough Market’s highly influential Spanish food emporium—and its stable of delicatessens and restaurants. Author of Brindisa: The True Food of Spain - a celebration of Spain, its food and its people.    

Peter Ross: Principal librarian at Guildhall Library, the largest food-related archive in the UK, home to the cookbook collections of Andre Simon, Elizabeth David, Arabella Boxer and the Guild of Food Writers.

Angela Clutton: Food writer and historian who specialises in the traditions, heritage and regionality of British food. Vice-chair of the Guild of Food Writers and regular host of Borough Market’s Cookbook Club.

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TALK 2: TUESDAY 16th MAY 2017, 7-9pm

How the media can help your food business
To what extent does the power of the media influence how and what we eat? And armed with this knowledge, how can it be used to benefit your food business or career? By tapping into their experiences of either working within the media or observing its machinations, our expert panel will offer practical guidance to anyone seeking to exploit the possibilities of mass communication as they make their way in the food world.


Milly Kenny-Ryder: The writer, singer and blogger behind the online food, culture and fashion magazine Thoroughly Modern Milly. Named one of the Evening Standard’s top 10 food influencers on Instagram.

Pete Lawrence: A major influence on the food landscape of British television while head of features at the BBC, working with the likes of Nigel Slater, The Hairy Bikers, Nigella Lawson, Lorraine Pascale and Rachel Khoo.

Jane Levi: Writer and academic who specialises in the history of food and utopianism with insight into how, when and why the media started to influence our eating habits.

Alana Spencer: Winner of the 2016 series of The Apprentice and founder of Ridiculously Rich by Alana, a bakery brand that has grown under the spotlight of the media.

Sybil Kapoor: Food writer and broadcaster whose influential cookbooks include Simply British and Taste: A New Way to Cook. Her latest book is Simply Veg:  A Modern Guide to Everyday Eating.

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TALK 3: TUESDAY 13th JUNE 2017, 7-9pm

Parent trap: the challenges of children’s food
What does a ‘healthy’ diet for children look like? Is it possible to create a balance of fun and nutrition? And how can parents address these questions without being crippled by worry and guilt? Our expert panel will discuss some of the wider social and political issues associated with children’s food and attempt to untangle the often contradictory web of information and advice that can create such confusion for parents.


Stefan Gates: Television presenter, writer and live performer. His numerous food-related TV series for adults and kids have included Gastronuts, Incredible Edibles, Cooking in the Danger Zone and Food Factory.

Carmel McConnell: Founder of Magic Breakfasts, a charity that works to prevent hunger being a barrier to education by providing schools with healthy breakfast food and expert support. Awarded an MBE in 2016.

Claire Thomson: Food writer and chef whose daily attempts to feed her three children fuelled her Five O’Clock Apron Instagram account and a subsequent book. Her latest is The National Trust Family Cookbook.

Amanda Ursell: Qualified nutritionist and visiting fellow of both Oxford Brookes University and the Royal Society of Medicine. She writes in the Sun newspaper and is the nutrition editor for the Healthy Food Guide.

Jenny Chandler: Cookery teacher, author and former UN special ambassador for the Year of Pulses. She has written several books, including Pulse, The Real Taste of Spain and Cool Kids Cook.

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TALK 4: TUESDAY 11th JULY 2017, 7-9pm

How to join the drinks revolution
London has recently undergone a drinks revolution, with the opening of dozens of small breweries and distilleries and the flowering of a vibrant, innovative cocktail scene. So, what does it take to become a success in this rapidly shifting environment? Our panel will reflect on the dynamic world of British drinks and provide invaluable advice to anyone interested in the exciting opportunities it presents.

Dave Broom: Glaswegian writer, broadcaster, lecturer and all-round expert on spirits and the art of distilling. Author of a dozen books, two of which have won the Glenfiddich Drinks Book of The Year award.

Tony Conigliaro: Internationally renowned drinks creator, founder of the Drink Factory consultancy and three acclaimed, mould-breaking London bars: 69 Colebrooke Row, Bar Termini and Untitled.

Catriona Felstead: A senior buyer at England’s oldest wine and spirit merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, and the company’s first ever female Master of Wine.

Dan Tapper: Food and drink writer and self-taught brewer who three years ago launched The Beak nano-brewery in his native Yorkshire, creating small batches of unfiltered, unpasteurised beers.

Sybil Kapoor: Food writer and broadcaster whose influential cookbooks include Simply British and Taste: A New Way to Cook. Her latest book is Simply Veg:  A Modern Guide to Everyday Eating.

Buy tickets here.


TALK 5: TUESDAY 12th SEPTEMBER 2017, 7-9pm (BSL interpreted)

Sustainable sustenance: reducing the impact of food production
What is the true cost of the food we eat? This broad-ranging discussion will explore the social and environmental impacts of industrialised food systems and ask whether it is possible to produce and distribute food in ways that are both sustainable and economically viable. Panellists will cover everything from the state of our soil to the knotty problem of food waste, and discuss whether a modern city can develop the infrastructure to help feed itself.

Robin Gill: Chef-proprietor of The Dairy, The Manor, Counter Culture and Paradise Garage, all of which are notable for their sustainable approach to food supply. The Good Food Guide’s Chef of the Year 2016.

Patrick Holden: Founder of the Sustainable Food Trust, which promotes the development of more sustainable food systems around the world, and owner of an organic dairy farm in Wales. Awarded a CBE in 2005.

Carolyn Steel: A leading thinker on food and cities who has taught at Cambridge University, London Metropolitan University and the London School of Economics. Author of Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives.

Tim Lang: Professor of food policy at City University London’s Centre for Food Policy, trustee of Borough Market, and the writer of numerous articles, reports and books on the politics of food production.

Buy tickets here.