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24 September 2014
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Ever Wondered About Food is back

Ever wondered who invented the sushi conveyor belt, and why? Why Charles II wanted to outlaw coffee houses and why Big Mac prices are reliable economic indicators across the globe? Why the first pancake never works and why sales of tomato soup leapt after the September 11 attacks?

Ever Wondered About Food, the only television series to fuse culinary expertise with science and social history, has made its return to BBC TWO on Saturday mornings.

Last year's series presented modern recipes and historical backgrounds to traditional British dishes. The eight new Open University/BBC programmes focus on Britain's favourite dishes with international origins.

Each week, presenters chef Alan Coxon and scientist Kathy Sykes delve into a topic such as beer, and come up with recipes like 'pork rack in ale and honey' while explaining why subtle changes in the brewing process produce wildly different drinks.

Alan creates his own version of California Rolls, while Kathy explains the science behind picking the freshest fish for sushi.

He produces a mouth-watering tiramisu, while she warns why you shouldn't freeze coffee beans.

In addition to these new recipes and scientific tips, there is also a social history element to Ever Wondered About Food which makes it stand out from the rest of television cookery programmes.

Each programme reveals where a dish came from, how it has progressed to the one we recognise today and, most importantly, the social impact it has had. For example, how 17th century coffee houses became known as 'Penny Universities' because of the knowledge you could gain there, how tomato soup is the number one comfort food and how September 11 saw sales rocket, and how it can take up to ten years to become a sushi master.

Each of the eight 30–minute programmes will be broadcast on Saturday mornings on BBC TWO.

The series began on 13 September with Ever Wondered About Sushi and was followed by Ever Wondered About Coffee on 20 September. It continues with:

27 September Hamburgers
One week break
11 October Pancakes
One week break
25 October Beer
1 November Tomato Soup
8 November Pizza
15 November Beans

Recipe cards from the series are free to viewers who call 0870 900 0314 (calls are charged at national rate).

Viewers can take their interest in food history, culture and science further on the Ever Wondered About Food website -

Schools can legally record the programmes for use in teaching if they are members of The Open University Licensed Off-Air Recording Scheme.

Details can be found at

(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

Notes to Editors

Alan Coxon has previously presented programmes on Carlton Food Network, and is the author of Three Chefs In The Cape and The Singles Cookbook.

He is a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts and the winner of five gold medals for food sculpting.

Alan is an experienced chef who rose through the ranks from the four-star Loews Hotel in Monte Carlo to head chef at the Paris restaurant Newport Bay Hotel, the largest four-star hotel in Europe.

He opened his own restaurant on the Isle of Man, and in 1992 became a lecturer of food studies at Hull College.

Kathy Sykes is the Collier Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Bristol University, has worked on programmes for BBC Knowledge and starred in the last three series of the popular Open University's Rough Science programmes.

She was co-director of the Cheltenham Science Festival 2002 and worked as Head of Science for the hands-on science centre Explore@Bristol.

Awarded an Institute of Physics prize for physics communication in 2000, Kathy regularly gives lectures and workshops and is heavily involved in the communication of science to the public through television, radio, talks and exhibitions.

All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 BBC radio networks.



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