The Town Is the Menu

The Town Is the Menu

Food innovator Simon Preston visits a UK town and, with a local chef, creates a new signature dish for that town inspired by local anecdotes, insights and ingredients

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Presenter Simon Preston on the idea behind the series

The original idea for The Town is the Menu occurred to me during a Deveron Arts residency in Huntly, rural Aberdeenshire. I was struck by the town’s apparent detachment from what it ate and decided to create a Huntly Signature Menu, inspired by the town and all the people in it.  

For this series the producer Pennie Latin and I picked five towns that were not known for any particular dish and set off across the country to find out what makes each place unique. We scratched the surface and a myriad of extraordinary stories and characters came pouring out, each town brimming with personality and individuality. The odd notion that their home might inspire a new dish was enthusiastically embraced and the resulting recipe adopted in a flash by those who took part.  

It was brilliant to meet people with such passion and pride in their towns and astonishing to discover that, with a little encouragement, a unique dish embodying the spirit of each location could evolve not in decades, but in days. I really hope that all the signature dishes take root in homes and restaurants so that locals and visitors can enjoy a refreshing new way to discover the essence of a place, through food.

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