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
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.