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Sunday 12:30-13:00
Rpt: Monday 16:00-16:30
From amaranth to zabaglione, Sheila Dillon and Derek Cooper investigate every aspect of the food we eat.
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Listen to the most recent Food Programme
PRESENTERS
Sheila Dillon
Simon Parkes
Andrew Jefford
Derek Cooper
Sheila Dillon, Andrew Jefford and Simon Parkes, Derek Cooper
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Sheila Dillon
Sheila Dillon

Sheila has just won the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food in the Guild of Food Writers for a programme she presented on The Women's Institute. Listen again to the programme.

Sheila Dillon comes from Hoghton, Lancashire, the village where in 1603 a drunken James VI of Scotland, en route to take the throne of England, knighted the loin of beef he was served in HoghtonTower’s banqueting hall—hence Sirloin. Sheila says the story may be apocryphal but it shows that good food has long been taken seriously in her part of the country.

A degree in English at Leicester University was followed by a year with the British Council in Finland. The job introduced her to “one of the most romantic places on earth,” she says, “and taught me that teaching wasn’t for me.”. Then post-graduate work in Victorian studies in the American Midwest, a publishing job at Indiana University Press, travelling on a cargo boat with an 8-month stay in New Zealand and a move back into publishing at Little, Brown & Co in Boston, Massachusetts. There with five other women she brought a case against her employer for sex discrimination that helped change employment practises in the US. Moving to Scotland for three years, she edited, a small magazine covering social services, housing and social policy. But it was back in the US, in New York City, 20 years ago, she understood what she really wanted to do – cover the subject of food: the pleasures of eating it and the politics of producing it. She became associate editor of Food Monitor magazine.

Moving back to London , she heard Derek Cooper present The Food Programme, and knew that working there would be the perfect job. She was hired as a reporter in 1987, and a year later became senior producer. She and Derek won awards for investigative reporting and features about BSE, the food system in Russia and Ukraine after the collapse of communism, the science of the new fats, the development of organic farming, bioengineered foods and supermarket power. Last year Sheila won the Glenfiddich Award for best broadcast for a programme on food & poverty, produced by Jessica Mitchell. Sheila also created Veg Talk, Radio 4’s interactive grocery show.



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