Originally published in
Toni & Guy
,
March 2014
Meet the young British foodies busy putting a party on our plates
Food is the new rock & roll. Fact. Now we are as likely to queue up for hirata buns at a street food market as we are to see a new band. And knowing the difference between Dorset Blue Vinny and Cornish Yarg is as vital as having an opinion on Rihanna’s latest haircut.
The YBFs was born out of our desire to shine a spotlight on Britain’s grassroots talent

Leading the charge of this new creative food movement is the Young British Foodies (YBFs), a fresh foundation celebrating the next generation of gastronomes.

‘The YBFs was born out of our desire to shine a spotlight on Britain’s grassroots talent,’ says food journalist Chloe Scott, who established the YBFs in 2012 with baker Lily Jones aka Lily Vanilli and PR director Amy Thorne. ‘There are so many bold, brave and passionate people out there creating beautiful things and breaking boundaries.’

The YBFs has hosted two annual award ceremonies, popped up in a Selfridges windowand caused culinary anarchy with its ‘carnival marquee’ at Camp Bestival. ‘What’s most satisfying though is collaborating with theYBFs and being part of their achievements,’ addsScott. Whether it’s a mixologist inventing new brews or a salmon fanatic with a smoke housein their back garden, the YBFs are all artisans revolutionising the way we eat using only ethical ingredients.

So far, so tasty. But what sparked off this new foodie army? ‘The world wars and the rise ofsupermarkets diminished our food culture. It’staken 50 years to get past frozen and processed foods and back to fresh produce. Britain has amazing culinary traditions that we’re now reviving,’ Scott explains. ‘Good food also used to be seen as elitist but now people are not afraid to try new foods from around the world. And we want to know the provenance of what’son our plates too. It’s exciting to seek out thenext food thrill – try drinking unpasturised milk, keeping bees or becoming a vegivore.

Here’s our pick of YBFs’ newest recruits.

Mixologist

Head ‘daru-wallah’ at Persian cafe chain Dishoom, Carl Brown’s Flips, Gimlets, Juleps, Sours and Fizzes conjure up old Bombay. ‘Every drink startswith a story,’ he explains.‘Since 1949, Bombay has been under a state of prohibition so at Dishoom drinks can only be imbibed for the goodness of one’shealth! I’ve created arange of restoratives from herbs and botanicals thatI keep behind the bar in apothecary bottles and add to the cocktails.’

Chef

The Ethicurean restaurant near Bristol only uses ingredients from its own walled garden and local suppliers. ‘We have aconnection with the native land, its history and the community who grow food locally upon it. The aimis to discover harmonious pairings between the ingredients that surround us,’ says chef Matthew Pennington. ‘One of our most popular plates is cured leg of venison with smoked cardamom carrots and wood sorrel.’ Try their seasonal recipes in The Ethicurean Cookbook (£25,Ebury Press).

Street foodies

Wai-Ting Chung, Shing Chung and Er Chen introduced Xiao Chi (Taiwanese small eats) to London this year with their Bao food stall and six-seater bar. 'In Taiwan everyone eats little and often and tries lots of different dishes at night markets,’ says Wai-Ting.‘Our key dish is Gua Bao, a steamed milk bun filled with slow-braised pork belly, pickles, coriander and peanut powder. The emphasis on authentic, hand made ingredients.'

Bakers

Step aside macarons, cakepops and cupcakes because bakers Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman have decreed that meringues are now the most fashionable sweet treatin town. The Meringue GirlsCookbook (£15, Square Peg) shows you how to make Rainbow Kisses and Pavlovas.'Unlike the chalky ones you get in supermarkets, our meringues are mallowy in the middle and melt in the mouth,' promises Stacey. 'We enjoy experimenting with unusual flavours such as Gin & Tonic and Lemongrass & Ginger. We're trying to make savoury meringues next but so far our attempts have been disgusting!’

Carver

Master jamón carvers Zac Fingal-Rock Innes and Chuse Valero preside over Tozino, a new Spanish bodega in a South London railway arch with 100 hams hanging from the ceiling. ‘We serve meats, cheeses and tapas, very simply. Customers warm to the no-frills approach,’ says Zac. ‘Hand-carved jamón is the main event. We have five choices on the menu, listed by region, producer and vintage. You have to have knowledge of the product and a great skill with the knife.’

Barista

Architects Hoi Chi Ng and Matthias Suchert's adventures as Coming Soon Coffee include Coffenade (adding nitrous oxide tomilk to create frothy iced coffee) and designing a mirrored coffee bar for the Milan Furniture Fair, serving single origin shots from a 1950s espresso machine. 'We are not trained baristas but we love to experiment with every aspect that affects the final drink from water, grinder, brew methods and roasting styles through to customer service and design,' says Hoi Chi.

Historian

Tasha Marks explores food as an artistic medium through experiential events and edible installations. She holds Animal Vegetable Mineral classes at the V&A on subjects such as Ancient Egyptian funeral cake and is among Selfridges "BrightYoung Things 2013". Pop in store to buy her Biblical Chocolate. 'In many ways art is there to be consumed; it informs us and nourishes us and when literally ingested it changes the way we perceive both art and food,' Marks says. 'It's all about fusing the cerebral with the silly.'

Journalism