Like most of my other docs, The Glasgow Diet examines local food, supply chains, and quality, but it is the first to so with the context of an urban environment, and so also touches on the the issues such as food poverty that form part of the city’s complex history.
I came across so many stories that one film was not enough to cover it all, so I plan to do one two or more follow ups in 2020 starting with Growing Glasgow, about efforts for the city to become more self-reliant and healthier through urban food gardens and allotments.
The CCA screening on November 24 will be followed by a discussion with some of the interviewees including Scott Erwin of Greencity Wholefoods, Reuben Chesters of Locavore and Annie Morgan of the Govan Community Project. There will also be representatives of Slow Food Glasgow, the Glasgow Community Food Network, and other organisations joining the conversation.
Should anyone wish to spread the word, the jpg below can be used, or a .pdf of the flyer can be downloaded here and emailed or printed up.
The number of screenings continues to grow, now with six in five cities during a three week period, and more scheduled or being planned for November and into 2020. Outside of university and cinema screenings, they have mostly included meals for 15 to 75 diners in collaboration with chefs and restaurants, costing from small donations to $150, and and all have had engaging panel-audience discussions with chefs, producers, food writers and academics lasting up to an hour.
Here are pics from a few of the events over the years.
The season is off to a great start with a number of screenings already scheduled in Scotland and London over the next couple of months, with more events being organised. On top of that, I’m hard at work on new documentaries and projects that will be showing in November.
Things kick off on September 28 with Scalarama and Cinema Up presenting The Black Isle and One Dish at a Time (The Eusebi Deli Story) at Greencity Wholefoods in Glasgow. Free, plus food, and Abi Mordin of the Glasgow Community Food Network will join someone from Greencity and myself for a panel discussion on the ever fascinating, complex topic of food in Glasgow. Registration, directions here – http://bit.ly/2kNGWtv
Rocks, Crofts and Sheep
On Oct 4, Slow Food Edinburgh will host a screening of Rocks, Crofts and Sheepat the Edinburgh Larder. When we showed The Scottish Breed a few months ago, the panel-audience discussion lasted for about an hour, and this one promises to be equally engaging. Tickets and more info: http://bit.ly/2kOMiVl
At 7pm, Oct 11, in Lecture theatre W1, Stirling University will be screening The Scottish Breed, followed a panel discussion on sustainable food production led by Rachel Norman who leads the University’s Global Food Security research programme. Not to be missed for anyone interested in local food production, circular economies and the environment.
IFSTAL will present The Scottish Breed at the Royal Veterinarian Society, London on Oct 17 with a top panel from various sectors. More info and registration here: http://bit.ly/2m4VwNh
As part of the Forth Valley Food Festival, on Oct 19 and 20, the Old Mill Restaurant in Killearn will host a screening of The Great British Chilli, about how the chilli and various international cuisines have influenced British food, with dinner created from local producers of venison, ale, chillies and more. Tickets:
Sat 19th Oct – https://fixr.co/event/520739794
Sun 20th October – https://fixr.co/event/682044369
Booking through this website incurs a £1.50 per person booking fee can book directly through the restaurant.
Two new works will premiere at the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Art) in Glasgow on Nov 24. In the afternoon, Biting the Hand that feeds, a video installation using clips from various documentaries, along with a tasting of local products sponsored by Greencity Wholefoods. In the evening, The Glasgow Diet traces the evolution of food ways in the city followed by a panel discussion with some of the interviewees, and the Saramago Cafe will offer a dinner option of a modern, vegan take on traditional Scottish fare. More info in October.
A selection of photos during my stay on the Isle of Lewis during the month of December, 2018, working on a documentary about crofting, landownership and food on Lewis, Harris and Scalpay. Spectacular landscapes with the feeling of being at the edge of the world.
I spent the early hours of Thursday, November 8, hanging out with Mark Drabich at the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx as he purchased fish for his Metropolitan Seafood https://www.metroseafood.com store in New Jersey.
And after a fantastic premiere of my latest documentaries about sustainable food and fishing in Scotland at Edinburgh University, with the support of Nourish Scotland, Transition Edinburgh, Slow Food Youth Network Scotland, Open Seas, Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, Keltic Seafare, Transition Black Isle and others, screenings will be happening in NY, NJ, Toronto, London, and Glasgow in April and May. Some final details are being worked out and more screenings might happen too, and this post will be updated accordingly.
Exhibition opening April 13, 5:30-8pm – Amphora Paintings at Corks on Columbus, 313 Columbus Avenue, NY, NY 10023. From April 13 – May 2, 2018. Mon-Thur 11:00am – 9:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am – 9:30pm, Sun 12:00pm – 8:00pm
The Fish in the Sea
April 13, 1-3pm, New York University, screening of The Fish in the Sea. NYU staff and students get first priority, but there may be a few extra places.
From Oct 31-Nov 13, La Nacional, 239 W 14th St, is hosting The Art and Politics of Eating with an exhibition of my artwork and two events, including the premiere of The Great British Chilli. The opening is on Oct 31, 6-8pm, entry free, please join us for a glass of wine.
Oct 30, 7-10pm, there will be a Spanish Grapes screening, wine and tapas evening La Nacional: Oct 30, 7-10pm Spanish Grapes screening, wine and tapas. Trailer – https://vimeo.com/157257779 Tickets $85 – http://bit.ly/2zaB66G Includes: six wines, four tapas, two DVD’s – “Spanish Grapes & Spanish Gold” and “Arribes : Everything Else is Noise”, guided wine tasting by La Nacional’s Wine Director Elizabeth Fernandez and Consultant Clark Moore.
Spanish Grapes looks at the history and culture of wine in Spain, covering topics such the evolution of wine making, the role ofcooperatives, and the challenges of marketing. It looks at Sherry and Cava, major regions such as Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat, as told by many of the leading figures in the world of Spanish wine.
Nov 7, 7-10pm. Premiere of The Great British Chilli with chile-inspired tapas and wine. Tickets $85 – http://bit.ly/2yHmtuE
The Great British Chilli https://vimeo.com/238287682 is my latest documentary about the variety of chile peppers, their flavors as a spice, and how the food of immigrants to the UK over the last decades influenced British cuisine and eating habits. The film will be accompanied by various fantastic, chile-inspired tapas created by Chef Sue Park http://www.suechefsuepark.com/, matched with wines provided by Indie Wineries http://www.indiewineries.com/.
Red Chairs, Blue Door
Wines kindly provided by Indie Wineries and Vinos Ambiz. Special thanks to Benjamin Walmer and the Highlands Dinner Club http://highlandsdinnerclub.com
Some installation shots of my paintings at the Gallery Different, London. The exhibtion was arranged to coincide with the premiere of my documentary on Pied a Terre, and Life on the Douro was also screened, along with a tasting of Quevedo Port Wine and Rococo Chocolates.
Three Large Amphora Paintings at Gallery Different, London
It was a significant step forward for The Art and Politics of Eating. Next stop will be in New York in November, with an exhibition at La Nacional, but in the meantime, other projects are being developed, including finishing The Great British Chilli and returning to Cromarty to finish a documentary on fishing and farming in Scotland – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMpAt5rKn3U
Nine Small Paintings, Gallery Different, London
Four Waitress Paintings at Gallery Different, London
With the British elections now over, and with Brexit negotiations about to start, the first screening of Life on the Douro in five years on June 12 is a timely lesson in the complexities of international trade and treaties.
As a consequence of its wars with France, Britain began to source some of its wines from the Douro region in Portugal. Brandy was added to preserve it on the long sea voyage, and Port wine began to develop into the drink we know and love today.
Initially, the demand caused a decline in the quality of wine produced. Then, an earthquake devastated Lisbon in 1755, and in order to raise money to rebuild it, the Portuguese decreed that Douro wine could only be exported through Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite Oporto, so that the quality and production could be regulated and taxed. That meant, however, that only a handful of enterprises that were able to afford warehouses and large scale operations were able to produce Port, and it stayed that way for two centuries.
When Portugal joined the EU in 1986, the latter decreed that it amounted to a monopoly and that smaller wineries in the Douro Valley could also produce and export their Port, allowing for a rejuvenation of the region.
Just as international trade has maintained Douro wine production, Rococo Chocolates sources its cocoa from the Grenada Chocolate Company and the The Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative, with the growers and chocolate makers being equally and well rewarded. In turn, young people are being attracted back onto the land and processing the organic cocoa on the island maximises the value that can be put directly back into the Grenadian economy and is used to develop the infrastructure.
Sustainability is a vastly complex issue, and every purchase is a vote for one type of production or another. Besides getting Port and Chocolate worth more than the ticket price, part of the ticket goes to those smaller producers in Portugal and Grenada, and thus their respective rural communities and way of life.
Most of the ticket price goes to support the chocolate growers and the smaller Quevedo Winery. My intention, too, is to produce a video about Rococo Chocolates that would be screened at future events, bringing into profile the issues, once again, of how fair trade can have a positive effect on people’s lives. Chantal Coady https://www.rococochocolates.com/pages/all-about-chantal who founded Rococo Chocolates, will be on hand to explain the chocolates and the work that they are doing.
A good turn out on June 12 would do a lot to move things forward. Life on the Douro took me about a year to complete over a period of three years, with the three trailers above giving a glimpse into how it developed and expanded. It never got the audience it should have had but it’s never too late, and hopefully this mix of social history, Port and chocolate will bring it better fortunes in the near future.
Here are the Rococo Chocolates tasting notes, not to be missed, each with a matching Quevedo Port:
Madagascar 64% Cocoa Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar – This chocolate has the unmistakable hallmarks of Madagascan criollo cocoa, tons of red fruit, citrus, great balance and long finish. The Pinot Noir of the chocolate world. One of the all time favourites!
Cardamom Organic White Chocolate Artisan Bar – Memories from my childhood, the wonderfully aromatic, sweetly spiced cardamom is slowly released from the grasp of the cocoa: a beautifully balanced Rococo Classic – keeps winning awards.
Spice Island Organic Dark Chocolate Artisan Bar – This is a tribute to the Grenada Chocolate Company and the island’s famous spices. We received the 2014 Ruby Award ‘For outstanding contribution to Business Development to the benefit of Grenada’.
Roald Dahl: Frobscottle & Snozzcumber White Chocolate Bar – Fresh green and pink phizzwhizzing colours and flavours in this cocktail of raspberry, strawberry, cucumber and mint.
Sea Salt Organic Milk Chocolate Artisan Bar – Inspired walking on a Cornish beach, grains of sea salt caught on my lips mingled with clotted cream ice cream! The salt crystals highlight the caramel notes in the milk chocolate.
Pied a Terre – Trailer 1 – Andy McFadden, Head Chef
I am currently the artist-in-resident at the Michelin-starred Pied à Terre restaurant with some of my food paintings installed there and have finished a documentary on the restaurant. Its official premiere will be held at Gallery Different on June 6 during a special one week exhibition of my paintings. Blanche Vaughan, food editor of House and Gardens https://blanchevaughan.wordpress.com/about/, will present the film and moderate the discussion about quality food producers and the role of quality restaurants in sustaining those producers and the rural environment. Owner David Moore, Yun Hider of The Mountain Food Company, Alasdair Hughson of Keltic Seafare, and Richard Vaughan of Huntsham Court Farm, all featured in the documentary, have confirmed that they will be attending the event.
The documentary looks at the restaurant’s relationship with a few of its forty suppliers and how that contributes to a sustainable food system. We often disassociate sustainability with high-end restaurants but their need for top quality produce means that they help maintain many small rural businesses that in turn maintains rural life and communities.
Pied à Terre – Trailer 2, David Moore
Pied à Terre – Trailer 3, with Yun Hider foraging in Wales
Pied à Terre – trailer 4, with Richard Vaughn of Huntsham Court Farm