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The City Food Lecture is organised by the seven City livery companies whose roots are in the food industry – namely the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers, Fishmongers, Fruiterers and Poulters.

A Letter from John Giles,

Chair of the City Food Lecture

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Welcome to the 2021 City Food Lecture

This has been a year not like any other  - and one we will not forget in a hurry.

We have had to re think how we run the City Food Lecture in 2021 and after several months of assessing the options, we concluded that this could only be done by holding the event on a virtual basis.   This decision was not taken lightly as we know that not least many people who normally attend the CFL really enjoy the ambience of the Guildhall. At the same time, going “on line” does allow us to do a number of things differently from in the past and we also believe that we still have an excellent and timely Key Note Speaker and panel for the Q & A session that follows.

In this respect, we are very fortunate to have Mel Smith CBE, the Chief Executive of Ocado Retail address us this year.  I am all sure we are very interested in hearing what she has to say to us. Not least, as during the covid pandemic, on line shopping seems to have really come in to its own as a way of buying our food and drink. Lots of research suggests that many of us will carry on shopping this way in the future, too. In this context, it is difficult to think of a more appropriate Key Note Speaker for our lecture, than Mel.

She will be joined by an excellent panel made up of Charlie Bigham, James Walton  and Laura Winningham. This will all be chaired by Charlotte Smith, Presenter on BBC’s Farming Today

One of the aims of the City Food Lecture has always been to hear from leading players in the UK and international supply chain and hear what they are thinking about as to how this will develop in the future. With the quality of our Key Note Speaker and the panel , I am sure we will all go away with a much better idea of how this might look.

May I also take this opportunity to thank all supporters of the City Food Lecture. These include the seven livery companies and the City of London Corporation, as well as our much valued sponsors. This event is very much a team effort. I would like to record my thanks to the hard work put in by all the Committee including the Technical Group too. This year, we have had to face up to a lot of challenges as to how we organise this event in a way we don’t normally have to.

Finally - we are always keen to get your feedback on the event. If we are doing it well   - we like to hear this, of course, but if we can do things better – tell us that too. We want to make sure that the City Food Lecture is a memorable occasion for everyone involved. Be assured, this is our aim.

I very much hope you enjoy the 2021 CFL. Plans are already under way for the CFL 2022. We will of course let you know the details of this as they become available. Thank you too for your support to this event over the years. We have great sponsors and we have, we like to think, great speakers/panel members.  We do need, however, our livery colleagues, their guests and our VIP guests to attend to.  The fact that you do, each year, is very much appreciated.

John Giles

Chair of the City Food Lecture

The Seven Food Livery Companies

We are pleased to include words from a selection of Masters and Clerks of the Livery Companies. We also feature The Farmers’ Company ‘Virtual Agricultural Question Time’ and a video from Fishmongers.

Hear from The Master, David Smith and Honorary Freeman, Prue Leith.

Hear from The Master, Richard Whitlock. Then View the Farmers’ Company recent ‘Virtual Agricultural Question Time’

Hear from the Prime Warden, Alderman Sir Alan Yarrow. And view their video ‘Discover Seafood’.

Hear from The Master, Andrew Parker

Hear from the Clerk, Julie Pearce

Hear from The Under Warden, Peter Baker

 Hear from The Master – David Simmons.

The Company is the City’s second-oldest recorded trade guild, being first mentioned in the ‘Pipe-Rolls’ of Henry II in 1155. Often blamed for the Great Fire of London, in which it lost its Hall, the Company has been in residence at Harp Lane since 1506. Its modern raison d’etre is its links to support the baking industry, particularly at the grassroots level of bakery education.

The Butchers’ Company can trace its history as far back as 975 AD when, in the Ward of Farringdon Without, a Butchers’ Hall existed. Today, the Company is a vibrant organisation supporting an active trade by way of training, education and charitable work. Almost all its members are involved in the meat industry and thus share a common value in good fellowship.

Receiving its first Royal Charter in 1482, the Cooks’ Company supports apprentice chefs training at Westminster Kingsway College and sponsors catering competitions across the industry and in the armed services. It also funds major charitable projects related to education and catering, through the ‘Adopt a Chef’ programme for schools and by making grants to charities such as Crisis UK, The Clink and the Treloar Trust.

The Worshipful Company of Farmers is the City of London Livery Company dedicated to the positive promotion, better understanding, visibility, management and development of UK agriculture.

Its principal charitable purpose is agricultural education, delivered through its portfolio of highly respected courses and the provision of training, grants, bursaries and educational awards to inspire, drive and recognise excellence.

One of the UK’s largest, environmental, philanthropic organisations, the Fishmongers’ Company works through its Fisheries Trust to build and safeguard a prosperous and sustainable fish and fisheries sector, thriving coastal communities and healthy marine and freshwater environments.

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It plays an active role, forging new collaboration with seafood businesses, government, scientists and third sector organisations, and delivering regional and national projects of benefit to the UK. In tandem, the Company’s Charitable Trust supports a range of programmes focused on health and nutrition, transforming lives through food.

The Fishmongers’ Company champion the Master Fishmongers Standard –

and Discover Seafood hub

Over the 700 years of its history, the Company has assumed different roles. Today the Company promotes excellence across all sectors of the fruit industry, as well as supporting education and research. It is active in raising funds and giving to charity. Half of its members are involved in the fresh produce industry.

The Poulters’ Company, in common with other livery companies, was founded in the Middle Ages to control the provision of services and the manufacture and the selling of goods and food. The Company’s charitable role is increasing and it is active in promoting research and education in the trade through its charitable trusts, with a strong nucleus of members from the various branches of the poultry industry.

We are pleased to support initiatives taken by our liverymen in pursuit of highlighting everything that is good about British food and its people. We take this opportunity to highlight 2 such initiatives.

Tiptree World Bread Awards Heroes is a campaign created in this exceptional year by the organisers of the Tiptree World Bread Awards with Brook Food.
Instead of celebrating the loaf this year, as they usually would, they decided to celebrate the person behind the loaf – bakers, millers and farmers around the UK, who have gone the extra mile to serve their community in these challenging times.
There are 12 regional Bread Heroes and everyone has been captured in black and white imagery by photographer Henry Kenyon, whose work has been published in both the UK and the USA in publications ranging from The Guardian, Tatler and the Financial Times