Saturday 25 June 2011

Saturday Kitchen

CAMRA do it, some good food pubs do it, at the annual British Guild of Beer Writers awards dinner it is done for an audience of over 200 people, even some Michelin Stared chefs do it; Beer and Food matching.

Why then does the BBC not do it? No, we don't know either. Saturday Kitchen is a very good food program, but it does not feature beer, almost never. I think this should change and I'm hoping my good blog readers will agree and help us out.

Hardknott today launched a campain today to change that. I've sent a complaint to OfCom, here is what I said to them:
Beer is the national indigenous drink of Great Britain
Beer is deliberately omitted from Saturday Kitchen
Wine is almost completely an imported product
Beer can be matched with food very successfully
By omitting beer in favour of wine, the BBC is deliberately and unreasonably biasing its content to a foreign import
The BBC, our national broadcasting authority, which is paid for by a tax on television ownership, is deliberately and recklessly damaging the UK economy by its unreasonable and deliberate rejection of beer as a beverage to drink with food. The vast majority of beer consumed in the UK is brewed in the UK using British grown ingredients
Drinking alcohol when eating is a much more responsible activity than heavy drinking sessions when no food is consumed. The BBC, in omitting beer from one of its prime time food programs is alienating beer drinkers from the healthy activity of moderate drinking whilst eating; therefore the BBC is being reckless with the nations health
With many eating and family pubs it is disingenuous to suggest that beer does not form part of the British dining culture
Promoting brands of wine in named supermarkets without also giving air time to quality British beer brands is unacceptable bias for a public funded organisation
Beer is an inclusive beverage. Choosing wine in favour of beer is divisive and deliberately seeks to engage with a much narrower section of society than is acceptable in todays cosmopolitan and liberal Britain.
You can also send in a complaint from the OfCom web site. Imagine the effect this could have if we all sent in a complaint about this one program? The reader is welcome to use the words here, their own or a combination. Please be aware that the complaint must be limited to 1500 characters, so you need to be careful you don't cut and paste hidden control characters.

Depending on your browser you can either select the program or enter the details below:

Programme title:
Saturday Kitchen

Date and time of broadcast(e.g. 01 January 2009 23:00):
25 Jun 2011 10:00

Channel / station:

If you are less antagonistic than me then you might like to write to Points of View.

My good friend, and also our design consultant, Neil Bowness, has written a nice letter to them.

If we all do our bit then perhaps we can properly get beer on the telly.


Baron Orm said...


I cut and pasted the text directly from your blog and it fitted perfectly.

Hope others will follow suit so we can see what the BBC responds with...

Stono said...

what you should do in the meantime is every week suggest alternative beer matches for their recipes.

that would demonstrate for a start its alot more straightforward and possible than people think.

BeerReviewsAndy said...

I often wondered the same, it seems that James has a love for beer as do a fair number of their guests so why not match it with the food, cook with or or even just give it the time it deserves!!

Mark Dredge said...

Nice work Dave! We need beer (and food) on TV and Saturday Kitchen would be the perfect starting point. It'd also be easy and not exactly a revolutionary thing.

pdtnc said...

Everyone sit and watch Saturday Kitchen and tweet #saturdaykitchen with a request to see Beer & Food pairings. A huge flood of requests might be more direct indicator than an OfCom 'complaint'.

Unknown said...

pdtnc, I think that is a great idea. A multi-pronged attack would work much better than one format. We're also going to put up a Facebook page for you to like.

Rob said...

Nice one. That little issue has pissing me off for a while now. Every time I watch it, virtually no mentions of beer at all.

StringersBeer said...

Or we could just not watch Saturday Kitchen at all. Because it's crap.

Chris said...

I'm hoping they get so bewildered by the volume of requests that they just get Dave on every week to recommend a beer to go with the food.

'And now over to Dave...'

You'd be brilliant.

Neil, Eating isn't Cheating said...

I was saying EXACTLY this to my friend in the pub on Saturday afternoon! You are some sort of beer-loving-mind reader, or great minds think alike...

I find it strange when they have dishes such as Chocolate fondant which would be perfect with an imperial stout, or curries with ipa, and they try to shoe horn wine in instead! Fair enough some dishes suit wine perfectly, a lot of fish dishes are made for white wine, but beer is simply better with food for so many things!

Neil, Eating isn't Cheating said...

p.s. Stringers beer, Saturday kitchen isn't crap. The more people turned on to good food the better, it's a precursor to general taste appreciation which is the only way to get people drinking good beer. But thats not why it's good, thats what it achieves. It's good because it's good.

Anonymous said...

Great idea Dave, once this starts to happen more often, any decent restaurant worth it's salt will have to start to stock more beer to meet demand. Also great for personal knowledge too. I'll repost, join FB etc

I also think the Sat morning twitter barrage will be a great tool as pdtnc suggests.

Every time they get to that point where the wine expert is lurking around the supermarket everyone tweets, recommend a beer too if you feel confident enough.
Cheers Phil

Leigh said...

Interesting post, Dave. I can remember a few year ago - circa 2004/5 - when there was a show called Great Food Live on the The Good Food Channel. Rupert Ponsonby was on there all the time (and I think - could be wrong - that Melissa made an appearance or two), doing food and beer matches. Then, the axe fell, and it was replaced by the monotonous Market Kitchen. Which, despite being set in Borough Market and espousing thier food, misses a trick entirely by not featuring Beer (Utobeer, anyone?)

StringersBeer said...

Sorry, when I wrote "crap", I should have said "vapid, lifestyle dross through and through". Except for Keith Floyd clips, obviously.

You know, complaining about TV programmes is what made Mary Whitehouse so universally loved and respected. Bless her.

Sid Boggle said...

If you want some more multi-pronged action, how about picketing Cactus Studios, where they film it? They're in Kennington Road, about 10 minutes from my house. Maybe BrewDog could handle that end of matters... B-)

beersiveknown said...

I thought exactly the same thing last time I watched it! I think of all the times I've seen it they've only once picked a beer to match with food, its overwhelmingly wine. Will get involved how I can when I get home.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I am an avid viewer of Saturday Kitchen but I have often commented on their constant matching of wine with the meals they make. To ignore beer altogether surely goes against the creativity that goes into their work, wine does not suit every meal it simply cant. There are so many beer & food matches out there waiting to be explored!

Anonymous said...

Of course, if someone wanted to be really sneaky and subversive, they could call the show with a food question for the guest chefs (something about the best way to serve white truffles should do it) and then at the moment they got on the air, switch to ask flat-out why they never feature beer on the show (despite James Martin saying several times that he'd rather have a beer to go with certain dishes than a glass of wine).

Anonymous said...

...although I suspect that there's probably a 15-minute broadcast-delay on the "Live" show to stop this sort of thing from happening (or in case someone accidentally slices an artery with a sushi-knife or something). But hey, might be worth a try :)

Chris King said...

Has anyone contacted any of the MWs that appear on the show?

Anyone contacted the producers of the show to ask why they tend to focus on wine?

It's pretty easy, but yet we seem to exist in a culture of complaining without engaging. I simply tweeted @wineschools and @timatkin this morning to ask why they don't match wine.

Tim replied that he is doing a feature with the Hairy Bikers on this very subject, which I assume will appear in their next show.

Susie Barrie and Peter Richards make up @wineschools. Peter responded by saying that they often comment on beers that can go with food, but the programmes focus is to go with wine so that will always be the final match - I left it at that. But surely that would be a question picked up by the producers if they were asked?

Peter did do a feature on Beer during ESPNs FA Cup coverage. Irrespective of what you may think of the beers they chose, they at least put them out there at a decent time, for a decent audience - did anyone catch it?

Matthew Fort and Market Kitchen always had beer features on that show - more often than they had wine in the episodes i saw.

I wait with interest to see the verdict on this complaint. Though i'd much rather have read a piece about how someone had been in touch with the show, with the wine writers - engaged in the merits of putting beer matching across and finding out why wine is the focus? Is it because they view wine as a far better representation of the dining experience provided by the chefs on show:

Just looking at Rick Stein, Theo Randall, Giorgio Locatelli, Galton Blackiston and Francesco Mazzei (some of the chefs regularly on there) - only Mazzei actually lists beer on his menus: one Italian, one Austrian.

Even Olly Smith was very complimentary about your beer and food matches though they were all a bit heavy for this time of year - but you can only recommend what you produce in that sense.

As i said. I wait with interest to see not only the response to the complaint, but what other bloggers put up on this subject, and what engagement there is with those they are complaining against.

Unknown said...

Chris King,

"Anyone contacted the producers of the show to ask why they tend to focus on wine?" - yes, regularly. There are quite a few beer writers who have pitched at the show and are rarely successful.

"Even Olly Smith was very complimentary about your beer and food matches though they were all a bit heavy for this time of year - but you can only recommend what you produce in that sense."

I don't agree they are heavy. Wine is not matched to food based on what time of year it is. I believe the matches are good ones and that a light summer session quencher does not match with most foods.

Wine is twice as strong as Infra Red for instance. The sooner the beer world gets away from being hung up on the idea that session ale is what we have to match with food the sooner some of this will be sorted. Food and beverage matching demands heavier weight beverages.

Chris King said...


You misunderstood. You pitched Infrared with a roast dinner, Queboid with suit pudding (sic) and custard and your beer name i don't know the keys to type out properly with chocolate pud.

So basically heavy, as in winter dishes in my humble opinion. Not alcohol content or strength. I am fully aware, although I must appear wet behind the ears to you, that wine has a greater % to beer in most cases.

And wine does tend to get matched with food at times of year, as programmes like Saturday Kitchen pride themselves on using seasonal goods. You won't find many Italians drinking thin whites that are meant to go with fish in the winter months, because they drink reds that match food better at that time of year... or possibly bolder whites.

You match according to what is in season surely? Are all the ingredients of a hearty roast dinner currently in season?

If the beer writers have pitched at the show and have been unsuccessful - what was the reason given?

Chris King said...

A positive comment from @wineschools:

"Agreed. Beer/food just as fascinating, complex and delicious a subject as wine/food. We're aiming to cover it more & more."

Is this usually where they say, watch this space? Or would those that have responded, prefer not to see MWs tackling this subject, but Beer writers like Mark or Zak?

Unknown said...


I should point out that the matches I gave are my stock off-the-cuff, for the benefit of twitter, gone in a flash and standard all-season-fare answer. I'm actually flattered that someone has taken that much notice.

I'll have to think about it more now, I'm on BBC Radio Cumbria tomorrow morning talking on the subject.

As for the apparent disparity between your experience talking to individuals and actual program content, all I can say is that the same soothing words have been said for years.

If it really is a case of "watch this space" then all well and good.

Mark, Zak, Pete? don't care, any or all of them would be great.

Chris King said...

Here's a question for you.

What if you get beer matches on there, but they go with imported beers?

Say they start matching Triples, bocks, Italian Pale lagers or American Double IPAs. You claim that the heartland of British brewing at this time of year, the summer session ale is not a suitable match for food, so what if they ignore British beer and try to appeal to the tastes of a foreign chef with foreign beer.

Is this a great starting point or does it do nothing more than swap like for like (imports)?

Unknown said...


That is a good question. It is likely that the well know Belgian and American brands could end up being featured. From a pure beer lovers point of view that would be just fine.

Of course, that undermines many of my arguments it's true. I think if we get any beer and food matching done well it will only open the door to British brands in time.

However, I share your concerns on that point.

Kristy said...

Great post Dave and great idea!

We are constantly trying to get beer featured on Saturday Kitchen without success and it's incredibly frustrating.

The sad fact is that the general public believe that wine is the best match for food which is bunkum - getting any beer included on mainstream programmes like this could help change that perception, get people into the beer aisle and then the whole beer category can benefit.

Go Dave - you've got my support!!

beersiveknown said...

Its all about changing perceptions, people see beer as a problem drink when we all know it is not. Wine has never suffered from this stigma; so perhaps producers are not wanting to lose viewers based on this potential association and stick with wine. They need to be braver!

Dirk Darkness said...

I'm arriving a bit late to this party but I have to say I whole-heartedly agree. When I'm out for a meal I normally would have beer in preference to wine. I love good wine but there's just something about beer which I find more enjoyable. I never get much of a choice at restaurants though and I think thats a shame. Beer with saturday kitchen breakfast...hmmmm...I suppose I should say oh no most definitely not ...but I say nah...lets just do it. Behind you 100% my man.
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