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Food for thought

News Section Icon Published 02/12/2011

Paul Merrett hosted a special lunch on Friday, 2nd December.

The meal was served at a spectacular venue, 195 Piccadilly, home of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for a select group of leading environmentalists.

Anton Manganaro is the Head Chef at 195 Piccadilly, while Paul runs his own London restaurant, The Victoria. The pair met at top restaurant, L'interlude where they worked closely together for five years, during which time the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star.

The inspiration behind the lunch was to create a menu that reflects the food of the future. Some tough questions needed to be answered: in a world with a far greater population, how might our choice of food and the balance on the plate need to differ from a typical western meal today? Anton and Paul's challenge was to create a menu answering these questions, but also to make sure it is tasty and enjoyable to eat.

At present, around two thirds of farm animals are factory farmed - where animals are caged, cramped and confined in cruel intensive farming systems. This is not only incredibly unfair to the animals involved, but is also having detrimental effects on the planet and on human health. So we need to start making changes now.

Moving to a world beyond factory farming will require us in the west to eat less, but better meat. Paul and Anton's menu will reflect this belief. To those that choose to eat it, meat becomes a treat, to be savoured and appreciated.

Anton says: "Both of us are committed to sourcing high welfare, local and seasonal produce. We enjoyed creating a menu for this event that also celebrates the best of British produce: fish from the West Country, sheep's cheese from Somerset and apples from Kent. We also wanted to harvest Nature's bounty: wild mushrooms and cobnuts. When it comes to the 'carbohydrate' element of the meal, we have avoided rice, with its high water footprint, in favour of spelt and nuts."

Paul says: "We don't claim to have all the answers but we hope this meal is the start of a conversation. We would like to challenge others to come up with their own interpretations of the food of the future. One thing is clear though: the world is changing rapidly, with escalating pressures on ever scarce resources. We believe that it is time for change. It is time to think and act differently. We hope our guests enjoy this meal and that it gives them a taste of that future."

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