Michelin-starred chef Brett Graham is to cater for more than 150 top British chefs, restaurateurs and food producers at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street today.
The event will launch VisitBritain's Food is Great, a key element of its GREAT Britain campaign, in partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The hospitality industry is worth around £46b to the UK each year and the guest list for this evening’s event includes Tom Aikens, Prue Leith, and Rick Stein.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I am hugely proud of Britain's food industry and we're launching Food is GREAT to showcase what we have to offer. Our farmers produce some of the best quality food anywhere in the world with high welfare standards and excellent local produce.
"We’ve produced exceptional British chefs and attracted incredible talent from overseas and as a result you can find outstanding cuisine throughout the country. From sticky toffee pudding from Cartmel to oysters from Whitstable, salt marsh lamb from North Wales, or smoked salmon from Scotland our food is key to our cultural identity. British food showcases our heritage, openness, creativity and diversity."
A delegation from the World's 50 Best Restaurants, including Ferran Adrià of El Bulli, Ignatius Chan from Iggy's in Singapore and Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se, will also be attending, ahead of tonight's awards ceremony at Guildhall.
Six of Britain's most celebrated chefs - Graham, Raymond Blanc, Ruth Rogers, Atul Kochar, Angela Hartnett and Fergus Henderson - feature in a short film that will be shown at the Food is GREAT event and also used in the campaign to promote British restaurants around the world.
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "From traditional fish and chip shops to gastropubs and Michelin-starred restaurants, the variety and quality of British food is incredible.
"And British chefs like Jamie Oliver, Angela Hartnett and Heston Blumenthal have taken the world by storm. These days our hospitality and food industries are a key part of what attracts tourists to our country, and we need to celebrate all that is GREAT about them."
Graham, chef-patron of SRA member and two-Michelin-starred London restaurant the Ledbury, said: "People returning to Britain from living abroad or coming here on holidays have seen a massive change in cuisine offered in Britain, the type of food offered in restaurants, and seem genuinely surprised."
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said: "Food is GREAT and the Sustainable Restaurant Association share a common goal: to promote the excellence of British restaurants and British food. What better way of championing the very best in the industry than bringing them together at Number 10.
"The SRA is helping restaurants across the UK match diners' values by serving high-quality, high-welfare, locally sourced food, making UK restaurants global leaders in sustainability."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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