The Eat Cambridge Food Debate

Sunday 15 May 2016
The Eat Cambridge festival of local food and drink presents... the Eat Cambridge Food Debate

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Cambridge Food: Art or Science?

Who doesn’t love a good debate? Join Eat Cambridge on Sunday 15 May at the historic Cambridge Union Society debating chamber and hear our panel of local food and drink experts talk about everyone’s favourite subject… FOOD!

Back by popular demand, this year’s Eat Cambridge Food Debate explores the relationship between art and science in our much-loved local food scene. Chaired by food and consumer scientist Dr Sue Bailey, the panel of local experts, chefs, and foodies, will question where food creativity, hobbies, and experiences, meet the worlds of science, technology, and industrial production.

For this year’s food debate we take on the format of a panel discussion – think BBC Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet, but in rather grander surroundings – and will cover a range of hot topics relating to food and science. We’re talking molecular gastronomy; genetic modification; food DIY; multisensory perception; and 3D food. Come along with an open mind and plenty of questions – you’ll get the chance to have your say too!

Guided by our Chair, Dr Sue Bailey, our panel has been selected based on their backgrounds and experiences as scientists, chefs, farmers, nutritionists, and more. Find out more about each panelist below…

Debate Chair – Dr Sue Bailey

Dr Sue Bailey is Senior Lecturer and Course Director for the MSc in Food Science at London Metropolitan University. A consumer scientist by background with expertise in both food science and nutrition, she has an MSc in Health Education from London University and studied nutrition and food science for her first degree at Bristol. She has also taught cookery, is an external examiner for food science and nutrition undergraduate and postgraduate courses, has advised on and written  consumer articles on health and  food and appeared recently as an expert on Food Unwrapped for Chanel 4. Since moving back to Cambridge she has kept pigs, cooked squirrels, shares an allotment, enjoys collecting food history books and domestic economy manuals and is very keen on re-introducing the development of food skills in schools.

Vaiva Kalnikaitė, Dovetailed

Dr Vaiva Kalnikaitė is the founder of Dovetailed, an award-winning design studio and innovation lab based in Cambridge. At Dovetailed, she leads a group of talented designers, scientists and makers who create novel physical and digital experiences. A recent project is a unique 3D printing technique that prints with liquids. Other projects with international media coverage include: hats that highlight the presence of nearby surveillance cameras; mobile tool kits for sensing in a city; and creating technologies for large-scale public visualisations. Vaiva is a visiting senior fellow at University College London  (UCL) and has worked on projects for Microsoft, PARC and GE. She holds a Masters in Computer Science and PhD in Human Computer Interaction from the University of Sheffield.

Tim Hayward, Fitzbillies

Tim Hayward is an award-winning food writer and broadcaster, best known in Cambridge as co-owner of Fitzbillies and food columnist for the Financial Times and The Guardian newspapers. Tim is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and has written for numerous food publications in the UK. Tim’s work has attracted multiple awards, including the coveted Food Journalist of the Year award from the Guild of Food Writers in 2012. Tim has written two cookery books, Food DIY and The DIY Cook – both thorough , entertaining, yet practical, manuals on the subject of making everything from scratch.

Dr Marie-Ann Ha, ARU

Dr Marie-Ann Ha is a Registered Public Health Nutritionist, a member of the Institute for Food Science and Technology and a Director of East Anglia Food Link, a group that has been working to achieve a sustainable and resilient food supply within the East of England. She is a senior lecturer in Public Health at Anglia Ruskin University and a mother – although the time required for the latter role is now decreasing. Through a secondment, Dr Ha was part of the team at Public Health England that wrote the Carbohydrates and Health Report and knows there is much more to the report than just information on sugar intake. She is particularly interested in the UK food supply chain and how this can influence the nutritional value of what we eat.

Alex Rushmer, The Hole in the Wall 

Alex Rushmer is an award-winning chef, food writer and owner of critically acclaimed Cambridgeshire restaurant The Hole in the Wall. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2005 with a degree in social and political sciences and after a brief attempt to seek work in the halls of Westminster, realised his true calling lay in the kitchen. In 2010 he was a finalist on the BBC’s flagship cookery show Masterchef and opened The Hole in the Wall 12 months later. He also once managed to block the drains in a misguided and ill-informed attempt at ‘molecular gastronomy’. Since then his approach to cooking has become a little more traditional.

Ben Aveling, Radmore Farm Shop

Ben Aveling has been trading in Cambridge since 2006 and along with his wife Vicky Rogers founded Radmore Farm Shop on Chesterton Road. Since then, Ben has developed all of the artisan products he sells by being at the heart of the production and dealing with personal business or farming friends, and his goal is to make quality food affordable for everyone. Ben is a busy entrepreneur and has become, along the way, a butcher, chef and baker, food enthusiast, an ambassador for quality food production, and a Cambridge News columnist to name a few of his ever-rotating ‘hats’!

Joe Kennedy, BlackBar Brewery

Locked into the depths of his industrial lair in a quaint English village near Cambridge, “brewmonkey” Joe Kennedy is working day and night to fuse a traditional beverage from the depths of Mesopotamian heritage with a quaff of the modern era. Joe achieved a BSc in brewing and distilling from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, before going to live in Japan for a year to study Shodokan Aikido, a competitive style martial art you can participate in for life. He worked as assistant brewer at Harviestoun Brewery in Alva, and then ran the Old Cannon Brewpub in Suffolk. Within eighteen months Joe had doubled beer production & sales, and had created another five recipes to add to the original house three.In 2011 he decided to follow his dream by creating literally almost from scratch his BlackBar brewery in Harston, which has a range of permanent and seasonal cask and bottled beers with a brewery shop and – new this year – brewery tap open nights.


This event is part of the Eat Cambridge festival, an annual food and drink festival showcasing Cambridgeshire’s independent food scene. Founded in 2013 and taking place for two weeks every May, the festival features the best, newest, and most exciting independent food and drink in the area. Find out more: