What is the Guild of Fine Food?
Well for those of you who did not know here is a little about what the Guild of fine food is about. I first came across them some years ago. I was working as a development chef when we paid a visit to a new venture on the Harrogate show ground called Fodder. Now as a write this I realise that Fodder its self deserves an article all of its own, but for now I will start with the Guild of fine food.
Yes it was back in 2009 when I first came across Guild of Fine Food, and subsequently the Great Taste awards. If you want to know more about that watch the video below.
Back in 1995 The Guild was formed, with one mission.
To support and encourage artisan food and drink producers and the independent delicatessens, farm shops and food halls that mainly stock and sell their food and drink.
Well it’s all acorns and oak trees really, and getting bigger and better all the time, there are over 1,300 members across the UK.
It organises and implements a network of activities designed to promote excellence in all sectors of the trade and build closer links between producers and retailers.
The Guild of Fine Food publishes Fine Food Digest, Good Cheese and Great Taste Book.
IT organise Great Taste and the World Cheese Awards, Harrogate Fine Food Show any number of Great Taste Markets,
Also involved in training in cheese, charcuterie and in business matters relating to fine food retail.
And where did all this come from, according to Bob Farrand
“1994 was probably our watershed year. I conducted some research, which compared the number of independent delis in the UK with the total from a previous survey conducted in 1988. It showed that if shop closures continued at the 1988-1994 rate, the last independent deli in Britain would close in the year 2000. If the delis closed, farmers and producers would have no outlets for their food. The supermarkets would have won.’
So Bob took things into his own hands and made a plan ‘I pleaded for funding sufficient to set up the Guild of Fine Food, in order to protect deli owners and fine food producers. Eight believed in me enough to stump up three grand apiece and I made the commitment that within 18 months the Guild would be financially self-supporting. It has been ever since.”
Well thank god for Bob, and any organisation that realises that we need to preserve what is best, for the work that the Guild of Fine Food do and will continue to do. And with the now inevitable exist from the EU the more important work to come as we will no doubt be losing the “products with protected status” so I see much more work to come.
So here is to the Guild of Fine Food, and all that they have done and all that they are going to do.
Joël Lacey, visits Gillingham’s Guild of Fine Food, Published in February ’14, http://www.dorsetlife.co.uk/2014/02/in-the-best-possible-taste-the-guild-of-fine-food/
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