“The poll, carried out online among 5,000 people – 1,000 from each of the five countries involved in the Guardian’s New Europe series – exposes a mix of classic national stereotypes and unexpected self-confidence.… only 23% of people in this country believe the UK is renowned for its cooking, against 77% who put it in the middle or below. Perhaps fortunately the poll doesn’t reveal what other Europeans think of our food… So it is official that we think we have the worst cooking in Europe….”
Is that modesty talking?
When considering the breath and diversity of restaurants, publications and programming available in the UK, those statistics seem rather off kilter. As a nation, we have very strong opinions when it comes to food, so why, when asked directly would we suddenly appear to have so little confidence and down play our obvious talents and opinions.
5.36 million tuned in to watch Masterchef on BBC1. 2.15 million Salivated at Raymond Blanc: Kitchen Secrets and 2.02 million saw in The Great British Food Revival on BBC 2. An average of 2.4 million per episode tuned into Come Dine With Me every day and another 2.04 kept watching for Heston’s Mission Impossible on Channel 4. In December 2010, Jamie Oliver’s book 30 Minute Meals sold 735, 000 in 10 weeks, whereas Delia Smith’s How to Cook (Book 1) has sold over a million copies since publication.
We are a nation possessed, but we know what we like. When not under oath of survey, the food on our plates and exacting standards go hand in hand.
There are over 8,000 Indian/Bengali restaurants in the UK. Nearly 2000 of these have been supplied by Euro Foods. In our experience, the UK has a growing taste for the exotic and the preference to explore and develop taste buds is magnificent. If not renowned for our cooking, we should be known for our culinary inquisitiveness and opinion.
We really should blow our trumpet louder.
 Glover, J. (2011) “Europe’s best cooks, best drivers and best looking revealed – maybe” 28/03/2011 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/28/europe-poll-best-cooks-drivers-looks
 BBC (09/12/2010) “Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals breaks sales record” www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11957627