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Bookable Saturday University of Salford We Think Big

How What We Eat Shapes Who We Are

The food we eat shapes how we live. It is an important link to cultural heritage; it connects us to religion and ritual and is a fundamental part of our human relations. Whether we’re sharing a meal with friends and family, experiencing new cuisines, or exchanging food as a gift – it is one of the most powerful tools we have for bringing people together. 

Despite its importance, access to sustainably-sourced, affordable and nutritious food is still one of the most pressing challenges facing society. In this discussion, we hear how food shapes the way we see the world, the role it plays in communities and what can be done to create a food system that is sustainable and accessible for all.

University of Salford – Lecture Theatre

Saturday, 12:45pm – 1:30pm

Suitable for: All ages, step-free



Melissa Tutesigensi
Interviews Producer, Sky News
Melissa is an Interviews Producer at Sky News. She has previously worked for Channel 4 News, Times Radio and the BBC. Her work has featured at Durham Book Festival, in Refinery29 and as part of the award-winning Anthems podcast series by Broccoli Productions.


Pam Warhurst CBE
Founder, Incredible Edible
Pam Warhurst CBE has been an activist and advisor for over 40 years. From Leader of a Local Authority, Chair of an Acute Health Trust, board member of several national environmental bodies.  Driven by the lack of effective leadership on sustainable development post Rio and most other Earth Summits she co founded the first grassroots Incredible Edible in her home town of Todmorden in 2008, to encourage and demonstrate community empowerment through local growing. Incredible Edible started small, with the planting of a few community herb gardens in Todmorden, and today has spin-offs in the U.S. and Japan, counting over 150 groups in the UK and 1000 world-wide. Incredible Edible inspires ordinary people to take more control of how they live their lives through active civic engagement, redefining prosperity through the power of small actions. 

Mary-Ellen McTague
Chef, Writer & Co-Founder, Eat Well MCR
Mary-Ellen is a chef and writer passionate about food, drink, sustainable restaurant practices and more equitable food systems. She has a breadth of experience, having worked in hospitality for over 20 years. Mary-Ellen trained under Heston Blumenthal at 3 Michelin-starred restaurant the Fat Duck, and went on to run two successful restaurants in Manchester: Aumbry and the Creameries.

Mary-Ellen is the co-founder of Eat Well MCR, a collective of Manchester chefs and restaurants which has delivered over 50,000 meals across Greater Manchester since March 2020 to people side-lined by poverty. She was also the executive chef at the Real Junk Food Project, kicking off a commitment to cooking more sustainably, with a zero-waste approach.

Mary-Ellen has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including winning the ‘Manchester Food and Drink Outstanding Person of The Year Award’, in recognition of her contribution to the food and drink industry in Greater Manchester.

Matt Bigland
Founder & CEO Blend Family
Co-founded by Matt Bigland and Nina Patel-Bigland, Blend is a platform for talented chefs to bring authentic global cuisine to the diverse communities of the UK, creating spaces where independent local businesses can grow, and new culinary talent can find tailored support to thrive. Matt and Nina started their hospitality journey in 2006 purchasing an empty pub in Sheffield, The Milestone. 

The success of The Milestone led to more restaurants and bars, but it was regular trips to Asia that inspired them to move from restaurants to food halls. Seeing local families eat authentic generational food in a communal setting was the inspiration that led to their first food hall, The Cutlery Works. Now, Matt and Nina are bringing their culinary expertise to MediaCity with the launch of KargoMkt in Central Bay Quayside. Opening in 2023 it will be one of the biggest independent food and drink operations in the North, showcasing the best in up-and-coming food and drink talent, hand chosen and incubated to bring the best in world food under one roof.

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