Jane Hogan, Taste North East - A day in the corridors of power
PUBLISHED: 18:05 19 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:23 20 February 2013
The Taste North East chief executive reflects on a loss of funding, food intolerance and a day in the corridors of power
One of the brilliant things about not having all that government money any more (aside from the terrible burden of wondering how to spend it all) is that we at Taste North East are really flexible and light on our feet.
Jo, Harriet and I spend our days out and about from Berwick to Brough finding out what exciting food and drink events are happening and creating a few of our own. Sometimes ideas can snowball very fast.
Just a couple of weeks ago I was visiting Newcastles wonderful Lit and Phil the place where the great thinkers of every era have gone to collaborate, cogitate and invent. Its an amazing building (and free to visit) if youve not been you can go and do a bit of cogitating of your own and who knows where that might lead to?
Anyway, during my conversation with Alma Devine, the Lit and Phils irrepressible fundraiser, Alma mentioned that she is very passionate about food and drink and that she is a coeliac and needs to be very careful about what and where she eats.
I immediately asked how I could become a coeliac assuming this was an exciting new diet regime (this diet obsession is an occupational hazard of being a job in which I get to sample the very best food all day long). But it turns out that being a coeliac is far from a lifestyle choice and nowhere near as much fun as I had imagined.
Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac) is not a fad or a food intolerance. Its a disease, where the bodys immune system attacks its own tissues. In people with coeliac disease this immune reaction is triggered by gluten, a type of protein found in the cereals wheat, rye and barley.
As it turns out we have a number of food producers and eateries in our Taste North East membership who specialise in gluten-free catering and products and our Jo has a close relative with the condition. From a standing start, by the time you read this item we will have a full feature and directory of North East based gluten-free products and eateries on our Facebook pages (lovetastenortheast), and an event happening where you can see demonstrations, taste products and mingle with others to get great tips and ideas.
We do sometimes wonder why we arent whisked into the House of Commons to run the country but we did spend a whole day there in September with some of our wonderful Northumberland producers, and not a single mention of our leadership credentials. The MPs must have been distracted by the Jack Cain gin.
If you want us to create a new event from scratch about something you are passionate about, or you want to register your interest in all things gluten-free you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or register for our free Taste Club at www.tastenortheast.co.uk/competitions.
Taste North East