Sunday, 15 August 2010

Making Leicester a Food Destination

Leicestershire has strong reputation for producing food including EU 'Protected Geographical Status' items like Stilton and Pork Pies as well having all sorts of farm shops, organic food, vineyards, microbreweries, food festivals, etc. How come the county town Leicester is now rarely recommended for anything other than curry?

Business leaders are complaining that there is a "lack of quality restaurants" in the city and the forthcoming Leicester & Leicestershire Food Fortnight features very few city events. For a historic county town with such huge ethnic diversity surrounded by a foodie county, how come we're not capitalising on food as an attraction? Shouldn't Leicester be the focal point for regional food fortnights, food festivals and farmers markets? We manage a decent food festival at the market once in a while plus and the travelling Continental Market (which always seems a bit too expensive and uninspiring to be honest).

Melting pot cities like Leicester are where new dishes and even entirely new styles of cooking pop-up. If we can find innovative ways to combine the city's diversity with the county's tradition and quality then there is great potential. I'm not sure expensive restaurants are actually the place to start - Leicester isn't a particularly affluent place and I think value and diversity of choice are more important to most people here. Here are some suggestions:-
  • Uncover all the amazing multicultural home cooking happening behind closed doors (does any one fancy crowd-sourcing recipes for a Leicester Recipe Book? I bet there are loads of great fusion cuisine recipes out there as well as traditional ones)
  • Hold more food festivals and try to bring in the county audience (could we try to bag a regional event?). 
  • Diversify the offering at Leicester Market (it's crying out for a revamp)
  • Do more to develop and promote the city as a centre for world cuisine rather than just curry.
  • Open a multicultural food court in the city (sorry to keen banging on about it!)
My final thought is for my wife who once dreamt that she saw a Malaysian restaurant on the Aylestone Road. And why shouldn't there be one?!


  1. Tim, who runs the excellent food in Leicestershire blog, has been rabbiting on about the same stuff for some time. All power to you both. Bon app. (Hey, see what I said there? Food-techie fusion....)


  2. Tim's blog is excellent. Don't eat your phone.

  3. Good tip. I looked into the basic method, but still struggling to find a trustworthy recipe.


  4. More imaginative thinking like this, please. To anyone who has travelled even a little, the current marketing emphasis on `prestige' high-end dining seems drearily provincial - and it ignores Leicester's unique potential.