Archive | Food & Drink

Shore to Shore at Oriental City


A play about Chinese people from Leeds, and staged at the Oriental City Restaurant on Cross Stamford Street, in Leeds was intriguing – a little drama accompanied by some tasty food.

Writers Mary Cooper and MW Sun had listened to and recorded the voices of dozens of Chinese people in Leeds. From these they wove together this wonderful, poignant play, bringing their stories and experiences to life. It was all the more touching because their experiences are echoed today. Here in our comfortable little bubbles we choose to ignore the fact that around the world people are dealing with similar experiences – being forced to flee because of war, famine, a better life…. just trying to survive.

Cheung Wing let go of his mother’s hand when they were fleeing the Japanese and subsequently was sold as a labourer in rural China. Years later he’s found by his uncle and reunited with his mother, then makes his way to Leeds to work in a restaurant.

Mei Lan’s parents run a takeaway and as children she and her brother worked long hours peeling potatoes and helping to run the business. When the business fails they join their father at another takeaway in the Dales – the only ‘Chinks’ in the village.

YiDi, born during the one-child policy in China and whose father had wanted a son, spends her life trying to gain his approval but, despite excelling academically, it’s never good enough. To escape she applies to do further study in Leeds where she discovers she has to add Yorkshire to her fluent English!

Presented by seven wonderful actors, these lives intertwine, back and forth. Each one a tale of love, loss, struggle and survival. All now happily living in Leeds surrounded by friends and family, none has forgotten their grueling journeys to get here – the hunger, the bullying, the lack of love, and the relentlessly hard work.

‘Shore to Shore’ at Oriental City started with a warming bowl of seaweed and tofu soup and soup made regular appearances throughout the play – first made with just roots and stems, then with vegetables, and finally with chicken! When the play finished we dived into more delicious dishes and somehow felt a new appreciation for this cuisine that so many of the Leeds Chinese community had contributed to.

‘Shore to Shore’ was presented by On The Wire in partnership with the Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds and Oriental City Restaurant. It is currently on tour and will play in Manchester, Oxford, London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and finishing at The Spurriergate Centre, York, on 9th/10th June.

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George’s Great British Kitchen – Classics with a Unique Twist



George’s Great British Kitchen, the idea of two childhood friends, Andrew and Nick from Nottingham, recently opened at The Light on The Headrow.

Andrew’s father, George, opened his first fish and chip shop in the 60s. “As teenagers, I remember Nick and I spending our school holidays painting the shop to make sure that everything was spot on for our customers”, said Andrew. “I used to help in the shop, frying fish, serving customers and everything in between – which all helped to shape the type of service I wanted to provide.

“We dreamt of creating a place where people could meet with friends and family and have a great time together, with good food and great music. We’re all about people feeling comfortable in a non-scripted, non-chain like environment.”



Having run successful fish and chip shops, Andrew and Nick had a vision of adapting traditional British classics, and adding a unique twist.

“We wanted a visit to our restaurant to bring back childhood memories of enjoying ice cream by the sea, tucking into freshly made doughnuts, and exploring all that’s best about the British coast. That said, the classic British fish and chips are just a small part of our menu!”

George’s menu offers buckets of variety, including Ham Hock and Mushy Pea Fritters, covered in crunchy seaweed batter and served with wasabi mayonnaise, and Cauliflower and Mushroom Jalfrezi Pie.

To find out more, visit their Facebook page.


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Play about Leeds Chinese Communities Premières at Oriental City


From Shore to Shore is a new play by Mary Cooper in collaboration with MW Sun that weaves together three revealing and moving stories drawn from different generations of people from the British Chinese community. The production will be performed at Oriental City Restaurant in Leeds from the 16-18 May at 7.30pm (16th at 6.30pm and Mat performance at 12.30pm on the 17th).


Directed by David K S Tse, From Shore to Shore spans a century of Chinese history through its stories of love and loss, struggle and survival.

Taking place in a restaurant, enhancing the themes of food and its relationship to love and survival, and accompanied by a Chinese meal, From Shore to Shore blends  English, Mandarin and Cantonese in an innovative way.


Playwright Mary Cooper, who has written for BBC Radio 4, Channel 4 and Granada, and multilingual collaborator M W Sun have spent three years researching and recording stories with people in the Chinese community.

“From Shore to Shore draws on the stories of interviewees from 14 to 84, stories often hidden even from family members,” said Mary. The play reveals the long-view of migration – one of toil, endurance and success in the UK.  It has been an extraordinary insight into an undiscovered side of Britain’s rich contemporary diversity reaffirming our common humanity in these divisive times.”

For more info visit




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Students Team Up with Fuel for School to Bring Healthy Food into the Classroom

Fuel For School Landscape

Education students at Leeds Beckett are helping primary schools across West Yorkshire to teach children about healthy diets and avoiding food waste as part of an initiative by the Real Junk Food Project.

As part of the Fuel for School initiative, the team helped to create an education pack containing a range of interactive classroom activities for primary school children aged between six and 11. It is designed to be used by teachers of any subject to support both the National Curriculum requirements for cooking and nutrition and the goals of Fuel for School.

Fuel for School began as a partnership between the Real Junk Food Project and Richmond Hill Primary School in Hunslet. The aim was to remove hunger as a barrier to learning, highlight the importance of nutrition and wellbeing in learning, and raise awareness of the vast amounts of wasted food.

Richmond Hill joined forces with the Real Junk Food Project to provide free breakfasts to all 600 pupils at the school and found that this had a positive effect on their behaviour, concentration and attainment. This was followed by a community pay-as-you-feel café and daily market stall in the school grounds.

Fuel for School is now working with more than 35 primary schools in the Leeds area, delivering surplus food once a week, which is used for breakfast clubs, ingredients in cooking classes, or through school market stalls.

To cope with the increasing demand for information, the Leeds Beckett students were tasked with developing educational resources and activities which both support Fuel for School’s core values and provide an opportunity for pupils to use some of the surplus food provided in the classroom.

Fuel For School Portrait

The new educational pack was launched recently at Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley Campus, where Adam Smith, Founder of The Real Junk Food Project, Nathan Atkinson, Head Teacher Richmond Hill, and Kevin Mackay, Co-ordinator of Fuel for School, presented and demonstrated the work to a range of schools from across West Yorkshire.

“It has been a privilege to work on this project”, said Dr Anne Temple Clothier, Senior Lecturer in the Carnegie School of Education. “It has been a delight to be engaged in a multi-disciplinary team and to co-create social innovation. This innovative project has greatly enhanced the professional development of the students and their employability. Working in a range of problem solving sub-groups, they experienced situations mirroring real-life professional practice.”

The Real Junk Food Project was founded four years ago by Adam Smith, who was appalled to find out that around one third of all food produced across the world ends up in landfill. Adam started with a pay-as-you-feel café in Armley where food that would have been wasted is cooked and served by volunteers. Food can be paid for by either money or time and labour. This has led to an international network of 110 cafes which has, so far, saved more than 107,000 tons of food from being wasted.

Adam has now opened England’s first pay-as-you-feel surplus supermarket in Pudsey.


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HopCity Brings world Famous Brews to Leeds

Photos by: • Instagram/Twitter: @tomjoyphoto

Photos by: • Instagram/Twitter: @tomjoyphoto

Northern Monk Brew Co. welcomes some of the most cutting-edge breweries to Leeds for a celebration of hops. Leeds’ HopCity, 13th – 15th April, sponsored by US hop growing collective Yakima Chief, is produced in association with Leeds Beer Week and Little Leeds Beer House.

Beer lovers will be salivating at the prospect of sampling the likes of US breweries The Alchemist (Vermont), brewer of the world, beating Heady Topper and Other Half (New York) – two hop-forward breweries that have achieved legendary status among beer fans. These breweries rarely visit Europe – HopCity will be one of the only places to try their delicious beverages.

A strong Scandinavian contingent will also be attending, including Dry & Bitter and Stigbergets (producers of one of the top 10 IPAs in the world), o/o and Alefarm. This line-up is backed up by the likes of Manchester’s Cloudwater Brewery (fresh from receiving the accolade of Fifth Best Brewery in the world), Magic Rock, Beavertown, The Kernel, Siren, Brewdog and Marble, plus a local contingent curated by Leeds Beer Week.

The festival will be the first European festival to focus solely on hops and hop-led beer styles. IPAs feature heavily – think Session, Double, Black, and Belgian IPAs, and some more left field examples like dry hopped sours, and hoppy dark beers. In particular, people will be gunning for the Hop City official beer. Produced in collaboration with Cloudwater Brewery, this limited edition IPA showcases some of the best hops available and has been produced especially for the festival. It will launch very soon in cans with peel-to-reveal labels, five of which will contain Golden Tickets to the festival.  There will also be excellent street food provided by Patty Smiths, Holy Crab, Parmstar, Manjits Kitchen, and Dim Sum Su.

Tickets cost £12+ booking fee for single sessions from Thursday through to Saturday. A ‘Full Cone’ ticket gives access to all sessions and is priced at £60+ booking fee.

Full details are available at

Tickets – 

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School Children Say ‘No’ To Exploitation


Children from 15 primary and secondary schools across Leeds, will come together during Fairtrade Fortnight on Thursday 9th March to run an afternoon of workshops which they have planned around the theme ‘Take a Break for Fairtrade’.

The aim is to educate each other about Fairtrade and how it is enabling farmers around the world to earn a fair wage and lead dignified lives. Supported by Leeds DEC and the city’s Fairtrade group, the seventh annual Fairtrade School Celebration is taking place next Thursday 9th March at Leeds Civic Hall. The official opening is at 1pm with speeches by the Lord Mayor of Leeds and Councillor Mulherrin.

During the event the children will run workshops, including child slavery in the cocoa trade, Fairtrade trivial pursuit, chocolate tasting and learning about the journey of the cocoa bean. Throughout the afternoon, they will be thinking about effects of unfair trade and at 2pm will symbolically break a giant paper chain covered in words relating to exploitation.

For some of the participants this will be this first time they have organised peer-education activities, for others they enjoyed it so much last year they are taking part again!

“It’s really exciting to run a workshop at the Civic Hall and work with other children”, said Poppy Fletcher (8) from Ireland Wood Primary School.

Fairtrade Fortnight occurs in February/March every year and people all over the UK raise awareness about the positive difference it makes. Leeds is a Fairtrade City and many organisations and businesses support Fairtrade. More widely, Yorkshire led the way to become the UK’s first Fairtrade Region in January 2013.



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Convive Opens at Weetwood Hall

Restaurant manager Gio Conti with Martin Hicks, MD of Convive and Weetwood Hall

Restaurant Manager Gio Conti with Martin Hicks, MD of Weetwood Hall


‘Convive’, part of the University of Leeds-owned Weetwood Hall estate, has just opened, promising to bring a touch of Mediterranean lifestyle to the suburbs of Leeds.

The 120-seat restaurant and bar, will be twinned with Mediterranean restaurants across Europe, creating inspiration through innovative chef swaps and ingredient sourcing on quality food and drink. Of course, many ingredients used in the dishes on the menu will be sourced from local Yorkshire suppliers.

As part of the £2m spend, which also features an alfresco area under a retractable roof within the gardens, significant investment has gone into the kitchens and kit installation.

Convive is the vision of Martin Hicks, Managing Director of Weetwood Hall who, over the past 25 years, has been responsible for establishing Weetwood Hall as one of the leading hotel and conference venues in the region.

Profits from the Weetwood estate are gift-aided to the University of Leeds and these donations are invested into research and development projects at the University, as well as funding educational resources. Several million pounds has been donated over the past two decades purely from profits generated by Weetwood Hall.

“Convive has been in planning for a long time and I’m delighted my original vision has finally become a reality”, said Martin. “Not only is it a great way to build on 25 years of success at Weetwood Hall, but it’s also an impressive addition to the restaurant and bar scene in Leeds. We’ve created a restaurant to rival anything in the city centre. I’m very proud that the University, and the city of Leeds as a whole, will benefit from any profits generated by Convive.”

For more information visit



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The Leeds Cocktail Experience is Back: Bigger, Better & Bolder



On March 3rd, prepare for another evening of unashamed indulgence from the city’s best bars and restaurants! Hot on the heels of last year’s sell-out debut success, the creators of The Cocktail Experience have gone all out to guarantee complete cocktail perfection!

Hosted once again at premier event space, Aspire, the evening will feature 18 of the city’s biggest and best bar brands, who will be sending their team of expert mixologists and bar wizards.


The event aims to showcase the eclectic spirit of the Leeds bar scene, with a diverse range of brands presenting world class cocktails ranging from classic to bespoke, to the weird, the wonderful and the downright daring.

The Alchemist, Pintura, Manahatta and Revolucion de Cuba are just four of the names returning to the event, which will also see five  new bar brands added to the canon.


Early bird tickets for the event are priced at £15 plus booking fee, which includes two cocktails, with additional drinks available for £5 each. Standard tickets are also priced at £15 plus booking fee, which includes entry and one cocktail.

Exclusive Golden Tickets are priced at £25, which includes a welcome glass of Moet, plus two cocktails. Golden Tickets are limited to 200 and are available to purchase from Event Brite.

Keep up to date with the latest event news at  and via the social pages Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – @TheCocktailEx


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GBBO Winner to Front Breast Cancer Haven Campaign


Frances Quinn

Breast Cancer Haven, the national breast cancer support charity with a centre in Yorkshire, launches its nationwide fundraising campaign, ‘The Big Tea Cosy’ this month. And is inviting everyone to take part by cosying up with friends and loved ones to ‘make a brew for breast cancer’ from 1st – 7th February.

Breast Cancer Haven Yorkshire, will also be hosting its own ‘Tea Cosy’ on Wednesday 1st February, 2 – 4pm at 4-5 The Gateway West, East Street, LS9 8DA, just email to let them know you’re coming.

Big Tea Cosy 12


Breast Cancer Haven has made it easier than ever to host the best tea party in town with a fundraising pack filled with party ideas, invitations, decorations, a show-stopping recipe from Great British Bake Off Winner, Frances Quinn and a selection of gorgeous knitting patterns.  All you need to do is gather your guests and settle down to eat cake, have a cuppa and raise money to help fund the work of the Breast Cancer Haven’s much-needed support centres.

“I am proud to support Breast Cancer Haven’s Big Tea Cosy 2017”, said Frances Quinn. “Everyone affected by breast cancer has their own unique obstacles, concerns and fears that they have to deal with throughout their diagnosis and treatment. Breast Cancer Haven really listens to each person and helps them build a personalised programme of support. So, bake a cake, put the kettle on, gather your friends and family or pick up your knitting needles and let’s raise lots of money to make a difference to the lives of people affected by breast cancer.”

Over 60,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Haven provides vital one-to-one support for thousands of breast cancer patients in the UK, with centres in London, Wessex, Worcester, Hereford and Yorkshire. The Breast Cancer Haven teams work closely with NHS partners to go beyond medical treatment to help service users and their families cope with the wider impact of breast cancer through personalised, specialist care including everything from nutrition, financial advice and counselling, to exercise and complementary therapies.

Visit to order or download your fundraising pack, or text ‘COSY17 £5’ to 70070 to donate.

For more information about The Big Tea Cosy or Breast Cancer Haven, visit  




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Roundhay & Oakwood Festival


The Roundhay and Oakwood Festival is back from the 21st to the 30th October.  There will be a wide variety of events across the area from food & drink to literary to films and meditation with lots of kids activities including dance.

There will be Oktoberfest themed evenings at Preston and Stew and Oyster with a Halloween party at Thomas Osborne. This year also sees the launch of the Roundhay and Oakwood passport which will be a wonderful treasure hunt of things for kids (and adults alike) across the area. This year there will be music at the Gledhow Sports and Social Club from the Roundhay Jazz Band.


More info on the Love Oakwood Page

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