The news today that the BBC will be archiving 11,000 of its recipes came as a shock to many. As part of an agreement with the Government, the BBC’s online presence is being scaled back across a number of areas – one of which is food. According to Authoritas, the BBC rank for 3.8 million keywords in the UK and capture almost thirteen percent of organic searches for food. While on the surface this might seem like a positive result for a website like ours, we are very much against this approach being taken. Those recipes are part of Britain’s culinary and cultural legacy, which have helped shape and transform the consumer’s love of food for the past decade. These are now seemingly at risk of being digitally eradicated.
The closure of the BBC Food website means the public may no longer have access to recipes from nine series of Great British Menu, fifty-four episodes’ worth of recipes from The Great British Bake Off and countless dishes from MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen. While some may be moved over to BBC Good Food, there’s a likelihood many will be lost completely, unless you know the exact URL of the recipe’s page. People – from the chefs themselves to recipe editors and website managers – have put time and effort into making these available to the public, and for an archive of recipes to vanish overnight is terrible news.
Even in the world of Michelin-starred chef recipes – our speciality – we don’t want to see already existing content disappear just because we don’t host it. On BBC Food Brian Turner has 340 recipes, Rick Stein has 103, Tom Kerridge has 100, Raymond Blanc has seventy-seven, Michael Caines has fifty-nine and Michel Roux Jr has forty-one. Whilst the majority of these recipes don’t have images, something we have always been obsessed by, they are great recipes. These are internationally renowned chefs that provide great inspiration to ambitious home cooks; having their recipes online is an incredible resource and to make them unavailable will do nothing but hinder our general cooking knowledge.