Steamed Bao Buns Recipe

Great British Chefs White Paper: international flavours

by Great British Chefs 26 September 2017

As a nation we’ve embraced cuisines from all over the world, meaning it’s not always traditional British dishes that grace our tables. But which cuisines do we love to cook at home the most, and how often are we actually cooking ‘British’? Read our white paper to find out.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

As delicious as pies, hotpots and Sunday roasts are, a bit of variety at the dinner table is always welcome. We’ve always been a nation of magpies, incorporating foreign techniques, international ingredients and flavour combinations into our own dishes. Chicken tikka masala is often billed as Britain’s national dish; we often turn to pasta when we’re after some comfort food and rice is starting to replace potatoes and bread more and more.

We have two things to thank for this change in British eating habits. It’s never been easier to travel the world, seeing and tasting first-hand the food of other nations and cultures. It’s also never been easier to find the ingredients needed to cook these dishes back in the UK. Supermarkets now have whole aisles dedicated to international cuisines, and there are specialist food shops in every city offering more unusual or rare ingredients.

We wanted to find out just how significant this shift in British eating habits is, which is why we asked over 5,000 foodies based in the UK how they view British food and what they cook and eat at home. We looked at Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Korean in particular, as these are cuisines that require a lot of specialist ingredients to cook from scratch at home. The results showed that while British cuisine is cooked by 99% of home cooks, less than half of all meals would be described as what we think of as classic British. This certainly ties in with the recipes on Great British Chefs – over 90% of the 4,000 recipes on the website represent global cuisines.

Overall, the cuisines British foodies like to cook the most are a mix of Asian and European, which perhaps isn’t that surprising. What is interesting, however, is that Chinese is more popular than French, and Mexican – a relatively new addition to the British culinary canon – is more popular than Thai. As a nation we’re getting more and more adventurous when it comes to choosing where to go on holiday, and the food we choose to cook when we get back home is often inspired by these trips. Over 75% of those who have visited India on holiday also cook the country’s cuisine at home from scratch.

Thailand was the most popular holiday destination for British people in 2016 and, while the country’s cuisine can be tricky to recreate at home without relying on ready-made elements, almost two-thirds of ‘Committed Foodies’ have done so. Even a third of ‘Weekend Foodies’ – less ambitious cooks when compared to ‘Committed Foodies’ – have given it a go.

Emerging cuisines such as Japanese and Korean are also on the rise, especially among ‘Committed Foodies’. This group of home cooks is more than happy to make a trip to a speciality food shop to track down a specific ingredient that can’t be found in a mainstream supermarket, and are fine with putting in extra time and effort to create something truly authentic. It’s clear that what Brits cook and eat at home is changing and ‘British food’ isn’t what we might assume it is – for more information and our results in full, download our full white paper below.