Week of online activity to celebrate city’s hospitality scene

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A brand new online TV style show is launching next week with the aim of providing a platform to celebrate the city’s amazing hospitality scene as venues open their doors and welcome people back.

Digital Food Week will run from Monday 10th May-Sunday 16th May, putting the focus firmly on the sector to showcase how great it is in the city.

Brought to the city by Chapter 81 and Welcome to Leeds (a LeedsBID project), its concept is simple – to provide an opportunity for businesses from the Leeds’ food and drink scene to tell their stories, reignite the passion for what they do and get people excited about going out to sample what’s on offer once again.

Broadcast journalists Johnny I’Anson, Larry Budd and Beth Parsons, alongside chef and owner of Holy Mountain Kitchen, Harry Johns – all well-known faces (and voices) of the Leeds hospitality scene will be part of the live TV show, with a range of other events taking place throughout the week.

Speaking about Digital Food Week, founder of Chapter 81, Simon Fogal, said: “We’re passionate about Leeds and its amazing food and drink scene. There are so many businesses large and small out there that have taken a huge hit over the past year and we want to shine a light on them and get the people of Leeds excited about going out in the city and helping to kick start their local economy once more.

“We’ll be looking at all elements of the hospitality sector – food and drink, but also advice for anyone wanting to start a hospitality business. With so many businesses taking part in various different ways, the week is set to be one of the biggest collaboration festivals ever.”

The week will feature some lunchtime chats with topics ranging from the recovery of the hospitality sector to what people can expect to find on the Leeds indie food and drink scene, as well as mental health – an area where support was distinctly lacking for those in the hospitality sector who were struggling to cope throughout its closure. The Nationwide Caterers Association will be hosting a chat offering advice about getting into street food.

Martin Dickson from LeedsBID which is behind Welcome to Leeds, said: “This is such an exciting time for Leeds. In collaboration with Chapter 81, we have created some great video content welcoming people back to Leeds and reminding them of the amazing things to see, do and taste around the city, and this is an extension of that which goes a little deeper.

“We’ll delve into the hospitality sector as a whole and speak to people who are equally as passionate about Leeds as we are. We are really keen for as many people to tune in as possible and encourage them to come back to the city they know and love, experiencing what each venue has to offer.”!”

A segment called the “Big Picture” will feature chats with the people behind some of the city’s best loved indies as well as supporters of the scene. Expect to hear from Andrew Cooper, chief executive at LeedsBID; Becci Erbillur-Gray, city centre project manager at Leeds City Council; and founder of Escapism Bar Group, Phil Harrison, amongst others, as the team behind Leeds Digital Food Week goes about opening up the conversation around food and drink being a culture.

Those tuning in can expect to hear from chef guests, such as Liz Cottam, Rob Hallas and Ben Davy, as well as buy a selection of beers to take part in tasting chats with some of Leeds’ best known breweries, such as Northern Monk, North Brew Co and Anthology. There will also be some fun show-and-tells from Doh Hut, Big Guys Thicc Sauce, Laynes Espresso, Swine That Dines and Spice and Green

Host Beth Parsons will head out into the city, visiting Sarto, Rola Wala, Ox Club, Manjit’s Kitchen and Harvey Nichols, learning to cook with some of Leeds’ best chefs. Meanwhile, host Harry Johns will be highlighting what’s on offer in the city’s excellent suburbs and will chat to street food traders, delving into hospitality on a broader scale.

Each show will end with some of Leeds’ newest musical talent recommended by Music:Leeds. What’s more, all of these chats are free to attend and join in via Welcome to Leeds YouTube channel or across social media including Leeds Indie Food, Welcome to Leeds and Chapter 81.