Manchester restaurant Dishoom has been praised online after one of its servers scribbled the calorie counts off its menu at a customer’s request.
Calorie labelling on menus became a legal requirement for restaurant groups employing over 250 staff in the UK earlier this month, but the move has already been widely criticised by eating disorder charities, restauranteurs, chefs and food critics.
Visiting Dishoom’s popular Manchester restaurant over the weekend, English teacher Sophie Bartlett asked the staff for a menu without the calories listed next to every dish but was told that they didn’t have one – so one of her servers took a pen and scribbled them all off for her instead.
Sharing an image of the menu alongside her experience in the restaurant to Twitter, Sophie praised Dishoom and her server Georgia, writing: “Massive kudos to @Dishoom Manchester – I asked for a menu without calories but they didn’t have one so one of the staff (Georgia) took a menu and scribbled out all the calories for me.”
The restaurant has since replied to Sophie to say that it will be adding a calorie free menu option, available on request, at all of its sites ‘very soon’.
The tweet from Dishoom in reply said: “Hi Sophie, I’m glad to hear our Manchester team was able to help. We will be having an option of a calorie free menu, if requested, very soon in all our cafes.”
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News yesterday, Sophie described the government’s new calorie labelling legislation as a ‘lazy’ response to promoting health and wellness in the UK.
She said: “I know some restaurants have calorie-free menus available upon request already, I visited three restaurants over the weekend at the servers at each of them said they disagreed with the policy – one of the servers ever offered to handwrite out the entire menu for me.
“I think this is a lazy, cheap and easy solution to the ‘obesity problem’ that has allegedly cropped up since Covid. This has been done in the US and hasn’t worked. There is also SO much more to nutrition than calorie intake.
“I fear it will create such a negative relationship with food with people – particularly women. I think there should at least be the option of a calorie free menu – and to have it offered, not just upon request.”
Sophie’s original tweet has since been liked over 16,000 times with hundreds piling into the comments to give their thoughts on the new calorie-listed menus.
One person wrote in reply, “This is great, a calorie listed menu should be available to those who want it rather than forced on everyone.”
A third wrote, “Jumping in to answer this. 🙂 For people with a history of eating disorders, seeing calories on a menu can spark intense anxiety and inhibit their recovery (Or potentially stop them eating anything which is heartbreaking to witness)”
Another said, “I wish I could remember the exact numbers for you but children are like 200% more likely to develop an eating disorder than diabetes. Our societies obsession with diets and weight is causing a lot of problems for our kids. :(“
Read more:‘Until I’m forced to do it, I wouldn’t’ says Simon Wood as calorie counts added to UK menus
However, some users appeared to be in support of the calorie labelling system and defended the new calorie labelling system.
The Department of Health and Social Care has said that obesity is one of the biggest health issues being faced in the UK today, and claims that food labelling plays an important role in helping people to make healthier choices.
A spokesperson added people were ‘used to seeing nutritional information on products sold in supermarkets’ and that the governments’ policy has been informed by extensive research conducted with mental health charities and experts.
Feature image – Dishoom
The UK could be at risk of a roast potato shortage this Christmas
Ok, we don’t mean to alarm you but, according to the latest reports, Christmas dinner plates could be at risk of scrimping on a major component as there is a threat of a roast potato shortage this holiday season.
Please, for the love of all things holy and festive, no — we’ll do anything protect our roasties and gravy.
While there’s often talk of supermarket shortages and supply problems when it comes to the busiest time of year, it seems that the Great British potato-loving people might genuinely have to cut back on the amount of roast spuds we were intending over the next few months due to recent storms.
Following what has already gone down as one of the toughest harvest on record, the yield of potato crops have been hit hard by the ‘Autumn washout’, with fields being waterlogged by the likes of Storm Babet, Ciarán, Debi and more, meaning that farmers have been unable to harvest lots of their produce.
Farmer James Lacey explained how there is around £200,000 worth of potatoes that he and his team simply can’t harvest and that they are struggling to hold on to those already pulled out, as even such sturdy vegetables as potatoes just “don’t like this kind of weather and aren’t storing very well”.
This is just the story of farmer’s plot of land too; unfortunately, current figures project that roughly 20% of this autumn’s potato crop has been flooded and will likely be unsalvageable, with the majority of rotting spuds only fit for animal feed.
Although the figures are still unclear, it is estimated that the latest potato crop is tipped for a record low of 4.1 milllon tonnes — for context, on average and in their various forms, Brits eat around 250m potatoes at Christmas every year.
Sadly, it doesn’t stop there either as due to the almost unprecedented rainfall over the last few months and back-to-back storms, combined with the increasingly frosty conditions now creeping across the UK, the likes of broccoli, carrots, parnsips are all under threat.
As a result, retailers are already being forced to supplement their supplies from cold storage which, obviously, isn’t endless.
With shortages of different vegetables are increasing week upon week and as well as the impact it is having in restaurants already, the knock-on effect it may have on supermarkets with people raiding the freezers to get frozen roasties at the ready just in case could be massive.
The recent miserable weather isn’t getting any better either as the North West is one of many regions that has been hit by a cold snap this week, with the Met Office and UKHSA issuing an amber health alert.
Manchester secures £5.2m funding to build ‘supported accommodation’ for rough sleepers
Manchester has secured a whopping £5.2 million in funding to build new ‘supported accommodation’ designed to house rough sleepers.
After an application submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP) has been approved this week, Manchester City Council says it’s eager to help the former homeless “rebuild their lives”.
This means that, by working in partnership with housing and support providers Humankind, Jigsaw, and Great Places, the Council will oversee the creation of 42 units of supported housing across three different schemes.
The schemes are for single people with a history of rough sleeping and longer-term support needs.
According to the Council, these people will stay in this accommodation and receive personalised support until they are ready to “take the next step to independent living”.
This new £5.2 million funding allocation from the Government covers both the cost of creating the accommodation – which must be completed by March 2025 at the latest – and revenue funding to help run it for its first three years of opening.
“We are working with a range of partners to tackle the homelessness challenge on all fronts, from prevention in the first place to helping people into permanent, settled homes,” explained Cllr Joanna Midgley, who is the Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council.
“Securing this £5.2m funding for the city will help us create much-needed extra accommodation for those being helped off the streets who need significant long-term support before they are ready to live independently.
“It’s only part of a wider response but it will be a welcome addition to the accommodation and support available.”
The news of the successful application comes after the Council published its plan to get rough sleepers off the streets of Manchester and into temporary accommodation this winter back in early November.