Interview by Valentina Celi, Article by Ilaria Edja Gallo
Interview with Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health.
Last night, Wednesday 28th September, from 6pm to midnight at Le Meridien Piccadilly, we celebrated Italian food, drink and culture. The event has been organised by CLWCA conservative Italian Group 2016 in collaboration with APCI UK, the Association of Italian Professional Chefs in the UK.
Many prominent political guests, such as Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Mark Field MP, Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, Alberto Costa MP, South Leicestershire, Zac Goldsmith MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston and Dr Tania Mathias MP for Twickenham attended this amazing and successful event together with 450 guests.
The celebration has been accompanied by the amazing entertainment given by the acclaimed Italian tenor Yuri Sabatini and Giuseppe Mauriello, Laura Araldo, the guitarist Domenico Ranieri and The Tony P Riccio Trio.
LondonONEradio managed to question Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health about the importance of the mediterranean diet:
Do you think it is important to support the mediterranean diet and to promote it in the UK?
Absolutely, because we now have a huge amount of evidence that mediterranean diet is less salt, less red meat, more fish, olive oil instead of butter and this reduces cholesterol and therefore it reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, even things like Alzheimer and dementia. So it’s the best way of eating healthily and it’s also delicious. So most of this diet you go on, you have to deny yourself the best things, but actually the mediterranean diet is healthy and delicious so we would love more people to be on the mediterranean diet.
What is your plan of action about obesity? We know that in the past few years Uk developed and faced severe problems linked to obesity.
Well, we have the second largest problem with obesity in the whole of Europe, and we are very worried particularly for children who spend a lot of time behind computers, not as much time as they used to out and about playing. So we have a big plan to change it: we want to get children more active, we want to encourage manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their food as there’s a lot of sugar in things like frozen pizzas, and actually you can reduce the sugar and not affect the taste. So we want to encourage people, encourage the manufacturers to do that, but we also need to promote understanding among consumers about an healthy diet and certainly mediterranean diet is a big part of that.
So is it possible to say that embracing the mediterranean diet would be the “best thing” for the UK population?
I think that we have to be careful because in this country people don’t like politicians telling them what to eat, so probably if you want to promote a mediterranean diet it’s not helpful to have Jeremy Hunt telling everyone to eat it. But I think you do the best job marketing it yourself. I mean the quality of Italian food that you can get in the UK, now, is transformed compared to 20 or 30 years ago. But I think, what I can do is to encourage everyone to recognize that olive oil is more healthy than butter, that fish is more healthy than red meat, and Italian food is a great way to enjoy those things.
Last but not least: which is your favourite Italian dish?
My favourite Italian dish? I have absolutely no hesitation in telling you the answer to that. I have a small holiday house in Sicily and the “Antipasti” from Sicily, they are my favourite. I am sorry if you’re from the north of Italy, but they are much nicer than “antipasti” from the North. And my daughter favourite dish,
without doubt, is Gelato, but for me it’s the “antipasti”.
The event had both an educational and charitable aim: in fact, the 20% of profits from the tickets sale will be used to help the people struck by the earthquake in Italy.