Photo 06-12-2013 07 45 48
There’s a rather special eatery in London Bridge called The Brigade Bar & Bistro. The food is first class. A medley of well sourced ingredients, from farmers-&-suppliers they know and love. The service is nothing less than silver. The welcome. Toasty-warm. But Brigade is no ordinary restaurant. As well as being a delicious destination for the discerning foodie, it’s a social enterprise. Every part of Brigade is about a new approach to food. Together, with the Beyond Food Foundation, they offer vulnerable people catering apprenticeships, giving them tools for a brighter future, creating new opportunities, new experiences and most of all new connections. The perfect venue for Sister Snog’s monthly #firstfridaylunch.

Food glorious food
Variety is the spice of life and every #firstfridaylunch has a different theme & dress code to match. The talented chefs at Brigade get 10 out of 10 for ensuring the food is a perfect complement. At the In The Pink Lunch in June, the waitresses wore blush-cotton-candy-&-candy-floss-pink. Every place setting was dressed with a pink rose (that’s Brigade’s attention to detail for you). In October everyone wore shades of purple. Lavender crème brulée with manuka honey ice cream left everyone gasping for more. Apple-&-bramble crumble with thyme custard set the tastebuds in complete turmoil. The cuisine is always top notch. With a little twist or unexpected touch. That’s why Sister Snog will be camping out there in 2014.

Dine out on digital
You should see the Christmas menu. A masterpiece. Which has also been transcribed-&-transformed into a Yuletide Doo-wop. Could well be a first. The stars of the show this week (it’s a moveable feast that’ll be added to throughout December) are a host of game delegates who pitched up to the inaugural Digital Marketing Show at ExCel between 26th – 28th November 2013. Nick James, producer of The Digital Marketing Show said on The Marketers Forum:

Our mission is to help mainstream UK businesses compete in a digital world…with digital moving at such a fast pace, there is obviously an appetite for information and advice. Excel in November is the place to be.

As well as the usual (and not so usual) suspects and gallery of fabulous speakers, on Stand A50 were two maverick-movie-maestros, Jez Kay-&-Erwin de Boer. They had something a little left of field up their sleeve to get the crowd engaged.

The power of the crowd
Thanks to social media no one is a ‘lone nut‘ any longer. Crowds-tribes-&-circles create movements-&-communities that can change-&-influence anything from the end of apartheid (RIP Nelson Mandela), the flavour of a drink to crowdfunding for a brand new venture. The crowd today can even catapult a tune to the top of the charts and follow in the footsteps of Band Aid.

YouTube sensation
In 2011 Matt Berry created the first ever crowd-sourced Christmas song, called (interestingly) “A Christmas Song” by Matt Berry and Everyone to raise money for Shelter. Matt received thousands of contributions via YouTube, from as far afield as the USA, Australia, Canada, Portugal, Spain and of course, all over the UK and Ireland. Submissions came in from toddlers to senior citizens, playing the kazoo, harmonica, guitar, organ, piano, shakers & of course the glockenspiel (well it wouldn’t be Christmas otherwise)!

I was completely overawed and humbled by the amount of people who sent in their solo and group efforts. If it was audible, it went in. We also attempted to include absolutely everyone in the video. Personally it was a total joy to work on and I have to thank all my friends and colleagues in the UK and overseas who, out of the goodness of their hearts, helped make it work.

Twitter tops the charts
In the same year the first-ever charity single recorded using Twitter, #twitterxmassingle made it to the top slot in Ireland. Written by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson, ‘Winter Song‘ came about after Brenda Drumm from Newbridge in Co Kildare tweeted on Saturday November 19 ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a Twitter Xmas Single?’ Within hours @BrendaDrumm was getting tweets from musicians, singers, studio technicians & other well-wishers across the country eager to help. Within two weeks she took a tweet, turned it into a single and became hot news in the Belfast Telegraph:

I had no idea that anything like this would happen and it really just shows the power of Twitter and the generosity and goodwill in the hearts of Irish people.

#foodiewop meets the crowd
Goodwill-&-generosity was plentiful at the Digital Marketing Exhibition. Particularly at stand A50. Everyone who visited was invited to take part in a music video, which was being filmed to raise awareness of the Beyond Food Foundation. All they had to do was sing a line about honest to goodness-far-out-fabulous F.O.O.D. Handsome food. Frisky food. Tasty food. Food such as:

  • Foraged mushrooms on sour dough
  • Pressed & pan fried old spot ham hock
  • Dark chocolate parfait with a hint of rose

Christmas jumpers, woolly bobble hats, antlers & Rudolf noses were supplied & #foodiewop came alive.

Get festive with #foodiewop
Matt-&-Brenda captured the crowd’s imagination. They created an open stage, where anyone and everyone could join in. And that’s the spirit of #foodiewop. Sister Snog is supporting Jez-&-Erwin in their quest to help raise awareness of Brigade & The Beyond Food Foundation. It’s an open invitation. If you want to join the crowd:

  • Head over to YouTube & sing-a-long to #foodiewop
  • Become a #foodiewopper fan on Facebook & join in the banter
  • #FF @Beyond_Food & @BrigadeSE1 with & feed the stream with the hashtag (you’ve guessed it) #foodiewop
  • Spread the word on #charitytuesday
  • Book-&-dine-out over Christmas at Brigade & say hello to the chefs (if you’re in London)
  • Join the Brigade PA Club (if you’re a PA of course)
  • Visit the Beyond Food website & find out more about what a big difference having fun with food can have

Food makes Christmas special. Help the Beyond Food Foundation continue to make Brigade a special place for food.