Broadcasting, Talks, Chairing & Debates


BBC Radio Scotland

Simon is presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s Street Feast,  co-presenter of weekly food programme Kitchen Cafe and has also produced features for Personal Best.

BBC Radio 4

Simon has presented and co-presented three episodes of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, including an episode about Secret Paladares in June 2009, a feature on EAT! NewcastleGateshead in June 2010 and a profile of the Newcastle food scene broadcast in January 2016.

In 2017 Simon produced and recorded a feature (listen at 43:40) for BBC Radio 4’s PM about The Screen Machine cinema, visiting Arran after 20 years touring the highlands and islands of Scotland.


In September 2017 Simon hosted the live-stream performance and post-show discussion of Rosie Kay Dance Company’s acclaimed 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline from London. The live-stream was broadcast via BBC Arts, Facebook and You-tube.


Edinburgh International Book Festival

In 2017 and 2018 Simon chaired author discussion events; Maryn McKenna about her book Plucked! The Truth About Chicken, Prakash K Sivanathan and Niranjala M Ellawala about their first book, Sri Lanka – The Cookbook; Fuchsia Dunlop about Land of Fish and Rice; and first time author Davy Zyw about I Love Champagne.

Cove & Kilcreggan Book Festival

In 2017 Simon hosted book events with author and cookery writer Sue Lawrence and with broadcaster and food expert Rachel McCormack.

Rosie Kay Dance Company

Simon has chaired numerous post-show discussions following performances of 5 Soldiers at the Edinburgh Fringe and MK Ultra at the Southbank Centre, London.


Simon has delivered lectures at Sunderland, Newcastle, Northumbria and Napier Universities.

His recent talks and panel discussions have included:

  • A talk on ‘Food & Art’ followed by panel discussion at the Lumiere Durham Conference, part of the UK’s largest light festival  (November 2013)
  • A talk and Q&A on ‘Food Innovation – the Future of the Culinary Experience’ at #foodfutures, a Design in Action chiasma (October 2015)
  • Simon devised, curated and chaired the following panel discussions as part of Festival of Thrift (September 2015 – 2018)

So you consider yourself an ethical consumer? Think again. (2018)

You recycle, you avoid plastics, you choose sustainable fish and free range eggs, you’ve cut down on red meat… but is it enough? Could you be doing more? How do you decide where to draw the line? What price do you put on welfare? And how can you be certain that your good intentions don’t have unintended and damaging consequences?

Join Thrift food guru Simon Preston and guest panellists for a provocative and enlightening discussion that will explode some myths, challenge accepted thinking and encourage us all to reflect on the choices we make.

The Vegan Revolution – which side are you on? (2017)

All of a sudden Veganism is right on trend; cool celebs are at it, millennials are converting in swathes, dot com investors are clamouring to get into vegan fast food and sales of vegan products are going through the roof. But would a totally vegan world really be a healthier, kinder and more sustainable place? Or are we just swapping one set of global problems for another?

Listen to panellists Dr. Duika Burgess Watson, Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, dairy farmer Paul Tompkins, Tony Galuidi who is Director of The Earthbeat Centre in Saltburn and Gary Routledge, Sales Director of Quorn and take part in the discussion. Chaired by Simon Preston, food innovator and guru at Festival of Thrift.

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candy Maker (2016)

After years of decline, is the High Street making a come-back? A new wave of young and young-at-heart entrepreneurs are rediscovering traditional skills like brewing, preserving and fishmongery and risking everything to start small scale businesses.

Find out what it takes to throw in the towel, start over and join a growing army of artisan food and drink makers in 2016.

Panelists Luke Harding – owner of The Waiting Room – who is an artist turned restaurateur and brewer; Bev Stephenson – ex-journalist and now chocolatier; Kirsty Cruikshank who swapped the civil service for fishmongery, and Gareth Kyle who quit a career in banking to train as a chef – all tell their stories and answer your questions.

What’s For Binner? (2015)

A growing army of urban foragers are dining for free on the food that we throw away or leave unpicked and rotting in fields. Are these dumpster divers and supermarket scrumpers heroically saving the planet? Or is it just plain daylight robbery?

Chaired by Food Guru Simon Preston (Radio 4’s The Town is the Menu, co-founder of NewcastleGateshead’s iconic EAT! Festival and our own iconic Bistro du Van and food programme) this talk will involve food panellists Pia Castleton – Forager and Supper Club Chef; Dr Duika Burges Watson – Food Policy specialist and Beth Rawlins – Co-Director of Newcastle’s Magic Hat Cafe, which upcycles surplus food and invites customers to pay-what-they-feel. Together they will lift the dustbin lid on the rise of freeganism and answer your not-so-trashy questions!