Geoff Talbot

Geoff Talbot
Food Scientist & Technologist

Geoff Talbot spent 35 years working directly in the food industry with the Unilever group and has followed this with 13 years as a consultant advising the food industry. During his career he has studied the use of oils and fats in a wide variety of foods, but notably, in chocolate and confectionery, ice cream, and bakery products. He has also advised blue chip food companies on ways to improve their 'healthiness' of their products.

The geographical scope of this work has taken him from the UK and Ireland into many parts of continental Europe (especially Switzerland and the Nordic countries), Turkey and South Korea.

As a consultant, he has advised both food companies and the UK Government’s Food Standards Agency. He has written and edited four books and has lectured widely at scientific conferences, food industry training courses and to more general audiences.

He had a three year tenure as a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University and is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Food Science and Technology. Not surprisingly, he enjoys cooking as well as reading, music, country walking and travel as forms of relaxation.

In 2017, he added Port and Destination Speaking to his portfolio of talks and has talked about the ports of call and destinations in the Nordic countries, France, Spain and Portugal.

He and his wife, Cilla, have travelled widely, both independently and with organised groups. They have cruised the Baltic, the western Mediterranean, around the Greek islands, round Britain, the Caribbean and up to the Northern Lights as well as the Amazon, Rhine, Danube and Douro rivers.

Food Talk 1 - Chocolate – the Food of the Gods.

Of all the food uses there are of oils and fats, chocolate is the one that Geoff has worked the most with and so he is able to talk on many aspects of this subject. This particular talk takes the audience through the history of cocoa and chocolate (from the Mayans and Aztecs to the development of the first chocolate bars), on to the way in which cocoa and chocolate is processed, to the nutritional aspects of chocolate, ending with some interesting and amusing trivia about chocolate.

Food Talk 2 - TV Dinners – the Rise of Ready Meals

Beginning with things that might be considered the forerunners of ready meals (pasties, sandwiches and so on), Geoff takes the audience through the early developments of ready meals (or TV Dinners as they are also known) and what prompted these, through to changes in technology and consumer attitudes that resulted in today’s ready meals. He also considers some of the nutritional aspects of examples of ready meals as well as some of the ‘scandals’, such as BSE and horsemeat, that have affected their acceptability.

Food Talk 3 - Fats - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The rise in obesity has prompted people to look more closely at the food they eat and, particularly, at what components of the diet may be causing this. Inevitably, fat has borne the brunt of this – but is this totally fair? As the editor of a book on ‘Reducing saturated fat in food’ Geoff has a lot of knowledge in this area. This talk looks at the fats that we consume and the foods that contain them and separates them into which fats are nutritionally good for us and which ones are not. It dispels many of the myths often seen in the media about fat in our diet and explains the effects that different fats have on our health.

Food Talk 4 - Ice cream

In many ways this complements the talk on chocolate. It covers the history of ice cream from its early days more as a frozen sorbet to the development of more conventional ice cream. It looks at the rise of the main UK producers of ice cream and then goes on to cover what ice cream is composed of and how it is made. The next section looks at the development of various ice cream products from the early days of cornets, briquettes and choc ices to the modern day branded impulse products and, as with the chocolate lecture, ends with some trivia related to ice cream.

Food Talk 5 - The Mediterranean Diet.

There is a lot of evidence that people living in Mediterranean countries have a healthier diet, so what is at about their diet that makes it so healthy? Indeed, is there any real evidence that it works and, if so, how/why does it work? This talk looks at the background to the diet and what it is composed of, evaluates the nutritional benefits of specific components of the diet and examines recent research on the effects that the Mediterranean diet has on various 'lifestyle diseases'

Food Talk 6 - Olive Oil.

Olive oil has been used for millennia for food, for fuel, for light and for cosmetic and religious purposes. The talk covers aspects of its history, its use, its production and different qualities and its importance as a component of the Mediterranean diet (see Talk 5). The lectures on good fats and bad fats (talk 3), olive oil (talk 6) and the Mediterranean diet (talk 5) can be used together as one logically leads into the next.

Food Talk 7 - Diets - The Pros and Cons.

Most people will have tried a diet at some time or other. This talk looks at some of the most popular diets (Atkins Diet, Paleo Diet, South Beach Diet, Slimming World and Weight Watchers Diets and the 5:2 Diet. It briefly explains the basis of the diets and what their good and bad points are to help people make a more informed choice of diet after their cruise is over.

Food Talk 8 - Spanish Food - It's Not All Paella!

A culinary history of Spain, from the invasion of the Moors in the 8th century through to the present day showing how the different cultures in Spain throughout those centuries have influenced and resulted in Spanish cuisine as it now is. The talk ends with a look at the various ports of call of the cruise in Spain and what the local/regional foods are in those areas.

Food Talk 9. Our Favourite British Chocolates

A journey through some of the best loved UK chocolate products including their history, development, how they have changed over the years and how they have been advertised.

Food Talk 10. Fad Diets - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A critical look at some of the diets that are classed as 'fad' diets. The 'Good' diets are those that have some sensible science and nutrition behind them. The 'Bad' diets are those that might give some short-term weight loss but which are too lacking in essential nutrients for longer term use. The 'Ugly' diets are those that are either plain weird or downright dangerous.

Food Talk 11 (in development) - The Foods of Norway

A look at the typical Norwegian diet and cuisine, its composition, its benefits and how it fits with the recently popular Nordic Diet.

Port Talk 1 - La Coruna and Santiago de Compostela

Port Talk 2 - Getxo and Bilbao

Port Talk 3 - Bordeaux

Port Talk 4 - Bergen

Port Talk 5 - Aviles

Port Talk 6 - Santander

Port Talk 7 - Lerwick and the Shetlands

Port Talk 8 - Tromso

Port Talk 9 - Honningsvag

Port Talk 10 - Hammerfest

Port Talk 11 - Bodo

Port Talk 12 - Seydisfjordur

Port Talk 13 - Malmo

Port Talk 14 - Visby

Port Talk 15 - Stockholm

Port Talk 16 - Gothenburg

Port Talk 17 - Copenhagen

Port Talk 18 - Helsinki

Port Talk 19 - St Petersburg

Port Talk 20 - Ronne, Bornholm

Port Talk 21 - Travemunde and Lubeck

ExpertiseFood, Port and Destination
Cruise Experience as Speaker/TutorGuest Speaker on Saga Pearl II 'Flavours of France and Spain' cruise - April 2016. Guest Speaker on Fred Olsen Boudicca 'Tulips and Chocolate' cruise (D1703) - March 2017. Guest Speaker on Fred Olsen Braemar 'French River Cruising' (M1711) - May 2017. Port speaker on Boudicca 'Scenic Spain' (D1722) - September 2017. Guest Speaker on Saga Sapphire (SA331) 'A Spanish Adventure' - Oct/Nov 2017. Port speaker on Fred Olsen Balmoral L1805 ' Spain, Portugal and Madeira' Mar/Apr 2018. Port Speaker on Fred Olsen Braemar (M1810) 'The Diversity of Green Spain'. Apr/May 2018. Destinations Speaker on Saga Sapphire 'Adventure to the North Cape' (SA350) June/July 2018. Port Speaker on Fred Olsen Boudicca D1814 'Swedish Waterways and Classic Cities'. Guest Speaker on Fred Olsen Boudicca D1902 Valentine's cruise to Antwerp and Amsterdam (Feb 2019). Also wide personal experience of cruising on a range of cruise lines and to a range of destinations (Mediterranean, Baltic, Aegean, Adriatic, Caribbean, Australia/New Zealand, Norway, Amazon, round Britain and various European river cruises.