IMG_3342An inspired take on the ploughman’s lunch gave everyone at Robinson’s brewery an insight into the wonders of microorganisms.

Following hugely successful gourmet-dining event at Harvey Nichols, the second in a series of events continued its aim of generating a more positive public image for microorganisms, by highlighting their value in food production, preservation and nutrition, this time at Robinson’s brewery in Stockport.


Joanna Verran, Professor of Microbiology at Manchester Met, and the ‘beer chef’ Richard Fox gave the audience a St Patrick’s Day to remember with a beer, bread and cheese bonanza – by creating an ‘extreme’ ploughman’s lunch.  The menu contained cheesy delights, such as Kaltbach Alpine and Snowdonia Red Leicester, as well as a fine selection of breads including Rude Health rye bread and pickles.


Prof Verran said: “In general, microbes don’t have a good reputation. Yet while some cause disease and decay, the vast majority of the planet’s microorganisms are not harmful to us, and actually produce alcohol, acids and other molecules that add flavour, texture and nutritional value to food, as well as helping to preserve it.  The event at Robinson’s brewery has been a great way to highlight the key role microorganisms play in the development of food and drink.”


The microorganisms break down complex molecules in food to provide the energy they require, in a process used throughout history called fermentation.  Barley is fermented by yeast to make beer, and the same yeast is used to make bread, whilst the fermentation of milk by bacteria produces cheese.


Amir Javaid was a guest at Robinsons, he said: “The event was amazing, it was fantastic to learn the role microbes play in making our food and drinks, and I definitely have a new appreciation for microorganisms.”


The third in the series takes Menus Made by Microbes outdoors for a world picnic experience on the 12th June, as part of the 2016 European City of Science celebrations held in Manchester.  Families, friends and other groups will be invited to bring picnics comprising as many different fermented and microbiologically inspired foods as possible. There will be opportunity to create and sample some more unusual food types and to learn about safe picnicking.



  • “Really enjoyed the event: the spread of food was particularly impressive and the talks were very engaging. Would love to attend again in the future.”
  • “Really informative, great event with amazing beers and food to match. Plus I won the yeast competition!”
  • “It was a good, informal event – interesting and fun.”
  • “Very informative and interesting. Great informal night of science, beer and food, what more can you ask for!”