John Dickie

John Dickie is Professor of Italian Studies at University College London. He is the author of the best-sellers Cosa Nostra. A History of the Sicilian Mafia (+/- a million copies sold, translated into 21 languages) and Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and their Food (translated into 10 languages, winner of several prizes), as well as many other books and articles on diverse aspects of Italian history, including natural disasters, national identity, the Catholic church, and bandits. He has a high public profile in Italy, particularly as an expert on organized crime and Italian food.

John’s most recent book is the widely reviewed and acclaimed The Craft: How the Freemasons made the Modern World, which hit the best-seller lists in several countries and has been translated into 10 languages. A new, updated edition of Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and their Food, complete with an ecstatic endorsement by Stanley Tucci, is due in the bookshops for Christmas 2023.

John presented The Mafia’s Secret Bunkers (BBC2, 2013). Since then, he has presented and co-written a trilogy of documentaries on the problems of the Catholic church: Holy Money (2014); The Cross and the Gun (2015); and Behind the Altar (2017). In 2016 his book Delizia! was turned into a 6-part series (Eating History: Italy—or De gustibus in Italy), presented and co-written by John. The series aired right round the world, apart from the UK. In Italy, it was History Channel Italia’s second most popular programme of the year.

For several years John hosted the Barilla Pasta World Championships, held over three days in Milan and Parma. In 2010 he was a judge in the Pesto World Championships in Genoa. In 2021, he hosted the San Pellegrino Young Chef Academy in Milan. He appears regularly on TV, radio and other media across the world to comment on his areas of expertise.

In 2005, the President of the Italian Republic appointed John a Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity), a senior civil honour.

John presents and writes both in English and Italian.

Alex Hutchinson

Alex Hutchinson is an historian, archivist, broadcaster, and author. After spending more than a decade at the world famous Rowntree’s sweet factory in York running their vast in-house archive, she is now an internationally recognised expert in the history of chocolate. Alex is best known for her regular appearances on the hit Channel 5 series The Wonderful World of Chocolate. Alex combines a peerless knowledge of her subject with a passion for making history accessible to all audiences. She is currently the archivist for Yorkshire Tea, Taylor’s coffee, and Betty’s Tea Rooms.

Her other appearances include: A Life Without Work (BBC Two); Newsround (BBC One); Nigel Slater: Life Is Sweets (BBC Four); Calf’s Head and Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food (BBC Four); Antiques Roadshow (BBC One); Antiques Road Trip (BBC One); The One Show (BBC One); Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC One); Channel 4 News (Channel 4); Great British Railway Journeys (BBC One, 2014 & 2015); Inside the Factory (BBC One); Our Dancing Town (BBC Two); and Made in Great Britain (BBC One). Alex regularly reviews the newspapers on BBC Radio York’s Breakfast Show, and has contributed to various BBC Radio programmes, including You and Yours, and the Chocolate episode of Greg Jenner’s history podcast You’re Dead to Me.

A confident public speaker. Alex has entertained sell-out crowds at theatres, cinemas, and community spaces across Yorkshire with her archive film shows, and lectures on the history of Yorkshire’s chocolate industry. In 2012 Alex published a non-fiction coffee table book about the history of the Rowntree’s Chocolate Factory in York, The York Cocoa Works. However, she is better known for her bestselling historical fiction series The Quality Street Girls which is published by HarperCollins in the UK and Canada under her pen name Penny Thorpe.

Nayha Ahmad

Nayha Ahmad is a Radio and TV presenter who currently hosts the Official Asian Chart show on the BBC Asian Network and presents the Sky Arts show ‘Unmuted’ and ‘Desi Beat’ on Colors TV, Sky.

Nayha is an experienced TV presenter, having covered the ITV Gala, National TV Awards, Perfume Awards, Camden’s Music Video Awards, Asian Achievement Awards and the Asian Wedding Show. Nayha has also interviewed a catalogue of high-profile celebrities and artists. Starting out at the digital channel Media Spotlight UK, Nayha has interviewed celebrities such as Sean Paul, Abhishiek Bachan, Shaggy and Christina Milian. In 2017, Nayha joined Whats Up TV (now known as ‘Unmuted’) team as a presenter on the Sky series, where she’s interviewed the likes of Sara Pascoe, Russell Kane, Seal, Rosie Jones and Ella Eyre.

Her first break in radio came at her hometown station Asian Star 101.6FM before progressing to West London’s Westside Radio where she hosted the Westside Chart Show. Other experience included London’s Vibe 107.6FM and commercial radio station Aspen Waite Radio. After featuring regularly on the BBC Asian Network, Nayha was announced as the host of the networks Official Asian Chart show in March 2021.

Alongside her presenting and radio work, Nayha loves talking about dating and is the host of her own podcast, the “Dating Dilemmas Podcast”. The series has been featured on BBC Radio London’s “The Scene” as a top Podcast to listen to.

Beyond broadcasting, Nayha is a massive foodie. She can be seen weekly on TV covering a variety of Desi cooking and food from chefs to Mela’s and festivals on the Sky, Colors TV show ‘Desi Beat’.

Nayha is also a fashion guru who loves vintage shopping and regularly shops in Shoreditch and thrift shops. Using this passion for style, Nayha has done a range of interviews; with stylists on skyline to festival fashion on YouTube. Nayha’s professional modelling and fashion work ranges from Asian wedding fairs to catwalks up and down the country as well as magazines.

As a big supporter of children’s charities, Nayha has supported the NSPCC throughout the years, raising funds in various ways including running a pop-up photo shooting business that donated all its earnings to the NSPCC. Another charity close to Nayha’s heart, who she regularly contributes towards is Edhi International Foundation, who provide care and shelter for young orphans.