The Beeb’s first three-day foodie festival went down almost as well as the pre-lunch gin we sampled
Words: Damien Gabet Photos: Hayley Bray Photography
A posh English breakfast made by James Durrant from The Game Bird
is never a bad way to the start the day. Things kicked off well then at BBC Good Food Show Feast in the Tower of London’s pretty dry moat. I arrived before it officially opened to get a briefing from editor-at-large Barney Desmazery on what to expect from the day.
Two-hundred top food and drink companies exhibiting their wares, celeb-chef cooking demos, patisserie skills sessions, drinks masterclasses and plenty of live music was just part of the line-up for the inaugural three-day event.
With breakfast polished off, I escaped the VIP zone and headed straight over to see Monsieur Roux Jr in the Feast Kitchen tent for a live cooking demonstration. Chef Sabrina Ghayour compered while Roux took us through the makings of a French pizza (‘more of a tart, really’), followed by an apple beignet.
I had intended to see more of him over at the interview tent, but was distracted by a fun session at the Cordon Bleu Skills School. Master patissier Julie Walsh was teaching a group of upstarts how to make the ‘perfect’ fruit tart. After, Walsh explained how she’d been busy these past few months making a 9ft, 200kg cake for the Queen’s wedding anniversary. This, she said, was a welcome break.
At their own rather impressive stand, the team from gin maker Warner Edwards espoused about their handcrafted goods and revealed that corporate groups can enjoy away days at its distillery and farm up the road in Northamptonshire. Naturally I tasted the goods to verify quality – nice.
Next door, Pusser’s Rum was busy hosting cocktail masterclasses. I thought better than to have any more booze before midday, so spent the rest of my time hopping around the various food producers. The Biltong Bros from south London were a favourite, handing out bite-size samples of their delicious South African-style cured beef.
That piqued my appetite sufficiently for me to grab some lunch and munch away in a deck chair while listening to fantastic acoustic guitarist Hollie Rogers (and relation to Nile?). Sauntering round a beautiful, 900-year-old moat on a sunny day is a fine way to learn about good food.
Copy this Live acoustic musicians playing most of the day provided great backing track to all that tasting.
For more event reviews, and all the last venues news, go here.