Last weekend Alexandra Palace in London, played host to another Foodies Festival. It was glorious, the sun was shining and the turn out was better than ever.. I mean bank holiday weekend and sunshine? Not something you often hear together… How could we complain right? (Although I still did, no shorts packed or sunglasses.. It was a struggle hehe, I was not expecting this summer weather after the washout of August so far).
Everyone seemed to be in high spirits, enjoying the penultimate Foodies of the year, and the last one to be hosted in London.. the weather does seem to bring everyone out and make people smile.
I particularly enjoyed this event compared to some of the others hosted previously, the variety of pop up stalls and exhibitors, by far out shone others for me. Syon Park for example had more pop up stalls for people to buy fast food to eat and enjoy whilst at the event, rather than a mix of stalls to sample things you may not have tried before, and opportunities to buy random food & drink products to take home too.
The balance of exhibitors was much better too, there was a mixture of food, drink, kitchen equipment, health and fitness stalls as well as others.. I very much enjoyed walking around, chatting to exhibitors and sampling products I had not come across before. (As well as visiting my friends at "Carrington Foods and Wiltshire Chilli Farm" of course!)
As much as I like to sample food and drink that I don't have on a daily basis, I enjoy fitness and a healthy lifestyle. A few exhibitors that caught my eye this time around were "Your Zooki" and "Vigor Mundi". Both stalls emphasised well-being and a healthy lifestyle through natural products. I would recommend you check them out. Vigor Mundi supply similar products to those I have sampled across other brands, so I was curious to see how they compared and what they could offer me! (I did walk away a happy bunny with some products of theirs and defo will be getting more in the future).
So back to the event... aside from the exhibitors stalls, fun of the live music and a drink or two from one of the many bars, people attend to see Chefs and Bakers demo in the theatres. The line up, as usual, was a crowd pleaser. If you follow Masterchef or Bake Off you'd be in your element!! We were lucky enough to be in the presence of Masterchef Finalists from various years of the show and many other renowned bakers. Even if you do not follow cookery shows you would have heard of the legend that is Rosemary Shrager, who also graced the Chefs Theatre along with other Michelin starred chefs such as Atul Kocchar and Adam Simmonds.
Rosemary was showing off fabulous vegetarian and meat dishes on the Saturday. She, for me is a joy to watch.. apart from being a Queen in the kitchen, when cooking live for the audience she engages everyone and make us all laugh with her whitty sense of humour. The tent was packed for both of her demos, everyone wanting a glimpse of a truly great chef.
On the other end of the spectrum we had Katy Beskow cooking Vegan, showing us food can be exciting, tasty and colourful without meat! She is a very busy chef; managing a 9-5 job, writing and releasing a book and hosting cooking workshops, yet she still finds time to come and join us at Foodies..we are very lucky! Demoing a recipe from her book "15 minute vegan" was Harissa Aubergine Kebabs and a Fruit Crumble to follow- and yes both were cooked in 15 minutes!! Cooking healthy and tasty food does not have to take time, which we all were shown.
So yes, Masterchef... returning favourites of ours such as Steve Kielty, Lorna Robertson, Emma Spitzer and Tony Rodd treated us to yet more food demos this weekend, in both Chefs Theatre and Cakes and Desserts Theatre!!
Tony Rodd, another chef who has been very busy yet still finding time for his Foodies Family 😊 Demoing beautiful plates, (which of course he is renowned for doing- eye catching edible art work) which are to be featured in his new restaurant soon to be opening in Blackheath. Copper and Ink- be sure to check it out, you'll be able to enjoy the lovely plates all year around and not just at food demos!!
I am an avid fan of Bake off and Masterchef and a contestant who I loved when watching Masterchef was Emma Spitzer, so I was very happy to see a live demo this weekend and to have a chat with her afterwards. Her book "Fress" I love! It showcases food and flavours I enjoy cooking and eating. I love to travel and try new dishes and her book has some of the dishes I have tried whilst travelling in Europe and Russia, so of course I am bias! 😉
Cakes and Desserts welcomed back our Foodies Family, regulars to the line up: Becky Cummings, Suzy Pelta, John Holland, Grace Hall and not forgetting our hostess with the mostess Charlotte White. This fab lot always bring fun and glamour to the tent. No aprons used here.. they bake us cakes in pretty frocks (well John in dapper suits). As Charlotte says "the tent that feeds you" maybe that is why the demos are always packed? 😉 The weekend did not fail to deliver something for everyone, vegan bakes, gluten free bakes, naughty bakes and then well, trashy bakes? 😭
Yes Suzy Pelta, making Garbage Cookies and a Dump Cake? It really could leave the imagination to run wild but I promise they are delicious!!
Becky was showing a variation on a previous demo, a Gluten Free Victoria Sponge cake, but instead of the buttercream filling, a rose filling was used, to complement the beautiful edible rose petals she makes to decorate the cake!!
But if for some so strange reason eating cake isn't your thing or if after a day of food you still have room for more the day is always finished up with a Chilli Eating Contest! If you are crazy, brave and/or stupid enough to enter that is😭 I did give it a miss this weekend.. deciding Pimms was a preferred option as the sun was shining, however two of our chefs Rob Parks and Lorna Robertson gave it a shot. Well more than a shot, they aced it! Finishing up in second and third place. A real achievement considering first place is the reigning champion, who I myself have competed against before!
Wow it really was a busy weekend, I hope you all had fun I certainly did! Good food, good company and a sunny bank holiday, could you ask for a better way to spend the weekend?
Although we are sad to be saying goodbye to London for this year at Foodies, we are not saying goodbye to Foodies completely, we have one more show to go- YAY!! Come and join us for the last Foodies of the year in Oxford this coming weekend. It is sure to be a showstopper, the final one has to be bigger and better right?
I will be soon posting photos from the weekend so keep an eye on the Foodies section on my blog! :-)