Peter Morrell reports on the capital’s best food show
Taste of London is always a show that I look forward to, rather like a culinary Christmas Day. There are always new tastes, flavours and textures to explore and the chance to samples dishes from many of London’s finest restaurants
My arrival, the same as last year, was in heavy rain, however a combination of organiser supplied ponchos and the weather soon turning in our favour made it a very pleasant afternoon. One thing that the weather cannot do is deter people from attending, and 2012 was no exception, with a large band of merry foodies enjoying the many delights on offer.
If you have not been to a Taste Festival before it is a mix of cookery demonstrations, wine tastings, stalls exhibiting their food and drink, and a good range of London restaurants serving a selection of four dishes, of which one is declared as their icon, combined they are representative of their menus. These dishes are bought with official ‘crowns’ which are £1 for two. Dishes typically cost between 8 and 12 crowns each, so this is a great way of trying out some of the best restaurants in town at a reasonable price.
This year there was a good representation of the capital’s Thai restaurants and my favourite dish of the show was from the legendary Blue Elephant. Chef/owner Nooror Somany had devised a fusion dish of purple eggplant with a scallop salad and black truffle oil, it was an inventive and delicious twist of Thai with international influences. Other notable eateries serving some very impressive food were Petrus, the Savoy Grill, Iberica (My favourite Spanish restaurant) and Launceston Place.
I started my visit at the AEG Taste Theatre just in time to watch Jamie Oliver cooking slow roast shoulder of lamb, as at past events Jamie’s session was jammed with foodies eager to pick us some tips from the maestro. The Taste Theatre hosted a procession of culinary royalty during the four day event which included Raymond Blanc, Wolfgang Puck, Theo Randall, Gary Rhodes and Bruno Loubet to name but a few.
It was then onto to one of AEG’s Perfekt Cooking Classes run by Angela Malik. I have been tutored by Angela in the past and always found it a rewarding and enjoyable experience. This session was no different, in under half an hour we had prepared and cooked a delicious Vietnamese street food dish, Hanoi noodles with wok tossed chilli beef.
The speed with which we cooked the food was due in no small part to the AEG induction hobs that we were using and that are installed in Angela’s cookery school. The hob heats the wok instantly, is totally controllable and uses less energy than a conventional cooker, it is a continuing object of desire for my kitchen. Visit www.aeg.co.uk for more information and for a review of an Angela Malik course click here…
There were too many food stalls to mention but my last purchase of the day was a big hit. On a foodie trip to Venezuela recently I was given a recipe which features squid, chorizo, prawns, clams and black pudding. The Clonakilty black pudding I bought at the show lifted this dish into the realm of the sublime. Clonakilty products are widely available in the UK, visit www.clonakiltyblackpudding.ie/ for stockist information
This piece of culinary serendipity is one of the things I like about the Taste Festivals you will always get a pleasant surprise no matter how much you think you know about food.
The show goes from strength to strength and I am already looking forward to Taste of Christmas 2012. Two culinary Christmas days in one year, now that really is a taste treat.
For more information on the Taste events world-wide go to www.tastefestivals.com