TOWII at Taste of London

Peter Morrell discovers that ‘The Only Way Is Induction‘ during a cookery lesson at AEG’s Let’s Taste Live Cooking Experience during this popular foodie event

The Taste of London event held each summer in Regent’s Park is a must-go-to for any serious foodie. It’s akin to a very jolly garden party with stalls selling beers, cocktails and wine together with some of London’s best restaurants serving their signature dishes at very affordable prices.

There is also a pre-Christmas version which has in the past been held at the Excel exhibition centre in Docklands, which was a rather inaccessible and soulless venue. A couple of years ago it moved to Tobacco Dock, a very large converted warehouse, built in 1811, which is much closer to the City.

I went along this year to take a look. The venue is much improved, inside it is very atmospheric, with twinkling lights and small collections of stalls which have are almost Dickensian. Adding to the cosy feel is the internal architecture of exposed brickwork and wrought iron in the two storey building.

The theme of the festival is the same as the summer version with a wide range of places to buy drinks and sample dishes from some of London’s finest eateries. I nibbled on a soft shell crab burger from Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill, had a dish from one of my favourite restaurants, Marcus Wareing’s Tredwells, and sampled a superb beef cheek, smoked mash and crispy shallots from The Truscott Cellar.

As I enjoyed a gin and tonic from the artisan distiller Warner Edwards I passed vendors like Sidekick offering hot chilli sauces, nut butters from Nutural World and a whole range of copper cookware.

It was time to cook, I had booked in for one of AEG’s Let’s Taste Live Cooking session. TV chef and owner of the highly success School of Wok oriental cookery school, Jeremy Pang, soon had us all rolling up marinated chicken in Lotus leaves and stir frying Singapore noodles. While we were cooking the main dish the Lotus leaves would be cooked in AEG’s innovative steam oven.

Each cooking station was equipped with an AEG induction hob which heats any iron pan using induction magnet technology and it was while stir frying that I went through a Damascene conversion. I’m in the process of re-equipment my kitchen was was literally welded to the idea of keeping my gas hob, particularly as I use a wok about three times a week. I found that induction heated the wok more quickly and to a higher temperature over more of the cooking surface. I was convinced.

After the cooking session I popped in to the demonstration pavilion for a closer look guided by an AEG expert. There are all sorts of features on the hob, for example if the phone rings you can press a pause control which remembers all the settings. A second press will restart the cooking exactly where you left it. Another attraction is that the top doesn’t get hot, this makes the hob safer and it only needs a wipe down to make it sparkle.

I also took a look at the steam ovens, these keep food very moist and will improve both meat and surprisingly make very crispy bread. Apparently it produces beautifully cooked rice, a challenge for any home cook. There are all sorts of automatic cooking programs for perfect results every time and it has a self cleaning function.

So my trip to Taste of London this year had been particularly rewarding, I had some great food and drink in a new and enchanting venue, and it had solved my dilemma of what to put in my new kitchen.

Taste of London Festivals