Artful Diner highlights of Taste
“Spin the roulette wheel to land on a forgotten food.”
Every year I step into Taste of London and feel like I’ve walked into the food lover’s equivalent of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I look up at the 40 restaurant stands, 200 supplier stalls, theatres, whipped wingers and everlasting gobstoppers (or some such) and straight back down at my Taste guide. Then I start to panic.
For someone who loves food and is, well, quite greedy, having so much to discover in one place makes me a bit panicky. I don’t want to miss the best dishes, stalls and experiences, yet never ever manage to turn up with a game plan. Well, this year I’ve pulled myself together, done some research and compiled my mini-guide to Taste of London 2012 (21-24 June).
Of course, there’s no telling whether my taste (forgive the pun) is yours, but here are my highlights…
Forgotten Foods Roulette Wheel
This is one for Secret Garden ticket holders. You spin the roulette wheel to land on a forgotten food, which a chef then turns into a canapé for you. The forgotten foods are taken from Slow Food’s British Ark of Taste and include Lyth Valley damsons and artisan cheddar from Somerset. The motto is “eat it or lose it”. Quite.
The Weber BBQ Experience
New for this year at Taste is a stand dedicated to all things BBQ. You can pick up tips from a multitude of masterclasses and real BBQ lovers can enter (in advance of Taste) to take part in a competition on the Saturday. If, like me, you’re content to watch, top chefs will compete in the British BBQ Championships on Sunday, the heats having taken place at Laverstoke Park Farm a couple of weeks before.
My pick of chefs in the AEG Taste Theatre
There are four different chef demos in each Taste session (apart from Sunday when there are five). Best to get yourself to the AEG Taste Theatre early if you want a good seat. My pick of the chefs are: Raymond Blanc (3.30pm) and Wolfgang Puck (9pm) on Thursday, Jamie Oliver (12.30pm) on Friday, Bruno Loubet (12.30pm) on Saturday and Ashley Palmer-Watts (12.30pm) on Sunday. There’s also a chance to see the new Launceston Place head chef Timothy Allen on Sunday (2.30pm).
For me, this list splits into unusual and daring, or classic and spot on. Falling into the former category is the bheja fry (lamb brains in mince curry) at Cinnamon Soho, the goat’s caramel with blueberries and shiso from Corner Room, white tomato soup from Rhodes 24, tartare of beef cured in spices with taleggio cheese fondue, vegetable brunoise and pistachios from Cotidie and crunchy rochers of foie gras with port reduction, toasted nuts and gold leaf at Gauthier Soho. I’ll also be saving room for snails at the Savoy Grill, lobster and pork dumpling with spring onion, lemongrass and ginger at Maze, black pepper shrimp with sundried pineapple at Spice Market, refreshing charcoal-grilled cuttlefish salad with raw courgettes, gremolata, lemon segments and Pantelleria capers at Bocca di Lupo, seared Orkney scallop in saffron, served in the shell with broad beans and coral aioli from Coq d’Argent and soft chocolate cake with crema di marscapone from Theo Randall at the Intercontinental. If it’s hot I’ll bag an ice cream from Gelupo and what could be simpler than freshly shucked oysters from Kensington Place?
Eat flowers and drink champagne
Wine and food matching is totally last year, now it’s all about wine, food and… flowers. Internationally renowned florist Ercole Moroni will host Taste’s new Laurent-Perrier Tous les Sens Champagne Masterclass to combine the scent and taste of edible flowers with champagne and food. It’s worth noting that this is a different type of Taste ticket, which also includes entry to the VIP lounge.
Chance to meet New York phenomenon, chef David Chang
Talking of the VIP lounge, New York chef and owner of Momofuku David Chang will take part in a Q&A session there at 12.30pm on Thursday. As yet he has no British restaurant, meaning this is a rare chance to catch up with a very exciting food talent.
Taste of London runs from 21-24 June in London’s Regent’s Park and tickets are on sale now. D&D restaurants Launceston Place, Coq d’Argent, Kensington Place and the bar from Floridita will all be there.
Special Offer! D&D's external catering and party planning company Cinnamon Candy is in charge of catering in The Secret Garden and is co-ordinating The MENU. Find out about a special Artful Diner offer to The MENU plus read The Artful Diner's behind-the-scenes feature with Cinnamon Candy and The MENU chefs Angela Hartnett, Bruno Loubet et al
Pre-purchased ticket prices
Standard (entry only) £24
Child (entry only) £12
Premium (entry + £20 of Crowns) £40
VIP (fast-track entry + VIP area, glass of champagne and £20 of Crowns) £60
Laurent-Perrier Masterclass (VIP benefits plus entry to one LP Masterclass) £80
Secret Garden £90
(Fast-track entry + Secret Garden area, glass of champagne, £30 of Crowns, plus a host of Secret Garden VIP benefits)
Crowns are the official Taste of London currency used to purchase food and drink consumed at the event.
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