A Taste of London 2012, Regent’s Park

We were indeed hungry for a taste of culture, and this year’s feastival didn’t let us down with an empty stomach. Taste of London was held in Regent’s Park over four days and even though it may have been one of the wettest summers in the show’s nine year history, it certainly didn’t dampen the food fans’ spirits.

Welcomed by a comic act from some of the chefs warming up the shivering crowds, we waited in dribbling suspense as they cut the purple tape.

Over 50,000 visitors were treated to intimate shows and “meet and greets” from the 20th – 23rd June 2012, with some of the world’s culinary greats. Around 40 of London’s top restaurants came together to share some of their best dishes and to show off their talents through the wind and rain.

Using a currency of Crowns, Corner Room,Aurelia, and Pollen Street Social (to name a few) sold three to four mini dishes from their top menus. Head Chef Andy Cook proved a huge hit with passers-by at The Savoy with his Peach Melba desserts that can only be described as high heaven. Like Andy Cook and Simon Rogan, Gary Rhodes wasn’t afraid of meeting his fans promoting the Michelin starred Rhodes 24. Saying that he had achieved most of his personal ambitions during his career, he could only cry with laughter when we asked if that meant crushing the rumours that his wife was a better chef than him.

British Airways, one of the main sponsors was keen to offer interactive features to visitors (as well as to entertain with all of their staff wearing bright Union Jack wellies). There was the opportunity to learn about “Height Cuisine” where you were shown how food 35,000 feet up has an impact on your taste senses. AEG offered chef question times as well as AEG Perfekt Cooking Classes with Queen of Asian cuisine Angela Malik.

There was also a plethora of exhibitors practically throwing their food and drink at you, drawing you to their stalls to discover their new concoctions. As producers, waiters and pretty girls in pink dresses handed you shots of single malt whiskey and cupcakes, it was hard not to feel like you were at a university freshers’ fayre.

Standing out from the crowd, Tails Cocktails set out to “create the ultimate pre-mixed cocktail product and deliver an authentic cocktail experience anywhere, anytime’. With quality spirits and a 15-18% ABV, you become the mixologist as you drink from mini recyclable shakers.

With practicality in mind, iHeart wanted to bring the union and romance of a dining table and silverware to the comfort of the sofa you’re more likely to be eating from. Made with 66% less plastic than regular cutlery, and also 100% biodegradable – Fatima Fazal created heart-shaped cutlery you can carry around with you: they can fit in your wallet!

Also aiming to collect fans were some London-based boutique stalls such as Cookies and ScreamMeringue Girls and Cupcake-A-Licious selling their precious delicacies. Meanwhile names such as RekorderligAlmondy CakesLindt and Bacardi were happy to reunite with some of their fans.

The four-hours session spent in the park seemed hardly enough time to experience all the worldly corners and cuisines, so it is advised to book in advance for the cooking classes and particularly if you want a “meet and greet” with household name Jamie Oliver!

Back in June 2012 I started as a Culture Writer for The Upcoming. This was a review of the Taste of London Food Festival in July 2012…

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