The beauty of the UK is that regardless of the weather, there is always somewhere to go and something to do.
With the recent deluges sweeping the country, the NEC in Birmingham had the perfect solution: the Summer Good Food Show. Recognised as the “biggest summer food festival to hit the Midlands” the show opened on 13 June. It was packed with food lovers’ delights, from demonstrations to exhibitors to taster sessions and expert advice and tuition from some of the UK’s top chefs.
The Big Kitchen has always been the highlight of the Show and this year it did not disappoint. Some of the very best celebrity chefs and guests cooked up delights live on stage. Lotte Duncan presented Taste of Italy, with offerings from Tom Kerridge, James Martin, Raymond Blanc, Tom Kerridge, Nadiya Hussain, Ainsley Harriot and the marvellous pairing of Mary Berry and Alan Titchmarsh.
Exhibitors turned out in their hundreds to tempt the flow of Show visitors with delicious, innovative and healthy produce. There was a huge selection of artisan producers and over in the Producers Village, there was a smattering of almost every food type from bread and cheese, savoury sausage rolls to luxury sweets.
Pop up Restaurant
Of great interest was the BBC Good Food Pop-Up Restaurant. This offered a sit-down meal of two or three courses. These were inspired by some of the most popular seasonal dishes from www.bbcgoodfood.com. The event was extraordinarily popular. Hardly surprising when you see the menu: charred asparagus, smoked salmon, shrimps and rye crumbs; followed by cumin-roasted rump of lamb, crushed Jersey royals, shallot petals, caper and mint dressing; or fish pie with smoked haddock, king prawns and salmon, crunchy cheddar mash and steamed greens.
But it wasn’t only food and drink that visitors were interested in this year. The BDA Dietitian Drop In Clinic was very well attended. The Association of British Dietitians were on hand to give advice on diagnosing and treating diet and nutrition problems.
The Skills School was a sell-out. Classes ranged from making and decorating fondant fancies, preparing the perfect sushi and learning Zwilling knife skills. Lexus played host to the Lunch Clubs at the Show this year. It worked with Michelin-starred chefs Michel Roux Jr, Tom Kerridge, Tommy Banks and Emily Roux to present dishes inspired by their cooking style and recipes.
Finally, for those exhausted by the demonstrations, sampling and treats, visitors made their way to the BBC Gardener’s World Live. Here they could stroll among the plants and enjoy the gardens, all included in the price of this year’s ticket.