Raymond Blanc, Fergus Henderson and Giorgio Locatelli are among the chefs who will be showing off their skills at the Real Food Festival’s trade day tomorrow.
The three-day festival at London’s Earls Court is also one of the only opportunities chefs, restaurateurs and others with food businesses get to meet small, quality producers specially selected from around the UK.
This, says festival director Philip Lowery, is one of the main reasons we should be attending: “There are obviously some good trade shows out there already, but with the main trade shows you tend to see the same people at them and the producers and suppliers tend to be there because they have bigger resources, which is fine and they work well,” he said.
“However, what we are promoting are the small producers who you wouldn’t find at the big fairs. There are around 200 to 300 that have never been seen before and the hospitality sector is always looking for something unique in terms of products. This is the place to find it."
Products chosen to appear at the show include Bacheldre Watermill flour, Laverstoke Park’s English Mozzarella, a favourite of Raymond Blanc, and much-loved Anglesey sea salt company Halen Mon.
As has been the case since it started, this year`s festival is also `a celebration of everything from the farm to your plate` with an emphasis on promoting good quality food from reliable sources.
Throughout the trade day chefs will be holding cookery demonstrations using some of the products at the show and there will be a host of other events, including Rude Health`s Speakers’ Corner where chefs and food writers will be expressing their views about the British food industry.
Lowery said chefs, restaurateurs and food and beverage managers whose budgets had been tightened should not be put off coming by the quality over all else mantra.
He said: “Just because it’s good food doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune. There’s no question there are some very expensive premium products at the show, but there are also some very good well-priced products too.
“We have chef Barny Haughton (Bordeaux Quay restaurant) showing us how you can cook good quality food on a budget. It’s about choosing the right ingredients. Our research suggests that the public will still go and find good value quality food even in a recession and restaurants can still offer them that."
For more information about what`s on at the Real Food Festival (May 8-10) visit the website www.realfoodfestival.co.uk
BigHospitality readers have been given a special discounted rate for the Real Food Festival.
Advance trade tickets for the trade day tomorrow are usually £18 and £9.90 for subsequent tickets, but BigHospitality readers can buy them for £13.50 (£7.50 subsequent) until midnight tonight.
Weekend tickets (usually £14.90) can be bought for the discounted rate of £12.
Enter the promotional code RFFNL5 online or quote it when phoning the booking line 0844 412 4642.