Global food festival makes debut at Business Design Centre
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When National Geographic Traveller say their food festival will offer “a chance to take your taste buds on a world tour,” they really mean it.
Taking place at the Business Design Centre this weekend, they'll be decking out the main hall with exhibitors from far and wide. A list of things you'll be able to sample - and this is by no means exhaustive - includes mutton curry from Dominica; local chocolates out of Nicaragua; Bahamian macaroni and cheese; and wine produced in Israel's Judean Hills.
Pat Riddell, National Geographic Traveller's editor, says: "Since launching our quarterly food title last spring, we've taken our culinary coverage to a new level.
"Over the past year, we've explored the close relationship between the two subjects and demonstrated just how important food is as a driver of travel. This event will be a chance for us to take our readers - and newcomers to our brand - on a similar journey."
The two-day festival will also draw upon the knowledge of big name chefs like Raymond Blanc and Adam Handling (pictured above), as well as appearances from food personalities John Torode and Andi Oliver.
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Glen Mutel - editor of Nat Geo Traveller's Food title - says this weekend's event is about "broadening minds as well as palates."
"It's an immersive experience that plunges people head-long in to the food of the world," he adds. "Of course there are samplings, all entertainment is free, which includes all the main stage acts and big name chefs doing demonstrations - cooking up the dishes that mean the most to them."
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Tickets for each day are £22, and the festival will also gather up a collection of cookbook authors and food writers like Kay Plunkett Hogge, Asma Khan and John Gregory Smith. Felicity Cloake, meanwhile, will be present to talk about her new book: One More Croissant for the Road.
The event also looks spot-on for adventurous foodies hoping to branch out and develop their skills in the kitchen. In the Tarragon and Cinnamon theatres, chefs will be hosting masterclass sessions centred on everything from Montenegrin corn crepes to vegan black burgers with seaweed and tofu.
Mutel says one of the festival's goals is to remove obstacles and make continental cuisines much more accessible.
"Visitors have the chance to walk around and emerge with more confidence. The world of food can be an intimidating place - there are so many cuisines that you might not know, but we want to remove that. Whether guests are eating or watching professionals, it's about having those barriers broken down."
National Geographic Traveller Food itself was launched in spring of 2018; a 132-page travel magazine "that looks at the world through the prism of food," in the words of Mutel. There are 10 issues per year and the latest one features delicacies from the Greek island of Sifnos, Ecuador and a cover story about 11 of the tastiest Japanese dishes.
Mutel is particularly keen to head down to the festival's Wine Society stall, and you're also likely to bump in to him around the Thai food exhibitors or the "very well represented" Caribbean section of the festival.
So why exactly have the brand picked Islington to stage this first festival?
"Through reasons of our ethos. We're making a big statement about global food; we want to celebrate the global nature of food and Islington seems like a fine place to do that."
July 20-21 at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street. Tickets are £22. More information here.