Food & Drink

‘A gastronomic Glastonbury’ — Foodies Festival hits Syon Park on May 26

Ahead of its return to Syon Park in Brentford this weekend, the founder of Foodies Festivals revealed this year’s event will be showcasing the latest trends — some of which are quite bizarre.

The festival boasts an all-star lineup, including MasterChef winners Kenny Tutt and Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, who’ll both join former Great British Bake Off finalist, Steven Carter Bailey, to cook live on stage.

In addition to live shows, it guarantees to showcase the latest foodie fads of 2018, and this year is rather different.

“We’re actually going to be encouraging bug-eating at the event – that is a real trend,” said founder Sue Hitchen.

“At a recent show I was encouraged to try locust, grub and dried worms and they were actually quite tasty!

“They’re full of minerals and vitamins and they’re a superfood.”

For adventurous gourmands, the bugs will be sold as snacks, but for the more faint-of-heart, there will be a dedicated area to another big food trend of 2018, in the form of ‘Cheese Town’ – an area exclusively dedicated to cheese.

Other diners hoping to turn the heat a notch or two can participate in the chilli-eating competition.

Starting from Jalapeños, slowly working up to Carolina Reapers, the world’s most spicy chilli, competitors must finish each chilli right down to the stock, until eventually there’s only one person standing.

It’s a hard competition to win, as the undefeated chilli-eating champion will be gracing the festival, having won the competition a staggering 25 times.

When asked how many people have made it to the final round, Martin Bond, organiser of the competition said: “Dozens. Loads of people have got that far, but it’s been the last leg for a lot.

“It’s enough to knock a lot of people out!”

Contestants are not allowed to drink during the competition, although a pint of milk is provided for anyone who has to drop out.

As the mother of four daughters, Sue was inspired to create a festival where young people could come along and experience different foods.

As part of the children’s offerings, there will be a dedicated cookery theatre which shows kids how to cook simple yet impressive dishes such as a rainbow salad stack and ‘foodies mess.’

Parents, too, can learn how to make dishes prepared by the celebrity chefs and will be able to take home a recipe card and buy the ingredients used by the chefs so they can recreate them at home.

Once people have eaten and drank to their heart’s content from the various stalls and stages they can close the day by dancing it all off at the music stage.

The music stage will be headlined by Toploader and the Hoosiers and is run in partnership with Musicians Against Homelessness.

While the weather forecast is currently looking promising, when asked if there’s a plan B, Sue is positive that the cheerful stoicism of the British public will prevail.

If it rains, she said: “People come along with umbrellas and have a good time anyway.

“They just wear welly boots and come along – the Great British public, nothing stops them!”

What: Foodies Festival
Where: Syon Park, Brentford, TW8 8JF
When: May 26-28
How: Short walk from Syon Park Station

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