Celebrity chefs: check. Cooking demonstrations: check. Mountains of lovely food and drink to sample: check. What’s not to love about the BBC Good Food Shows?
I’d been looking forward to this show for weeks, and when that Sunday morning finally came around, I was like a child on Christmas morning! We set off early, and headed for the M42.
Verity wasn’t convinced about the day’s family outing: “but I don’t want to go and see food!”. But a chocolate ice cream for breakfast soon brought her round to the idea, and we went in.
It was huge! I’m no stranger to the NEC, but there’s small halls and there’s super massive humongous ones, and we were in the latter.
First up, Glynn Purnell and Marcus Bean in the ao.com Summer Kitchen. This stage was open to anyone on a first-come, first-seated basis, so luckily we ended up with front row seats.
Glynn Purnell was hilarious (including throwing a slice of carrot at the wall to see if it would stick) and did such a good job considering he was dealing with an audience who were still half asleep on a Sunday morning. His dish looked beautiful, and I presumed the recipe would be in the guide with the others: it isn’t. I think it was hake, cooked in coconut milk and spices, served with caramelised carrots with passion fruit and a carrot slaw.
Time for some shopping. The exhibitors had been split up into different areas: the Great Taste Market, Bakes & Cakes Village, Eat Well Pavilion, Ludlow Producer Market, Producer’s Village, Good Food Champions and the French Market. I only knew this from reading the show guide. In reality it was SO busy you really couldn’t tell what was what. The only area that I found to be recognisable was the Great Taste Market.
There was an awful lot of repetition throughout the show. If you were after chutneys, fudge or rapeseed oil then you were spoilt for choice, but I thought it was a shame to put so many producers in such competition with each other, and I’m afraid to say, it got a little boring.
It was SO busy! Crazy busy. Not helped by every other person pulling along a box trolley thing. Do you remember that World Cup when everyone had those stupid horn things, er… what were they called? Vuvuzelas! and by the next major tournament they’d been banned. Well that’s what should happen to these trolleys. My poor ankles.
The Gardener’s World Live show was combined with the Good Food Show, and you were free to move between the two. Now I’m no gardener, but this clever way of combining the two shows, meant that I ended up shopping in both!
It was so much calmer, and much more enjoyable to walk around. Indoors, the show included giant water features and brilliant interactive stands by RSPB and the British Beekeepers Association. Outside was one giant garden centre, including the RHS Floral Marquee, which I must say, was the most beautiful smelling tent I’ve ever been in! Not in any way food related, I know, but I had to include a few photos of some of the amazing flowers they had on display.
How cute is this Yutaka van?! We had two pots of Chicken Katsu Curry, which were such great value for money we thought, and absolutely delicious! Verity had a sausage bap from the lovely guys at Heck Food, which she was very reluctant to share, so it must have been pretty good!
We’d booked to see John Torode at 3:30pm in the Super Theatre. This was the only part of the show that you needed to book for, as the whole area was sectioned off with floor-to-ceiling black curtains.
John was a really great host, and made some delicious looking food: Tomato & Pesto Tarts and Korean Fried Chicken with Quick Kimchi, which are included as recipes in the show guide. And thank god, because I NEED to make that fried chicken. Yum.
As John was cooking, his co-host Andy Friendlander, was passing the microphone to people in the audience to ask him any questions they might have. Matt was sat beside me, and I saw his hand go up. Oh god.
As if Matt asked John Torode “what’s your favourite tinned fruit?” ??! I died. To be fair to John though, his answer of “mushed passion fruit” was a very good answer. And Matt was very pleased with himself because his stupid question had won him a signed bottle of wine from John Torode’s collaboration with McGuigan wines. Ha!
The show had quietened down a lot by now, and some exhibitors were even beginning to pack away, but this was our favourite part of the day. We actually had time, and the space, to chat to some of the exhibitors, and sample some of their produce without a million arms reaching over us to grab freebies.
Here’s what I went home with:
- a bottle of Qcumber with mint – this stuff tastes like summer, try it.
- Citrus Mayonanaise from Le Mesuriers, which I can’t wait to pair with some great fish,
- Belvoir’s Elderflower & Rose Cordial, because Verity liked that it was same colour as Peppa Pig,
- a pack of Joe & Seph’s French Goat’s Cheese & Black Pepper Popcorn, and a jar of their new Sticky Toffee Sauce,
- Fever-Tree Tonic water, as following my Gin Masterclass last week, I’m now a tonic water snob,
- Mr Singh’s Mild Chilli Sauce, which has heat, but is BURSTING with fresh mango,
- a few 9 Bars, which I’ve seen around and always wanted to try,
- a ‘pickle fork’ from Simply Vintage Designs, which I decided was an absolutely ESSENTIAL piece of cutlery that I was missing in my life,
- a bottle of Simplee Aloe juice, which promises to make me glow from the inside I’ll be so healthy,
- Gregor’s Original Umami Dressing & Marinade,
- a packet of My Family Secret Curry Sauce Base,
- a box of Heath & Heather White Tea with Fennel and Mint,
- and a wooden crate that I just HAD to have.
Overall we had a great day out. We were exhausted, but it had been fun. I think for the next show, I might try and go on a slightly quieter day. Just because, for me, what I really enjoy about these types of shows, is meeting the people who make the stuff, and hearing their passion for what they’ve produced, and the story behind it. As well as obviously buying lots of food and generally stuffing my face all day. Roll on the BBC Good Food Show Winter!