Chefs take spotlight at London debut music-and-food fest

Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:50am EDT
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By Matilda Egere-Cooper

LONDON (Reuters) - Gourmet food proved to be the new rock ’n’roll at a weekend festival in London where 10 acclaimed chefs, three of whom hold Michelin stars, demonstrated their culinary prowess against a backdrop of live music.

Headliners at the first On Blackheath Festival included Massive Attack, Grace Jones and Aloe Blacc.

But it was the chefs, among them Richard Bainbridge, who heads up the Michelin-starred Morston Hall in Norfolk, England, and who demonstrated how to cook a Sunday roast to a packed audience, who stole the show.

He served the dish a couple of hours later to festival-goers lucky enough to get his sold-out 25-pound ($41) ticket for two courses and wine in Gizzi’s Chef's Club, an on-site pop-up restaurant offering sittings of the meals presented at the Saturday and Sunday event.

Other chefs serving up meals included the BBC’s Valentine Warner, multi-award winner Simon Hulstone, pop-up veteran Carl Clarke, BBQ chef Neil Rankin, baking duo The Meringue Girls and Jack Stein, son of the acclaimed cookbook writer and restaurateur Rick Stein.

The On Blackheath festival was a first for London but only the latest in Britain putting food at the fore.

TV chef Jamie Oliver and Blur bassist-turned-farmer Alex James collaborated three years ago to start The Big Feastival. It took place at the end of August featuring headliners such as Fleetwood Mac and De La Soul while revelers sank their teeth into food by Michelin chef Nathan Outlaw and restaurateur Mark Hix.

Next week, musos and foodies can flock to  the Good Life Experience in Flintshire, Wales. Led by singer-songerwriter Cerys Matthews, it will include a diverse musical line-up, cooking classes and food stands.     Continued...