16-Jun-14by Annie Byrne
For those food connoisseurs looking to enjoy some fine dining in one of London’s finest parks, Taste of London, is expanding yet further.
And we’re not just talking about the waistlines of the cuisine-loving visitors who want portions of quality grub in a luxurious setting.
New for this year by public demand, the show will have a new Wednesday night session from 5.30pm to 9.30pm on 18 June, bringing the show’s offering to five days of food finery.
In contrast in 2013, the show opened at 12pm on its first day.
The show will take over 62,500sqm of Regent’s Park, and is part of 22 restaurant festivals worldwide that Taste is hosting worldwide.
Taste Festivals is owned by IMG Arts & Entertainment, a division of the Events and Federations business unit of IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company.
It aims to launch five new international events each year including Paris and Abu Dhabi in 2015.
As a result, around 500,000 visitors are expected to sample a Taste show this year.
The 10th edition of Taste of London in 2013 had its best-ever visitor numbers.
Highlights from last year’s four-day foodie extravaganza, which had more than 50,000 visitors included the return of Taste of London’s ‘Founding Fathers’, Michel Roux Jr, Gary Rhodes and Alfred Prasad. The three Michelin star chefs helped launch the first Taste of London festival back in 2004 at Somerset House.
“We’ve added an extra day due to popular demand,” Taste of London event manager Charlotte Brady told EN. “There will be 200 exhibitors, up 10 per cent from last year.”
Taste of London aims for an AB demographic, predominantly households with a high annual income. On visiting the show, it’s the 30-35 age range that enjoys the culinary treats the most.
The show won the highly sought after ‘Best Consumer Show’ category at the 2012 Exhibition News Awards.
“We define its audience as ABC1 keen foodies who know the London dining scene,” said Brady, who promised some subtle structural changes to the show.
“We have moved the entrance to be nearer to the centre of the show. We will also have three new areas as part of a revamped floorplan utilising new areas of the park. We want to use parts of the park which were previously hidden away in the show,” she added.
One new feature will be a silent disco in the Mortimer’s Orchard marquee.
More than 55,000 visitors are expected to dine from 40 of the capital’s top restaurants at the Regent’s Park show, serving a mix of British, French, Pan Asian, Japanese Fusion, South American and Italian cuisine, shop from 200 boutique food and drink stalls.
Making his Taste Festivals debut is the two Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge, while BBC Masterchef star Michel Roux Jr is returning with fellow Le Gavroche chef Monica Galetti.
The Taste festival certainly operates at the fine dining end of the market.
For example, the winner of the Best in Taste Award 2013, was L’Autre Pied with a ceviche of hand-dived scallops with black quinoa, creme fraiche, radishes, fennel & dill.
From a visitor perspective, one hopes the venue again shares its meteorological good fortune from last year. Its champagne tents and high-end brands are certainly more suited to Loubotins, but walking round some of the soggier stretches last year, sturdy boots could be a better choice of footwear.
As a result, the show will have an improved trackway to help visitor flow.
But for those looking for the offerings of the capital’s top restaurants, there really is little better place to feast your eyes.
This was first published in the June issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne