Over the last 23 years the BBC Good Food Shows have grown to become the UK’s largest consumer food events with over 300,000 attendees and over 1,000 exhibitors showcasing their wares. The London branch of this ever-growing food enthusiast’s dream is held every November at Olympia London and regularly boasts over 25,000 hungry visitors.
Guests can look forward to seeing row and rows of famous and premium-brand foods and kitchen gadgets as well as a number of special areas such as the ‘Eat Well Pavilion’, where food addicts can learn how to balance their diets against their burning food passions, and the ‘Producers Village’, which is packed full of small producers with speciality food and artisan produce that isn’t available in the supermarkets.
With celebrity chefs Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, Michel Roux Jr, James Martin, Tom Kerridge, John Torode and the Hairy Bikers all regularly showing off their skills in front of a live audience at the Good Food Supertheatre, it’s no surprise that the BBC Good Food Show London is now a staple fixture in the calendar of any food fanatic. In the words of James Martin “a great day out for foodie friends and all the family”
2 Taste of London
While the BBC Good Food Shows have taken over 2 decades to branch out to all of the UK, Taste Festivals have managed to become a global phenomenon in less than ten years. Growing from their first event, Taste of London at Somerset House in 2004, Taste Festivals now have regular events in Amsterdam, Auckland, Cape Town, Dubai, Dublin, Durban, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Milan, Moscow, Mumbai, Rome, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto and Perth.
The London show is still one of their biggest events, now hosted in Regents Park, serving over 200,000 dishes from 40 restaurants to 50,000 delighted guests (not to mention 25,000 flutes of champagne). Some of London and the world’s greatest chefs and restaurants are on display from La Gavroche to Osteria Francescana to Michel Roux Jr. to Raymond Blanc.
Witness many of the capital’s finest restaurant’s miniaturised into marquees, while inside some of London’s top catering staff busy themselves over a variety of the world’s finest cuisines. A 5-star dining experience out in the park.
3 Love London Food Festival
The most impressive thing about Love London Food Festival isn’t that it’s the only free event on the list (although that is a welcome bonus) but that it literally stops traffic in central London every year. With Regent Street due to be completely closed off for the day and John Nash’s terraces anticipating their transformation into a bustling avenue of street food mayhem, Love London Food Festival returned to the West End’s summer streets again this July with dazzling effect.
Over 50 of London’s most exciting independent restaurants and street food vendors are all out on show in one place, from the quirky Herman Ze German to Gordon Ramsey’s Heddon Street Kitchen as well as a number of up and coming London craft beer breweries.
Instead of buses, black cabs and traffic jams, just once a year Regent Street gets to have a rest and kick back to some live music, street food, cocktails, beers and dancing.
4 V- Delicious
The largest specialist vegan and vegetarian show in the UK, V-Delicious attracts over 25,000 visitors to London’s Olympia each year and hopes to send everyone away full of new meat-free ideas and recipes.
Hang out at the V-Theatre for free talks and lectures from some of the UK’s leading dieticians, nutritionists and environmental experts. Wander down to the V-Kitchen to see live cooking demonstrations of amazing vegetarian, vegan and meat reduced meals, and hop onto the V Recipe Exchange thousands of online recipes and ideas from the show in a giant cyberspace cookbook.
Away from the food there are heaps of exhibitors showcasing the latest vegetarian and vegan drinks, cosmetics, clothes and shoes.
5. The London Restaurant Festival
The London Restaurant Festival isn’t really a food show in the sense that the others on the list are. Instead it’s more of a two-week celebration of eating out in London.
Launched in 2010 the London Restaurant Festival set out to raise the profile of some of London’s most inspiring restaurants by allowing food fans to sample a number of them in a pub-crawl style approach.
For around £50-60 per ticket, punters can head off on the ‘Cicchetti Trail’ to visit six of London’s finest Italian restaurants, or on the ‘Japanese Journey’ to visit six of London’s finest Japanese restaurants or on the ‘Tapas Tour’ to visit six of London’s finest… well you get the gist.
American Express cardholders can also buy tickets for special one-off lunches created exclusively for The London Restaurant Festival by some of the biggest names on the London’s dining scene. There’s also a chance to meet the chefs and discuss their inspirations but again only if you’re in the AMEX elite.