We’re delighted to report that Edible London 2018 was a raging success and the feedback from our guests has been 100% positive. As Edible London and other tours are a major fundraiser for the chapter this gives us a considerable input into our bursary funds.
As you’ll see from the many photos below, our guests managed to keep up with a hectic pace over the four and a bit days they spent with us in May. Credit for the photos goes to Dame Chrissie Walker and Mike Mathes – husband of President Hayley Matson Mathes and First ‘Dude’!
Wednesday 16th May – Welcome Reception
We welcomed our US guests at Parabola Restaurant in the Design Museum – this gave us plenty of room for London Dames to join us and meet our dynamic guests.
On Thursday our visiting Dames went to the amazing School of Artisan Food at the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire where they were the guests of Dame Alison Swan Parente (MBE). They were treated royally by the school, and ended their visit with a personal tour of private rooms at Welbeck Abbey followed by tea. On arrival back in London we whisked them to the lovely Honey and Smoke where Chef/Patron Sarit Packer and her mostly female crew gave them an Eastern Mediterranean feast par excellence.
Friday started with Culinary Tours of several areas of London – our visitors were split into groups to wander the streets of: the City of London (Leadenhall Market) led by City of London Blue Badge Guide Tina Baxter; Soho led by expert guide Peter Berthoud whose historical knowledge of the area was key; Portobello Road and surrounds led by local resident and London Dame Caroline Hope; and, especially for the gardeners, a tour of the Chelsea Physic Garden by docent Annabel Allott followed by a quick whizz around Fortnum and Mason. All the tours included a lunch stop – the Lamb Tavern in Leadenhall Market, Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly, GinTonica in Portobello, and Cafe Murano in St. James’. Sadly we only have photos of the Portobello tour which included a pre-lunch gin tasting at The Distillery – lucky things!
After lunch the group headed to 67 Pall Mall, the Private Member Wine Club, where a comparative (blind) tasting of English Sparkling Wines and Champagnes was presented by Steven Spurrier MW – well-known to most of our US guests as the host of The Judgement of Paris, the famous tasting where California wines were pitted against the wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux and won. This time the Champagnes came out on top, though the English sparklers gave them a run for their money!
The Innholders Livery Company, with Chef Herbert Berger, was a special destination for dinner, so special transport was laid on – an original London Routemaster, complete with ‘clippie’, made short work of the journey from South Kensington to College Street, south of Cannon Street. A perfectly executed dinner was accompanied by baroque music from a lutenist in the gallery and our guests were thrilled to be dining in such prestigious surroundings.
Saturday is always market day during our Edible London tours, and this was no different – on arriving at Borough Market our early birds split into two groups with those more intrepid Dames following Jacqui Pickles and Meredith Whitely to Maltby Street and Spa Terminus. While the groups were exploring, our London team was busy shopping the market for a special picnic lunch which was served at the Globe Tavern – as this was also a certain Royal Wedding Day, we’d gone to town decorating the space and staff with Borough Market had assisted with providing a tv screen and bubbles from Nyetimber to toast the happy couple. There were a few tears and lots of laughter as all eyes were glued to the screen until the ceremony was over before tucking in to a veritable feast of seasonal fruit and veg, delicious cheese and charcuterie and a delightful cake from Luminary Bakery.
Some of our London teaching Dames had agreed to share some their skills and expertise with our guests, so on Sunday morning we convened at Our Table, a multi-kitchen cooking school in Farringdon. The US Dames cooked, learned some new dishes, and in doing so provided lunch for the group. Dames Silla Bjerrum and Angela Malik started their group on making paneer – a completely new adventure for them – which was to accompany a lentil salad and samosas for the first course. Meanwhile Dame Valentina Harris’ group, ably assisted by Dame Jacqui Pickles, were learning the finer points of pasta. They turned out ravioli staffed with spinach and ricotta, tagliatelle with a classic tomato sauce and rotolo stuffed with wild mushrooms for the main course. To close with a bang, Dames Miranda Gore Browne and Rachel Davies presented a triple layer sponge with fresh whipped cream and strawberries, and a classic Bakewell tart for dessert.
As the lunch drew to a close, Dame Julia Platt Leonard interviewed Honorary Dame Sheila Dillon about her lifelong love of food and how it led to her becoming the ‘voice’ of food on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme.
Sunday evening was a time for thanks and farewells at Chef Phil Howard’s Elystan Street restaurant which he had kindly given us for the night. Speaking eloquently of his culinary ethos – seasonality and sustainability – Chef Howard welcomed the group before letting his food do the talking. The meal was peppered with a few speeches and presentations and then, suddenly, Edible London was over for another year.
With many thanks to all those London Dames who helped make this event possible:
Event Organisers: Sue Carter and Jacqui Pickles with much help from Valentina Harris
Volunteers: Silla Bjerrum, Rachel Davies, Sheila Dillon, Anne Dolamore, Miranda Gore Browne, Caroline Hope, Angela Malik, Giselda Parkin, Mary Pateras, Julia Platt Leonard, Chrissie (and Graham) Walker, and Meredith Whitely
Donations to Goody Bags: Dames Chantal Coady (Rococo Chocolates), Anne Dolamore (Grub Street Books), Clare Marriage (Dove’s Farm Oat Bars), Giselda Parkin (Home Made Fudge), Alex Robson (King of Soho Gin), Meredith Whitely (Food at Heart Cocoa) and Friends: Bonnie Brulee (MisoTasty Miso Soup kits)
Thanks also go to our hosts at many venues, especially Dame Alison Parente.