A Taste of Christmas food festival came back to BaxterStorey with a bang this week! Teams and clients experienced innovative food ideas from our culinary teams across our London and South regions, with artisan producers, live cooking demonstrations, wine tasting and live music from London-based funk-soul artist, Danny Toeman.
Project chef Luke Smith presented London’s hospitality finger lunch with an ‘Oliver Twist’ theme. Guests were treated to a selection of festive finger foods, including turkey and pancetta meatballs with cranberry pipettes, whipped goats cheese and tomato cornettoes with balsamic pearls, and chipotle turkey and corn tortillas with spiced sour cream.
The South ventured to South East Asia for their flavours, with chef director Lloyd Stoll introducing Taste of Malaysia – Christmas with a difference. Guests sampled beef rendang, laksa with seafood, and tofu and aubergine curry. A large queue formed next door at the Diwali paratha bar, with a range of delicious Indian delights, including Chana Dahl and coconut chilli sambal.
Much-loved Better Breakfast was on offer, with chef Stephanie Ferguson and development chef Jack Wilkinson showcasing an array of chai apple crumble bars, full English breakfast pizzas and roasted plum and pistachio Dutch pancakes.
Crowds gathered at London’s festive bakes display run by pastry chefs Cristiano and Isabella; with samples of mince pie macarons, white chocolate and tea terrine and chocolate and orange brownies proving very popular.
The events showcased over 40 local suppliers including Wellington Fresh, Franconian Sausage Company, 4 Degrees C, Phat Pasty, Holy Cow and Unity Booze. Bidfood also attended, introducing their latest product range; the espresso martini cake was a definite crowd pleaser.
Complementing the food at the Ugly Duck was an extensive mix of beverages. Speciality coffee roasters Matthew Algie and barista trainer Derek Buckley gave guests a taste of coffee action with their nitro brew cocktails. The South region were treated to Matthew Algie’s winter warmers, including the popular eggnog and turmeric lattes.
Unity Booze oversaw the ever-popular booze bar, with Casso appletini cocktails and Christmas bubbles on tap. Crowds gathered at The Vintner wine bar, enjoying the delights of a Wyebrook Estate Sauvignon Blanc and Chateau Maledan Bordeaux Superieur.
Lara Kenny, creative manager commented: “The Taste of Christmas food festival was such a spectacular event. Seeing so many people come together to share what great festive ideas they have for our customers is always fun, and it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues. The next generation of graduates were so impressive too, from their dedication to making the festival a success, to their creativity and hard work in setting up, not to mention Chris Ribaudo who always puts on an incredible show!”
South region chef director Lloyd Stoll said: “It was a fantastic turn out for the South food festival. I would like to thank all the suppliers for their support and the team at Ordanace Survey for helping to assist in arranging such a successful event. For the chefs, well what can I say! Firstly, what a fantastic job in making it happen; for some of them it was their first one but hopefully one of many more to come.
“Our food festivals wouldn’t be what they are today without the support of our teams and those attending. As one big family, I’m certain that our commitment and passion for this industry will mean our food festivals will be around for a very long time”.
Regional executive chef Chris Ribaudo said: “Wow, I’m super proud and blown away by our team who helped make the London Christmas Food Festival such a glowing success. We could not have done it without our culinary team, chef super stars, service academy, grads, marketing and the support from all of our suppliers.
“One of the highlights for me was seeing the passion and creativity of the people I work with. Cyrus Todiwala OBE from Cafe Spice joined us for a guest chef appearance and certainly drew in the crowds with his stunning spiced up Christmas and witty charm. And that’s a wrap!”