The Big Feastival

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at The Big Feastival on Clapham Common. The event was presented and put together by Jamie Oliver and his team and was positioned as the only food festival where all the proceeds go to charity. The primary charity was The Jamie Oliver Foundation while 25% of the profits went to the Princes Trust.

A puzzled looking Jamie Oliver and Jay Rayner

In typical Oliver fashion, The Big Feastival was laid back and family friendly. There were cooking demonstrations from chefs including Gennaro Contaldo, Georgio Locatelli, Levi Roots and Michael Caines MBE in ‘The Big Kitchen’ tent. Live music, childrens rides and fairground activities and a range of stalls selling some awesome artisanal produce were spread around the common. The food area brought a number of leading restaurants outdoors to offer small portions of their own selected dishes for the day. The format has become increasingly popular and at £5 a plate (which was a reasonable size) it was not too harsh on the wallet.

The bar was busy as you would expect, with cold beers on tap and ciders from sponsors Kopparberg keeping everyone cool on a warm afternoon.

There was some wine available at the bar, but I thought that there was a great opportunity to have an English wine producer involved, or an area where there was a little focus on wines as part of food culture. This may have been a conscious decision not to emphasize alcohol at a family focused event. But I think that a trick was missed. With the relaxed approach that Jamie Oliver takes towards the enjoyment of good food, it could have been great to have wine as a part of that – an opportunity to emphasize that wine and food pairing doesn’t need to be stuffy or follow rules.

Anyway – the event was pretty fun, although I am not sure I would have been too keen to pay the full £35 ticket price. (We bought on a group offer.)

I hope that the foundation raised the funds that they were hoping too, and that The Big Feastival becomes a regular on the Clapham Common calendar.

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