Slow Food and Fab Festival make for happy bedfellows

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Fab Friday: A food festival Fab Friday: A food festival

The beginning of June saw restaurants up and down the country celebrate Slow Food week.

The not-for-profit organisation Slow Food seeks to promote a better way to eat and aims to reconnect people with where their food comes from and how it is produced, so they can understand the implications of the choices they make about the food on their plates.

The global movement seeks to encourage people to choose nutritious food, from sustainable, local sources that tastes great.

One place championing the ethos is the Dysart, Petersham, whose head chef, Kenneth Culhane, has recently been accepted into the Slow Food’s Chef Alliance.

The 100-strong group harnesses leading chefs in championing small-scale producers and promoting good quality, local and sustainably produced foods.

The Dysart is one of only 40 Slow Food Chef Alliance restaurants in London and the south-east and Culhane wowed customers with Slow Food dishes earlier this month, which included wild sea trout sashimi and middle white pork with wassail sauce.

Shane Holland, chairman of Slow Food UK, says: "Kenneth produces some of the very best food in London, and totally embraces the Slow Food ethos.

"It’s always exciting to see his latest menu for the combinations of flavour and textures."

Slow Food is working with the Richmond Food and Beer (Fab) Festival to promote good quality seasonal food, sourced locally, and its representatives will speak at the festival.

Head chef Culhane will do a demonstration and talk on the Saturday of the three-day festival, which runs across the August bank holiday and sees top musicians perform on the Crawdaddy stage.

Holland says: "There is so much great food produced in the west London area, and we have the Dysart, Petersham Nurseries and others supporting Slow Food in the very heart of Richmond.

"Real food, seasonal, local - cooked by chefs from local businesses and therefore supporting the wider Richmond area - sounds great."

Holland is looking forward to meeting the countless producers at the festival to hear about their produce.

He says: "I’m looking forward to getting to meet producers and actually talking to people who produce the food you’re about to taste and hearing the story behind it.

"As a nation we eat out a huge amount, so the food chefs choose to buy has a big impact on our rural economy, as well as the fact we often choose new things when we eat out.

"We get to taste new flavours, new ideas; so chefs work as ambassadors for our produce."

Richmond Food and Beer Festival; Old Deer Park, Richmond; August 23 to 25; 10am to 10pm; £12 to £40; richmondfoodandale.co.uk.

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