The Ludlow Food Festival
I have somewhat lost contact with The Ludlow Food Festival event in the foodie calender in recent years, so much so that I have not even bothered to look at the running order.
To me when The Ludlow Food Festival first began to use full time organisers it seemed to go off the rails forgetting its roots. Cooking demonstrations by teams from supermarket chains that measure their takings in billions, although interesting in their own right were not in my view particularly germane to the Ludlow food scene, did not in anyway enhance the prospects of small local producers and could have been witnessed anywhere.
There was for me the sheer difficulty in actually getting on stage to do a demonstration, I had to get up at 5 am to do basic preparation and load the car with the pots and pans I would need for the demonstration, then cook breakfast for our guests and prepare for lunch, leave a full restaurant before lunch service had finished, drive the 18 miles to Ludlow, work my way through the crowds, illegally park the car whilst I fund someone with a trolley to take my gear to the demo tent, then I had to get to the rugby field where I parked the car, finally I had to run all the way to the top up the very steep mound to get back to the castle entrance, I ain’t that fit!
Also the year before Isabel and I had been shopping in Ludlow and stopped off in a restaurant in Quality Square for a cup of coffee. This would have been perhaps in late October early November, two ladies who by their open discussion revealed themselves to be Ludlow Food Festival organisers, were taking a working lunch whilst discussing the recent food festival. The one thing that stands in my memory was that one of them said quite loudly “what are we going to do about John Mackley and his chefs” (John used to be the chef organiser) this was said as if the chefs demonstrations were some sort of impediment to the smooth running of the festival, rather than an integral part of the attractions of the festival.
So I am happy to see that The Ludlow Food Festival has many of our chefs demonstrating this year along with some of the culinary stars from Britain and from Ludlow`s twin towns, and some returning stars Shaun Hill and Claude Bosi.
Will Holland and Laky Zervudachi of Direct Seafoods are going to demonstrate dishes produced from sustainable fish. With Will Holland doing the cooking this will be an adventure in culinary art.
There is a personal welcome return to The Ludlow Food Festival of 2 Michelin starred Claude Bosi. In earlier days I only ever got to see one of his demonstrations, he was a delight.
As he was already (miked up) his demonstration began off stage with frantic murmurings as he was trying to gather his produce to take on stage, after a few moments he appeared in a distracted fluster clutching a carrier bag. He explained he was going to attempt to produce one of his mothers more complicated recipes and wanted to make sure he got it right.
After not a little rummaging in his bag he produced a single Camembert Cheese, one of those small ones that you can buy in their little boxes. With great care he opened the box and removed the cheese which was of course still wrapped in its wax paper, he held his audience spellbound as he slowly and delicately unwrapped the cheese, he then confounded us all by putting the unwrapped cheese back in it its box and replaced the lid. Then with an actors flourish and a cheeky grin he popped the box in the oven. That was it! his complicated recipe was to bake a Camembert in its box, it works I have tried is several times and it is a wonderful way to eat Camembert with toast soldiers.