The new-look Birmingham Food Fest gets under way this week with a chance for diners to get a taste of the city’s culinary “hidden gems.”

Fifteen independent restaurants and cafes will join together for a celebration of the city’s diverse food culture, serving up specialities from France, Thailand, Italy, India – and England, of course.

The restaurants will stage cookery demonstrations and taster sessions in a special event in Victoria Square, from 10am-5pm on Saturday.

The festival will also see the launch of a new recipe book, The Big Brum Cook Book, which features dishes from 29 Birmingham chefs including the Michelin-starred trio of Luke Tipping, Richard Turner and Glynn Purnell.

The Hidden Gems event will feature demonstrations from Chinese restaurants Chung Ying and Ming Moon, Indian spice house Sweet Chillies and Thai specialist Sabai Sabai. They will be creating dishes in the Heart of England Fine Food Cooking Theatre.

Scores of other restaurants will be running special promotions, offers and menus throughout the 10-day festival, which runs until October 23. The festival follows in the wake of the city being named the UK’s top foodie destination by Olive magazine.

The Hidden Gems day will also showcase the work of Chamberlains Fish & Chips, French bistro Chez Jules, organic eatery The Kitchen Garden Café and Moseley’s Kababish. Filini, Radisson Blu’s Italian restaurant, The Vaults, the Cajun-inspired The Soul Food Project and the Balti Triangle’s stalwart Imran’s will also be demonstrating their cooking.

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