Organisers of this week’s Taste of Birmingham food festival are hoping for a record-breaking event.
The annual food and drink celebration in Cannon Hill Park has been given a sharper regional focus this year and the idea of a gastronomic celebration staged by the city for the city seems to have captured the public mood. Marketing Birmingham has taken on the franchise to run the event from Brand Events and it is confident that local management will reap benefits at the ticket office.
Ian Taylor, commercial director for Marketing Birmingham, said the four-day show which starts on Thursday, was on target to smash last year’s visitor numbers of 12,000.
He said: “We are forecasting up to 15,000 people, which is a 25 per cent increase on last year. We have six more restaurants than last year and more local content. There is a really good link between the business community and the food industry this year.”
Taste gets under way on Thursday evening with a brand new event, called Taste of Business, which has been dubbed the city’s biggest-ever networking party. A special speed-networking event is being staged on the night and is already over-subscribed.
The city’s three Michelin-star restaurants, which have done much to raise the culinary profile of the city, are all represented at the show. Simpsons’ expert team will be cooking throughout the event while Turner’s and Purnell’s are taking turns in the guest kitchen during the weekend sessions.
In all, 17 restaurants will be selling taster courses, showcasing the best of modern British, pan-Asian, Italian and French cuisine.
Tickets are still available for all sessions, including Thursday evening. Saturday and Sunday afternoons are traditionally the busiest so advance booking is advisable. Children under 16 get in free if accompanied by a paying adult.
As well as the food and drinks, visitors will be able to enjoy musical entertainment courtesy of The Jam House and BRMB featuring a line-up of acts including blues, jazz, folk and classical music sensation Escala..
The electric string quartet, who appeared in the final of Britain’s Got Talent, fuse contemporary sounds with classical instruments and will be performing on Saturday.
n Tickets can be purchased online at www.visitbirmingham.com/taste and in the Birmingham tourism centres at the Rotunda and New Street.
Standard tickets are £10 in advance, £12 on the day. Crowns are the currency at the event and are redeemed for dishes at the restaurants at the rate of £1 for 2 crowns.