Eat Cambridge celebrates the best of our local food and drink talent. Lisa Millard tucks in
There is much to celebrate about Eat Cambridge. Now in its seventh year, the annual spring festival that brings together the best food and drink from across our region is a showcase for the foodie talent we are lucky enough to have in our locale.
Founder Heidi White – she’s the powerhouse behind street food collective foodPark – is at the helm and has been busy cooking up this year’s offering for many months now, including lots of not-seen-before names, a shiny new festival patron in the shape of chef and food writer Rosie Sykes, and the launch of the Cambridge Brewing Collective and mini craft beer festival featuring an array of local breweries.
“It has been a labour of love to pull it all together over the last few months – and it has taken an awful lot of hard work, I must admit – but it is amazing to see the festival coming together,” says Heidi. “I’ve been overwhelmed yet again by the enthusiasm and dedication to be found in our food scene.”
The focus on local talent is the main ingredient of the festival. “It has been described as a boutique food festival, due to its small, locally-focused nature. I like that the festival stays true to its original aim of celebrating our local food scene. You won’t find national names and chains at the festival, and our events give food lovers the chance to meet with the people behind the independent businesses we are celebrating. It encourages a connection between the consumer and producer that you don’t find at large scale events and supermarkets.”
Heidi says the local food scene continues to boom and is delighted that independents are at the forefront. “It is now completely the norm to see independent pubs and restaurants in our city centre alongside the big chains, and it has been so heartening to see how many people have heard of the smaller, off-the-beaten tracks producers that Eat Cambridge has been shouting about for years. Launching foodPark back in 2014 and bringing a street food scene to Cambridge has taken me along a similar journey; at the start it was all about educating people about street food vans and a new style of ‘fast food’, and now foodPark and eating from street food traders is an established part of the city’s dining landscape.
“Even though our food scene continues to grow, I am constantly seeing new ideas, new collaborations, and new openings emerge from it. It’s an exciting place to be. “
Eat Cambridge runs from 11 to 26 May, serving the Main Event – a feast of a food fair – at Cambridge Guildhall on Saturday 11 May. Pay £2 on the door entry and children free. Two weeks of delicious fringe events follow taking place throughout the city and beyond. For the full programme and to book visit eat-cambridge.co.uk