So, we did it. Two days of pop-up brunching at my favourite Irish music festival, Electric Picnic, at the new Theatre of Food in Mindfield.
It was challenging. I have never delivered food on this scale with restricted access to equipment (pots, knives, you name it, my fault – bad planning and lack of experience). It didn’t help that I had to travel overnight from London the night before to even get there.
But I am so glad I did it. We delivered, people really liked it, and I have learned so much for next time.
Highlights for me were:
- the people – lots of great lovely people from my friends who helped, to customers, to chefs and restaurateurs in the Theatre of Food (which was absolutely fantastic too and a credit to Electric Picnic, the chefs and artisan food producers of Ireland). On the morning of the first brunch, I had had hardly any sleep, having prepped into the early hours. Paul Flynn – legendary Irish chef and fellow Dungarvan local – got stuck in and helped us with our prep.*doffs hat*
- there was no pretentiousness anywhere, lots of enthusiasm, people wanted to be involved, share their knowledge, help each other out and then have a laugh over a drink at the end of each day, with some live music thrown in for good measure.
- we made it to the front page of The Ticket fromThe Irish Times, who said we were the best brunch at Electric Picnic. Brilliant, but I must confess it filled me with mild panic, I wondered how we could cater for more. We managed, warning people that they may need to wait, we adjusted the menu where we could, and slow roast pork hash replaced the wildly popular chorizo hash when we ran out of it.
– we won a Bridgestone Award – a Bridgestone Award! – amazing and totally unexpected. Also an indication of how seriously Electric Picnic take their food. The Bridgestone Guides are the leading Irish food guide, and John and Sally McKenna saw fit to award us one of 5 awards, the judges award. I was thrilled, I still am. I can’t quite believe it.
- my brilliant friends. I honestly had no idea how hard it would be, but they pulled together fantastically and we got it done. I owe them all a big dinner, at the very least.
- the team at VSC Events who were fantastic and always supportive, getting everything we needed at a minutes notice.
So that was it! My camera was stolen but my friends and Aoife of I Can Haz Cook pooled together some photos for me. Thanks so much all.
My next festival will be Abergavenny in Wales where I will be giving a Masterclass with James Ramsden. It’s a brilliant festival – not corporate and all about the food – tickets on sale for our masterclass but also ones by Signe Johansen & Trina Hahnemann on the Nordic Terroir; Hangover Cures Masterclass from Fergus Henderson, Shaun Hill and Chris Hirst and Tapas Abergavenny Style from José Pizarro. Lots more too. Tickets available on the Abergavenny website – they are selling out too so be quick!
Hope to see some of you there.