‘It’s a privilege to spread the word of great Spanish food’

The UK’s main touring meals, drink and music pageant, Foodies Pageant, is coming to Maidstone for a weekend of tasty treats.

The three-day pageant, which takes place in Mote Park, is making its Kent debut this yr, bringing superstar cooks, dwell bands and road meals stalls to the county.

Omar Allibhoy will likely be at Kent’s first ever Foodies Pageant. Image: Foodies Pageant

Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy is among the specialists showcasing his abilities in a dwell cooking demonstration at this yr’s pageant, and instructed me all about his ardour for cooking in entrance of a crowd.

“I really like educating and showcasing Spanish meals,” says the chef. “It’s thrilling, it’s the thrill. There’s one thing about cooking in entrance of an viewers that provides you a buzz and an vitality.

“It’s the interplay that you simply get from the viewers, from the braver ones who put their fingers up or simply shortly ask you a query when you’re cooking. It seems like a cookery course.”

Omar, who was born in Madrid and moved to the UK in 2008, has spent years introducing conventional Spanish meals to British eating places.

“You continue to discover lots of people which can be utterly unfamiliar with what tapas or Spanish meals is all about,” explains Omar. “Significantly with tapas and paella, all people has heard about them, however they actually do not know a lot about how one can ship that at dwelling with mates, household and so forth, so I simply attempt to convey it ahead in the easiest way doable.”

Street food, world cuisine, sweet treats and delicious drinks are all served at the festival. Picture: Foodies Festival
Road meals, world delicacies, candy treats and scrumptious drinks are all served on the pageant. Image: Foodies Pageant

Omar has managed to do that along with his much-loved restaurant chain, Tapas Revolution, which he first opened in 2010.

There at the moment are 9 Tapas Revolution eating places across the nation, together with Bluewater, close to Dartford. However will followers discover any of their favorite dishes from the menu at Foodies Pageant?

“I’ve to say, I have not but deliberate what I am doing – however I could convey a number of the classics from Tapas Revolution!” laughs Omar. “Simply to point out folks how we do them to allow them to see that, despite the fact that we’ve grown right into a nine-restaurant group, we nonetheless do issues contemporary utilizing improbable produce. And likewise to showcase a paella that we’re very well-known for too!”

Omar opened his first Tapas Revolution restaurant in 2010 and now has nine restaurants across the country. Picture: Ebury Press
Omar opened his first Tapas Revolution restaurant in 2010 and now has 9 eating places throughout the nation. Image: Ebury Press

Foodies Pageant may show the right alternative for Omar, and plenty of different cooks and meals producers on the invoice, to spice up their profiles at a vital time, because the restaurant proprietor expressed his issues about the way forward for the hospitality trade.

“For us within the eating places, we’ve been hoping for a really very long time,” says the businessman. “We have been hoping that the pandemic would come to an finish and it might all get higher, and now it appears, sadly, issues obtained rather a lot tougher. Earlier than it was Brexit and the employees, now it is the price of the produce and the vitality payments, and clients are tightening their budgets.

“It’s not trying nice for our trade, however we are able to solely wait and see within the months to return.”

Foodies Festival now pulls in huge crowds across the country with 12 events throughout the summer. Picture: Foodies Festival
Foodies Pageant now pulls in big crowds throughout the nation with 12 occasions all through the summer season. Image: Foodies Pageant

Nonetheless, Omar is feeling hopeful, significantly about what Foodies Pageant has to supply not simply him and his fellow cooks, but in addition the crowds of tourists eager to get pleasure from a day of scrumptious foods and drinks.

“It is an occasion that I actually look ahead to,” says Omar excitedly. “They’ve three phases, one which they dedicate to pastry and baking, one is all about wine and liquors, and the opposite is all about road meals, which is the one I’m doing a present on.

“You will have the funfair, loads of stalls that promote meals – and by loads, I imply dozens of them! – bars, small exhibitors making an attempt to promote the artisans merchandise. After which you’ve got the dwell bands which can be tremendous entertaining. Everyone that has been having fun with the Foodies Pageant all through the day ends in entrance of the stage having fun with the dwell music and having a number of drinks. That is why I like doing it yearly.”

Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe from boyband Blue will be performing alongside Scouting For Girls, Liberty X and East 17. Picture: Foodies Festival
Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe from boyband Blue will likely be performing alongside Scouting For Women, Liberty X and East 17. Image: Foodies Pageant

This yr, Kent’s Foodies Pageant options dwell music from Scouting For Women, Blue, Liberty X and East 17. The artists will likely be joined by cooks similar to MasterChef’s Tony Rodd, Dhruv Baker, Sandy Tang and Thomas Frake, in addition to Patrick Hill and Alex Yates.

The pageant started in Edinburgh in 2006 and now, 16 years later, travels throughout the nation and hosts 12 big foods and drinks occasions every summer season.

“It is a privilege that I get to do Foodies Pageant and showcase my cooking and unfold the phrase of nice Spanish meals.”

With world delicacies on each nook, thrilling dwell leisure and the stamp of approval from Omar, Foodies Pageant is bound to make a bang at its Kent debut.

Foodies Pageant is at Mote Park, Maidstone, from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26. Ebook tickets on-line here.

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