Experimental food | Event review
Held on October 21 to 22 at the Truman Brewery, East London, I had high hopes for the Experimental Food Society’s annual Spectacular – how could I not with the word spectacular in the title?
However, instead of spectacular I was greeted more with simply expensive.
Spanning across three areas of the Truman Brewery, the show encompassed a range of stalls selling a vast array of exquisitely displayed edible treats, from cakes to camel-milk chocolate. The only issue was the price tags.
The target audience seemed to be frivolous foodies as opposed to strapped students, leaving me wistfully eyeing up the colourful macaroons and bespoke cupcakes, reluctant to part with the asking prices.
Not everything was so extravagant though, and I did indulge in making my own tea blend with tea artisans The Girl With The Golden Cup; opting for a blend with rich chai spices and pink pepper.
Their signature range was also available to sample, with exotic options such as Wrath–a blend including Bramley apple and Bulgarian Rose.
Artwork on display included work by food-illustrator, David Meldrum. Illustrating everything he ate and drank every day for a year, his work is bright and eye-catching, exploring both the food itself and its packaging.
Other food-related art included a series of food landscapes by Carl Warner featuring fantastical scenes made of anything from chocolate to celery.
TV chef, Stefan Gates, from BBC series Gastronauts was also at the show selling his ‘Extraordinary Snack Box’ and giving regular talks on its contents which were, as the name suggested, far from ordinary. They included; a jellyfish; a fungus and noodle salad–which was pleasantly crispy and flavoursome; mealworms on yoghurt with bee vomit; and pan-fried lamb’s testicles on couscous, which with their slimy inner-texture, were by far the most nausea-inducing thing on the menu.
Talks were staged throughout the two days, speakers including a gastronomic tailor, a chocolate artist and a bread sculptor. There was also a live game show courtesy of Mertle’s Menus, where audience volunteers attempted to create a whole outfit made of food.
Other notable sights included chocolate constructions such as an Eiffel Tower made of Curly Wurlys and the incredible Dodo Cake by award winning cake sculptor and sugar artist Michelle Wibowo.
Although definitely providing an array of experimental food I was disappointed by the lack of samples available and the general prices of the food on offer. An enjoyable experience but definitely something short of spectacular.