Foodies Festival Brighton

Now making its third appearance on Hove Lawns, the Foodies Festival is steadily becoming an established name on the Fringe circuit. With names such as Gennaro Contaldo on the roster, the festival is certainly one of the most high-profile events this month, a status reflected in the £12 ticket price. Although my own experience was unfortunately hampered by miserable weather - conditions which resulted in a much lower turnout than expected - the amount on offer was impressive.

The festival is split into different sections, including: the Chefs Theatre, where you can watch Michelin-starred chefs cook live on stage; the Drinks Theatre, where you are guided through the tastes of various alcohols; and the Chocolate Theatre, with sweet delights galore. There is also a Children’s Cookery Theatre, if you are eager to kindle your kids’ culinary talents (or simply need something to keep them occupied).

The bulk of the festival, however, is comprised of pop-up restaurants and sampling stations, with various food businesses competing for your attention. As you would expect, the quality here is variable: tasters ranged from a wonderful sticky toffee cheese (yes, cheese) to an - umm - “dubious” smoked mackerel pâté. There are not nearly enough samples to fill you up, though - unless you have a remarkably small appetite - so investment in something more substantial will likely be necessary.

One of the highlights of my visit was a South African wine tasting. The wine was lovely, of course - split evenly across white and red - but what made the experience so noteworthy was the lively commentary of esteemed wine critic Charles Metcalfe. Equipped with an upper-class drawl and a slight eccentricity, Mr. Metcalfe suited the role perfectly, and he peppered his speech with entertaining anecdotes of South Africa and its ‘sensational beauty’.

To get the most out of your money at the Foodies Festival, it’s important to arrive early. What you’re paying for is not so much the samples but the performances and workshops that run throughout the day, and most of these are finished by 5 o’clock. It was a shame that my visit was clouded by an overcast sky, but the potential on offer was clear. If you’re interested not only in food but in food culture - and you have the budget to boot - here’s something to get your teeth into.

Reviews by Joshua Feldman

Marlborough Theatre

The Room in the Elephant

★★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Both Worlds

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Animal Farm

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Brainchild

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

★★★★
The Dukebox Theatre

All Change

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Foodies Festival returns to Hove Lawns bringing with it the best in fine food and drink. See Michelin-starred and top chefs cooking live and visit the food & drink masterclasses. Dine out at our pop-up restaurant tents, take the kids along to the Childrens Cookery Theatre and sample tasty treats from artisan producers. A fabulous, fun day out.

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