Gloucester Quays Food Festival 2011

When the invite from the Gloucester Quays Food Festival hit our inbox, we really didn’t know what to expect, being it was their first one. But we knew that Gloucestershire is a foodie county and we were looking forward to sampling some Cotswolds delicacies and see what the local artisan producers had to offer… When I read down the invite we realised that we had been given a chance to interview Gino D’Acampo and James Martin! They were just another reason why we had to attend, that and the local cider (more on that later!).

So after a 5 hour drive for a 2 hour journey which involved a race with a reversing steamroller (which we lost) and crunching our car in a service station car park, we arrived at the Gloucester Quays Food Festival just in time to see the hundreds of people queueing up to have their Gino’s Pasta books (and shirts and knickers!) signed by man himself. Still slightly flustered by our journey, we got to ‘grill’ Gino (Click here for interview). He was charming and very charismatic, the typical TV chef that has earned him 1,000s of fans. But it was nothing compared to his cookery demo in the Aga Rangemaster Theatre – more of Gino’s ‘words of wisdom’ later in the blog…

Gino D'Acampo 'Grilled'

Read our interview with Gino - or "pasta boy" as James Martin lovingly called him!

"Do you want a flake in that, luv?" Let's Do Lunch with Gino and Mel, starting Monday August 8th at 12.30 on ITV1

It was a gloriously sunny couple of days and while the Food Festival was quite small it seemed very popular,  Gino D’Acampo and James Martin both sold out their cookery demos. And while there wasn’t a huge variety of food on the stalls, the crowd of visitors made the weekend a success. The stalls ranged from fudge to vodka, cheese to Italian Limoncello, Olives to pies, local meats and a Champagne bar.

Cheeses and chutney

The pie's the limit!

The Parson's Nose - the sausages were delicious... even after our epic sausage testing day!


... and cakes?

A food festival is never complete without a Jerk or two! (No we're not talking about Gino & James)

We particularly loved the locally produced cider and had a chuckle over the amusingly named ciders – particularly the tongue twisting Pheasant Plucker (I’m sure Ade ordered that one incorrectly – after his 4th pint he could hardly say my name). The Broadoak Vintage Cider was more cloudy and scrumpy like, it definitely hit the spot on such a hot afternoon. We steered clear of the bubbles as Ade had a glass or three too many at the recent launch of the Love Music, Love food cook book.

I'm not a Pheasant Plucker... etc etc

Gino got the audience all a flutter with his flirty way of cooking, this guy’s a real showman, I don’t think anyone was actually interested in what he was cooking, one lady even shouted out ‘you’re in Gloucester now Gino, get your kit off!’
He cooked two dishes of which we managed to get a couple of snaps of before some audience members ate it, cold.
Here are a few of the Italian’s words of wisdom and top tips… Showing off • After opening a packet of pasta on a woman’s bottom he turned to her husband and bragged “It’s because I can my friend.” •  On pasta – • “Pasta is like Italian men, minimum effort, maximum satisfaction!” • “85% of Italians cook with dried pasta.” • “Always spend the extra 10-20 pence on your dried pasta, the difference in quality is massive.” • “Serve about 100-110g of pasta per person.” Inspiration & ambition – • “I started cooking with my grandfather when I was about 8, he made amazing meals with simple ingredients.” • “I’m thinking of opening a restaurant here at Gloucester Quays, I’ll drive down once or twice a month to check the menu.”• “I get a lot of my food ideas from travelling, it’s very important to try new and different ingredients. Cooking and travelling go hand in hand.” (We couldn’t agree more!) Randoms – • “Suck Wotsits – don’t crunch, that’s like murdering them!” • “If it doesn’t go in my stomach then I don’t want it on my plate, spend more time choosing the ingredients than worrying about the garnish.”

Gino's 'perfect' Chicken linguine - I hope it tasted better than it looked!

Another Gino dish - we're not sure what this was called. But the crowd were more interested in the man than the menu!

There was surprisingly good music for a local festival, The Rinky Dinks were great fun and Ade really enjoyed Natalie PYT, she did a great cover of Jessie J’s Price tag. One guy, Alexander John, sounded very much like James Morrison. We were sat on the Lazy Lawn grass listening to him when we learnt that Amy Winehouse had died, his sound was very similar to hers and we hoped he’d do a cover tribute, he didn’t! We could have sat there all night drinking cider and listening to the bands but everything began to wind down by 7pm – far too early in our opinion… So it was back to the hotel

On Sunday morning (after a very eventful night involving Ade, very hot water and an embarrassing burn – email us if you want the story!) , we got to ‘grill’ James Martin (Click here for interview). In contrast to Gino, James was far more serious about food, he gave us the impression that he was a chef first and foremost  – the TV work was the, very welcome, icing on the cake (excuse the bad food related pun). He had just returned from filming a new series, out later this year and has been busy working on his new project – Life, fork & spoon.

Read our interview with James Martin - all chilled from filming his new TV show

James Martin’s demo was on the Sunday and was a very different story to Gino’s (or Pasta Boy as James calls him). He rattled through four dishes in forty minutes and what he said was very informative yet still funny and enjoyable. Our favourite quotes being • “I like Sainsbury’s because it keeps all the riff raff out of my Waitrose.” • “Rest meat for half its cooking time, I’ll tell you why. If I put your bum in a hot pan for 10 minutes, It’ll clench. After 5 minutes, it’ll still hurt but it would have relaxed.” • “Men, listen, treat chicken like your wife – leave alone and flip it over just the once… flip it over twice and it’ll get the hump!” • “Cummin seeds are good for flatulence, they don’t cure it but they smell better.” Apart from all the laughs we still left feeling that we had learnt a few tips.

The duck breast smelt delicious and was pan cooked to perfection.

James' food really had the wow factor, especially the spun sugar that was served with the chocolate soufflé and caramelised bananas.

All in all the Gloucester Quays Food Festival was a great weekend. There was plenty to see and do, including adult and kid’s cookery masterclasses, arts, crafts, live music and the speciality food stalls. Add to that the bargains to be had at shops such as Le Creuset, Oneida and ProCook and you have a full weekend… Our favourites by far was the perfect mix of celebrity chefs, Gino and James complimented each other so well – who ever booked them for the festival was spot on!

We’re looking forward to next year’s event already – hopefully minus the car crash and the nasty little burn!