TOP TV chefs are warming up their pots and pans as they prepare to set tastebuds tingling at Foodies Festivals. Kitchen superstars, such as Ed Baines, Cyrus Todiwala, Levi Roots, Martin Blunos, Ruth Clemens and Emma Forbes, will cook signature dishes live in the Chef’s Theatre and explain how fans can prepare the same dishes at home.

Cyrus - who is taking his mobile kitchen to the first of this year’s Foodies at Hampton Court Palace on May 5, 6 and 7 - said: “We're tremendously excited about our new Cafe Spice Namaste Mobile because it's so state of the art, it's practically a restaurant on wheels. It certainly has the facility to turn into one.

“We'll be able to prepare on the premises some of the interesting food from all over India that Cafe Spice Namaste is known for. Just because it's a trailer doesn't mean people have to think they're eating food on the hoof. Just the look of the Cafe Spice Namaste Mobile, we hope, will be very reassuring to people who love and seek out good food.

“As one customer once said ‘eating Cafe Spice Namaste's food is like giving my mouth its own private birthday party’.”

On the other side of the site, film fans can enjoy a unique culinary experience all of their own at the Food of Love Cinema, which will show the best food films of all time and serve the meals shown in those movies during the screenings.

Blockbusters such as Moonstruck (pizza) and Blade Runner (noodles) will be shown alongside independent movies such as Tampopo(sushi) at the pop-up movie house so audience members can taste what the stars taste.

Director Hannah Robinson - who curated the programme for the Food of Love - was determined that the films shown should have real artistic merit and spent many weeks re-watching classics in order to narrow down her selection.

She said: “I’m really thrilled to be programming the cinema for the Foodies Festivals because it combines my two obsessions – cooking and cinema. I thought it would be a great idea to match the style of food with the movie, as good on-screen cooking always gets your tastebuds excited.  

“Sometimes films can re-excite you about food you’d got bored of – if you’re feeling tired of Italian, just watch the way they make pasta inBig Night, or Nicolas Cage slaving over the pizza dough in Moonstruck.

“For me, movies and cooking are both hugely creative and a way of exploring other cultures. I have always wanted to go to Vietnam, but until I do, I can get a flavour of the culture by eating Vietnamese food & watching The Scent of Green Papaya.

“You can also see in movies the universal way in which food is an unspoken conveyor of love or gratitude – like in Ang Lee’s amazing Taiwanese cooking film, Eat Drink Man Woman, and its Mexican sister, the wonderful Tortilla Soup. Some of the films I’ve chosen are because they show how sensuous and sexy food can be, like the egg-yolk scene in Tampopo.”

And the sexy aspect of food will be highlighted again in the ultra-luxurious VIP tent – for the first time open to the public – which will play host to the best of British cabaret, including the much-talked-about saucy burlesque food fight.

Internationally renowned cabaret stars, Missy Malone and Cherry Shakewell, have devised an exclusive routine for Foodies, which will culminate in the riotous on-stage cake battle.

Missy said: “The performances are all inspired by luxury and food, alongside the classic vintage glamour from the golden era of burlesque, between the 40s and 50s. The food fight is most people's wildest food fantasy re-enacted - who can resist beautiful girls covered in cake?”

Cherry added: “I simply cannot wait to get my teeth into a whole summer of edible fun at Foodies Festivals. I also can’t believe I’m being given permission to throw cakes about in wild abandon. The battle of the cream buns should not be missed!”

The burlesque food fight is just one of three that Foodies will be staging at each show. Another two will be held outside: one for kids and one for adults, both of which are for charity.

At the children’s one, the over-sevens can get kitted out in special cover-alls before throwing custard pies and gooey cakes at each other in a soft play area.

Parents can also take their little ones to the city beach to let them make sandcastles while they kick back in the sun. Staff serving from traditional brightly painted beach huts will bring ice cream, tea - or something a bit stronger - straight to mums and dads’ deckchairs.

There’s a chance to brush up on your al fresco cookery skills as well, as classes will be run on how to produce perfect bangers, moist kebabs and beautiful burgers at beach barbecue masterclasses.

Children can get stuck in with cooking too, at the Kids’ Cookery Theatre. The over-fives – helped by their parents – will be able to put together one small dish, such as pizza or cupcakes, under the expert direction of staff from Splat Cooking or Kiddy Cooks, who will then place their meals in the oven and make them available to collect once cooled.

You can buy tickets for Foodies online at or by calling 0844 995 1111. The shows are at the following locations in 2012:

Hampton Court Palace May 5/6/7

Brighton Hove Lawns May 25/26/27

Tatton Park Cheshire July 6/7/8

Bristol Harbourside July 13/14/15

Edinburgh Aug 10/11/12

London Battersea Park Aug 17/18/19

Oxford South Parks Aug 25/26/27

You can also enjoy a leisurely return cruise along the Thames from Richmond or Kingston to Hampton Court Palace with Turks Launches. Special ticket offer: Turks Launches return ticket PLUS a Foodies Festival day ticket for £18. Call 0844 995 1111 to book, or for more information visit:


Photo by Laurence Winram.