How did the idea/concept for the twelve days of dining in Bristol originate?
The inspiration for Eat Drink Bristol Fashion came early last year following the first pop-up restaurant Luke Hasell (co-director of EDBF) put on as a joint venture. Luke has a farm nearby the pub and co-owns Tipi Events, the company that put up these Tipis for a range of events and I knew him as he supplies me with beef from one of his farm’s spin offs – The Story Organic Meat Group.
As Luke had the land and the tipis, we whacked one up overlooking Chew Valley Lake and thought it would be fun to serve my Sunday Lunches in this unique setting. We sold it as a “Secret Sunday Lunch” and gave people a destination to get to in the morning. We picked them up in a tractor and trailer, put a band on and wowed them with the whole concept. We served 400 that day and the whole thing spiralled from there!
The difference about this event is that it is restaurant led. We are aiming to celebrate some of the best independent restaurants and suppliers by bringing them to the centre. The idea of bringing in different restaurants to one place came from our popular “Evening with the Chefs” event that we’ve been running at the Pony for a few years now and sees 3 or 4 places team up to serve one menu. Above all else it’s diverse – you can have anything from a 6 course taster, a Sunday roast, or just a snack in our modern British tapas bar. Failing that, just come down for a cider and enjoy the surroundings!
Are any further events planned?
We always have a range of events and speciality evenings planned at the Pony & Trap while events is TipiEvents’ bread and butter! In terms of joint collaborations, we may look to do something a bit more permanent in Bristol in the near future but it is early days on that one. We will almost certainly do something in the Chew Valley later in the summer though so watch this space – you can stay up to speed by signing up to the Pony & Trap mailing list at www.theponyandtrap.co.uk
What do you feel Bristol offers as a ‘food city’?
As a food city it offers so much and that is what this whole event is about! We want to shout about all the good stuff that is going on here and let the national press know that there is life outside London.
Bristol is thriving with so much going on in the form of differing restaurants, festivals, pop-ups, food clubs, online communities and much much more. The rich multicultural fabric of our city is well represented in the food scene and I believe the South West is the best region in the country for produce. A great coastline and a whole host of organic farms makes it a great place to be working right now.
To improve it, I’d like to see more independent restaurants given a chance to shine in the centre of the city. The authorities have done so much good work in making the waterfront and centre a lovely place visually, but scratch beneath the surface and there is a dearth of thriving independents. We could do with giving them a leg up to move in to the city to give Bristolians more option than all you can eats.
Is there a particular meal you can recollect that changed your outlook on food and why?
There is no one particular meal that changed my outlook – I just love food and love to cook. Some people have other hobbies and while I enjoy a load of different things, even in my spare time I will go to a new restaurant or be reading a cooking book. Rightly or wrongly, food is not only my work and passion – but it’s there in my downtime too!!
On an evening where you could indulge yourself and cook any food of your choice what would you choose?
I rarely get the opportunity to cook for myself but when I do it’s something very simple. To be honest, when indulging my choice would be a nice big portion of fish and chips from the shop. My favourite meal without doubt. The only food I won’t eat is baked beans!