The London Evening Standard aims to inspire readers by staying on top of food trends and featuring regular restaurant reviews from the likes of Fay Maschler, the capital's longest-standing food critic.
A worthy winner of this year’s Best Debut Event Award, the Standard's London Food Month (LFM) was a month-long celebration of food, which featured a bustling outdoor Night Market and more than 400 events across the capital throughout June. Curated by food critics Grace Dent and Tom Parker Bowles, creative directors for London Food Month, it included the best British and international chefs, including Angela Hartnett, Fergus Henderson, Dan Hunter, Ana Ros and Massimo Bottura.
Unique eating experiences
LFM opened up the capitals eateries with the ultimate foodies' guide to eating out and having fun in London. It gave access to special collaborations and unique experiences across the capital, celebrated the diversity of London's cultures and cuisine, and was supported by a major media campaign that placed a spotlight on the latest food trends influencing the London food scene.
Events throughout the month included: 70 exclusive lunches, which ranged from Jamie Oliver's 15th anniversary lunch at Fifteen through to Asma Khan's Come Aboard the Darjeeling Express, a celebratory feast for Eid; and 20 exclusive supper clubs, including an all-night Bloodshot Supper Club at The Dairy and Mandy Yin's Memories of Malaysia Feast.
More than 60,000 tickets were sold for the Night Market and special LFM brunches took place every weekend throughout June, with highlights including the Paradise Garage Ketel One vodka disco brunch, and the Japanese brunch series at Sakagura. Other exclusives included Fortnum & Mason’s midnight feast and the three generations of the Roux family cooking together for four lucky punters.
Awareness drive creates a legacy
The festival partnered The Felix Project to promote awareness of food waste and to encourage the industry to donate surplus food to help vulnerable people in the capital. "LFM made sure that the issues around food waste and food education were a key part of the festival; from hosting the exclusive UK screening of the film WASTED! The Story of Food Waste, down to the launch of Refettorio Felix. We hope this happy partnership continues into LFM 2018," says The Felix Project’s Michael Millership.
The launch of Refettorio Felix was a huge achievement for LFM. Sponsorship was secured from partners including Westfield and Grundig to transform an existing day centre into a beautiful space with a brand new hi-tech kitchen that served meals created from food waste to almost 1,000 guests across the month. A stream of Michelin-starred chefs, including Alain Ducasse, Angela Hartnett, Giorgio Locatelli, Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti, worked a shift each in the Refettorio Felix throughout June, and the kitchen and community space will continue to operate with volunteers and guest chefs indefinitely.
The UK's biggest food Instagrammers took over the LFM Instagram account during June, all for free, and thousands of followers were gained. The hashtag #londonfoodmonth received 9,968 likes on Instagram, 8,463 likes on Facebook and 3,187 likes on Twitter.
Leigh Fergus, managing director of organisers ESI Live, says: "It’s been an exciting year for ESI Live with the launch of our consumer division, and to be awarded Debut Event of the Year for London Food Month was brilliant. The consumer division is set to grow and we are launching more new and exciting events in 2018, starting off with our female-focused wellbeing event, RESET, in March."
London Food Month in numbers
60,000 tickets were sold for the Night Market
80 tours and masterclasses were held, with subjects including butchery, cocktail and the art of the perfect sandwich
300 bars, restaurant, markets and pop-ups took part across the capital
20 exclusive supper clubs ran throughout LFM
9,968 likes of #londonfoodmonth on Instagram