Review of 'National Geographic Traveller Food Festival'


The inaugural “National Geographic Traveller Food Festival” was held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London in July. Being the first I was not entirely sure what to expect but had been promised tastes from around the world…what was delivered was decidedly less so. For a show purportedly about international cuisine there was only the barest of groups represented.

The entire exhibition occupied the main floor of the centre with the exhibitors mixed in with the speaking and group areas. There were a series of stalls from international (!!) food companies such as “Spaghetti House” (!), “Kay's Crabs”, and “Doughicious” as well as, of course, a number of tourism bureaus: Croatia (Istria), Grenada, Dominica Republic, Bahamas, Wales, Nicaragua, and Israel and travel companies. Other exhibitors included the famous cooking school “Le Cordon Bleu” which, when we visited, was talking about various types of seaweeds to be used in cooking.


The main stage which seated only a hundred people was often overcrowded and difficult to see anything. It featured cooking demonstrations by some big names in television and the opportunity to buy their books (throughout each event they continuously plugged these) from a Blackwell UK (bookseller) stall nearby where they also were signing.

Early on the Sunday of the show we were able to see American Tim Anderson (“A Taste of Japan”; winner of Masterchef in 2011, known for his Japanese cooking and restaurant) who demonstrated some basic Japanese cooking including that of gyoza.

Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson

Next up was John Katz (“Taste of the Middle East”) chef from “Berber & Q” cooking some middle eastern food.

John Katz

The last presenter we saw of the day was Masterchef judge John Torode who is a flamboyant cook and speaker, keeping the crowd entertained.

John Torode

There were other small theatres, “Speakers' Corner” (authors), “Wine Theatre”, “Cinnamon Theatre” (country/company talks) and “Tarrogon Theatre” (country/company talks) which were all quite crowded.

It was unfortunate to see such a small number of stalls and what was there was little more than you can get by just browsing a few web sites. There were very few tastings on offer and what were there were often extremely overcrowded (arriving early on a Sunday we were able to avoid these queues).

Generally disappointing and a lot smaller with less variety than I would have expected. Perhaps more in the way of actual international food for tasting and less on local groups. I come to a show like this expecting to see and taste something I have never tasted before but for anyone that has ventured out onto the London restaurant season or travelled overseas at least once none of what was on show will come as any surprise. Yeah, good quality names demonstrating but otherwise unremarkable.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2019-07-21

Business Design Centre

Location: London (England)

Address: 52 Upper St, The Angel, London N1 0QH ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Angel

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7288 6475


Located just off of the Islington High Road a short distance from Angel tube station this is a small, multi-use facility playing host to various shows (generally trade shows) throughout the year. Interesting for London it has parking and there is a Hilton immediately adjacent.