For my January 'Ask the Foodie' column for Cambridge Edition magazine, I made some foodie predictions for the Cambridge food and drink scene in 2016...
Dedicated Cambridge foodies out there will be pleased to hear that the trend for local, independent food and drink is set to continue this year – at pace. There’s an unwaveringly huge appetite and support for the many new food and drink openings; steadfast new food favourites are still going strong; and we’re seeing local success stories like Hot Numbers expanding within the city. In 2016, I want to see firmly established food businesses who have been serving our communities for years brought to the fore as part of this trend, too, like Les Ward’s empire of village greengrocers and fantastic Arbury butchers The Art of Meat.
The local food and drink festival which helps celebrate this amazing local scene, Eat Cambridge, is back again in May (7-22 May 2016) and will be a fantastic and thorough showcase of all that’s good, new, and growing in the local food and drink scene. People’s interest in shopping and eating truly local products isn’t waning either; this year will see the growth of some inspiring schemes to handpick and deliver the best local food and drink direct to your door, such as Cambridge Artisan’s gift hampers. This year, look out for newbie producer/pop-up ‘allotment’ too, who are intent on turning locally produced and allotment-grown goodness into the most delicious and beautiful cakes and savouries possible.
I’m looking forward to the return of the Cambridge supper club this year. Yep, it did quietly slip off the radar somewhat in recent months. I’m talking the original, authentic supper club experience of booking in advance, waiting for the much-anticipated menu release, and then rocking up at the secret location to sit with strangers and enjoy a proper feast. In my opinion, the best supper clubs see the cook’s home transformed into a (tiny) pop-up restaurant for the evening. Rumour has it there are at least two ‘hosted at home’ supper clubs on the horizon in 2016; one featuring fine dining and one focused on true Indian home cooking.
Our beloved street food scene is still very much on the up in Cambridge. My street food venture, foodPark, is growing further this year with still more new traders setting up and creating innovative street food menus, new and revamped vans on the way, and new pitches and events coming up around the city. I’m particularly looking forward to a jam-packed summer of monthly foodPark NIGHT MARKETs and some intriguing collaborations with other local independent businesses in 2016. The onset of the street food residency is on the cards too. Whilst not new – Craig at The Free Press pub has championed a rotating line-up of street food chefs at the pub’s kitchen for the last year or so – some great city centre venues are now embracing this trend, like Novi with its Steak and Honour winter residency.
Enjoy! Look out for my tips on what’s hot in the Cambridge food scene, every month in Cambridge Edition.