Birmingham’s reputation as one of the country’s most prestigious gastronomic centres has, ironically, helped force the scrapping of its most-high profile food event.
The Taste of Birmingham festival, which has been held for several years in Cannon Hill Park, is to be scrapped after organisers Marketing Birmingham decided to stage a more populist show aimed at highlighting the wide variety of foods to be found in the city, home to three Michelin-starred restaurants.
Taste of Birmingham – which attracted 12,000 visitors in 2010 – had been widely criticised for its high prices and upmarket exhibitors, with celebrity chefs being preferred to the thriving local restaurant sector. There was also concern that the event was subsidised by city council taxpayers while targeted predominantly at high-spending customers.
Its replacement, provisionally called the Birmingham Food Festival, will be held over a ten day period in October. It will be based predominantly in the city centre and aimed at a greater cross-section of the local population.
News of the new festival comes on the same day that House of Fraser has announced that almost all of its’ once-prestigious food hall is to close. For the first time in 120 years the former Rackham’s will be without a butcher. Celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty closes his concession and the store’s delicatessen will make way for a revamped take-away and wines & spirits department. The changes are part of House of Fraser’s efforts to cut costs at the city centre store.