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16 June 2009

Taste Fringe, sod Taste of London

If you're thinking of going to Taste of London this weekend, don't. Go to Taste of London Fringe instead.

Organised by Susan Smillie, editor of the Guardian's always excellent Word of Mouth blog - they have some top flight writers don't you know - this is the alternative to the oh-so-corporate Taste of London.

For the last few years Taste of London has been rather mediocre. This year, they have also done a very efficient job of putting my and other bloggers' noses out of joint.  I've heard that a number of real, professional journalists are similarly miffed - well done ToL!

It all started when ToL approached me and others asking if they could put banner 'ads' on our sites. Except they didn't want ads in the traditional, sense. They didn't want to pay. I'm not precious, I know the pecking order of SoF in the greater scheme of things.  But I also know that there is some value to ads on my website and I wasn't about to give it away for free.  Taste of London seemed shocked that I wasn't bowing and scraping at their Tasty feet. It is what is known in the trade as a PR Fail.

So, it's a rubbish event, hosted by people who don't give a toss about those of us who are passionate about our food - sounds like a compelling combination.

If you want fun and frolics and even a bit of aquatic action, then The Taste Fringe it is.  Follow either Word of Mouth, Susan's Twitter updates, or the Twitter hashtag #tastefringe (you don't need to be registered on Twitter to do either of the last two) to learn more about where and what is going on this weekend.  I'll close by wishing well all those who sail on the good ship Finale.

UPDATE: This post has generated a bit of heat.  See Bea in the comments below.  I fully accept her argument here and on Twitter that there are people exhibiting who really do care and the I shouldn't chuck them in the same bucket as the PR department.  Whilst she is right, I don't think I did bunch them all together. But if that was the interpretation then I am sorry.  If you read it the way it was intended, then carry on, nothing to see here.


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Hey Anthony
I'm posting on this on WoM soon with more details but just to be clear and open about where we're coming from, this is a fringe event in the sense that we're organisig a bunch of stuff around the festival, and limited stuff outside of it, but the thrust of our activities will be in and with Taste ...


Considering I'll be exhibiting at Taste of London, I have to disagree. Perhaps their marketing department is out of order, as I certainly wouldn't ask anyone to put banner ads on my website, and I don't, but that doesn't mean that the people who are really putting the show together (the restaurants and vendors etc.) don't care about food. I certainly care about food, and I'm sure many of the other restaurants care as well, or other luminaries such as Paul A. Young chocolates and Joel Robuchon.

@Bea it wasn't meant that way, I appreciate there are some decent exhibitors, but it's the waythat ToL are running things I'm not impressed with.

@Susan thanks for the clarification!

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