Thursday, 26 June 2014

Singh along with Tony at the Foodies Festival!

I was thrilled this week to witness my very own private food demonstration in the kitchen of Edinburgh's one and only Incredible Spice Man, Tony Singh. The front of house staff at the Old Bakehouse in West Linton, just 20 miles from Edinburgh, Tony's new restaurant home, warned me when I arrived that he had a cleaver in his hand and that I'd be 'lucky to get out alive, but go on through to the kitchen'... Was he channelling Fanny? Would I find a pile of poor assistants whimpering in the corner? Was he about to set to on an unsuspecting carcus with a sharp set of secateurs? Actually he greets me with a huge smile and a warm handshake 'I bet Fanny never had a restaurant, eh?'. I had a feeling this was going to be fun!

Tony was in full service prep mode, and a nosey blogger asking him a few questions about food demonstrations and old TV cooks wasn't going to slow him down. In what seemed like pure kitchen magic to me, without skipping a beat a whole box of tomatoes was expertly chopped, fried and transformed into something tasty, several phone calls were made, assistants given instructions and he even made me a cup of tea. 'Its only polite' he told me. Fanny would never have done that. 'I've got a fantastic kitchen team here, I couldn't do my demonstrations and TV stuff without them back at base'. Fanny would never acknowledge the team, but then again Fanny did an altogether different kind of foodie demonstration back in the day.

'I didn't know Fanny played big gigs and that' he told me when I asked what was in store for Foodies, referring to Fannys sell out performances at the Royal Albert Hall and Edinburgh's Usher Hall. 'I prefer more intimate venues where I can talk to people, get them asking questions and taste my food, even if that gets me in trouble with the health and safety folk. "Have they signed a waiver?" they ask me? I want to get folk excited about food and interact with me, otherwise it's just like being on the tele'. Tony admits he's more a fan of Julia Child than the 'funny montages' of Fanny he's seen on YouTube, but it's Margeurite Patten who has given him the best advice for performing. 'She was amazing, the original, and really inspired me - she was a revelation to me. She brought it home to me that people watching you on TV can't smell what you smell, can't taste what you taste, in her day they could only see her food in black and white. Amazing. She told me I had to reach out to the audience and capture them'.

Tony won't be doing any fancy nancy chef-y dishes at Foodies. So no souffl├ęs wheeled in on ice sculpture swans like Fanny was famous for - his demo will be simple, fun and filled with inspiration for recreating his dishes at home. 'There's a time and place for foams, potions and fancy equipment, but my demonstration at Foodies is not it. I want folk to think "I'm going to try that home" and have a laugh while they learn'. So, expect to see Tony's Nutella Gateau or other delights from his recent book, Tasty. 'We use Valrhona Single Estate Hazlenut Chocolate in the restaurant, but at home it's Nutella!' he tells me, with more than a flourish of Fanny. 'I was challenged at a party to make something and that's what I came up with - simple, fun and folk loved it'. As quickly as I was ushered in my time was up, well nearly. Ever the showman, Tony was keen for me to capture a photo of him with Ronaldo in the restaurant. No tiaras, no ballgowns, but plenty of panache.

As I left the front of house guy seemed shocked, 'You got out alive then? He must've liked you!'. I liked him too, and I think you will. Get yourself along to Foodies from Friday 8th until Sunday 10th August 2014 at Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, to see him in action, and be prepared to be part of the performance!

I'm delighted to be part of the Official Foodies Festival Blogging Team! 

Ticket Information

2014 Foodies Festivals tickets are now available from or by calling 0844 995 1111.

1-day adult ticket for Friday £10.00
1-day adult ticket Saturday or Sunday £12.00 (£10.00 concession)
3-day adult ticket £18.00 (£15.00 concession)
1-day VIP ticket £38.00 (Friday VIP ticket £35)
Opening times: 10am until 6pm.

VIP tickets include a glass of Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine on arrival, access to the VIP tent throughout the day, a goody bag and priority entry to theatre and masterclass sessions as well as a private bar with refreshments throughout the day and great views of the entertainment stage.

All children aged 12 and under go free to all Foodies Festivals when accompanied by an adult.


  1. How fantastic to have this opportunity! It looks like you had a lot of fun and that it was very relaxed and entertaining. Awesome! Looking forward to the next one!

    1. Thanks, he was a delight! It's fun to try something different!

  2. Oh wow - what a fantastic day with the wonderful Tony. Great to hear he was so influenced by the incredible Marguerite Patten - most of my childhood dishes came from her books. Looking forward to catching Tony at Foodies! :-)