Wednesday, 9 July 2014

It's Foodies! It's a Festival! It's Cracker Jak!

Life could've taken a very different turn for Chef Jacqueline O'Donnell, from Glasgow's The Sisters Restaurants, if her Grannie hadn't intervened. Skipping home (I imagine) to tell her that she had chosen her High School subjects, Jak wasn't prepared for her reaction. Surely Italian, French, Spanish, Woodwork and Metalwork were mighty fine choices? 'She just about had a fit at me for not thinking about learning how to keep a husband!' Fanny would've been impressed! 'I love Fanny's name of course, but not to mention her attitude to cooking'. Fanny would've been really impressed, she always loved a little flattery - or as she knew it, especially if people were talking about her, just plain telling the truth.

Jak recognises that cooking has changed a lot from the 'domestic style' that Fanny was known for, and was taught in schools across the country. 'She did bring a lot of fun to the table though, but now it's more fun, fast and sexy!' This is Jak's mantra for her demonstration at the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh this year. 'Sometimes a lot of chefs miss that part of the brief - make them laugh I say!' Jaks' entertainment values are set to high - expect to see her bursting onto the stage with lots of stories and a laugh. Fanny did the same at her demos in the 1950's, although her impersonations of the French don't seem quite so funny today... 

'I want to inspire folk to go home, pop their peenies on and cook!' And those peenies should of course be pink - it's Jaks' motto. 'Pink is not a colour, it's an attitude' she tells me, and I know we are going to see that fun loving attitude in full force at Foodies. Jak believes that we desperately need more demos and programmes on TV about good, honest home cooking. Is she suggesting we bring back Fanny? Much as I'd love that, I think she's got other ideas 'I believe motherhood, family, health, taste, nutrition and Scotland need to be brought to the table'. Mmm, I wonder who might be just bloomin' perfect for that job?

'I can't actually believe that the whole of Scotland doesn't know how to make Puff Candy by now, so that'll be my finale at Foodies!' However, don't just expect to see Jak at her own demo, she has a habit of popping up all over the place 'I turn out to be the Foodies assistant comedian, which is a bit cheeky, but is fun'.  I'm not sure what Fanny would reckon to the Chef turning assistant, and comedienne to boot, but Jak doesn't care about that, it all makes for a good show. Expect to hear lots of stories from Jaks' time on the Great British Menu earlier this year 'I'm not under contract anymore, so I can chat about it now. It was brilliant fun, and some tears too. Not to mention the gossip...' Did someone mention gossip? I'm there!

I fully expect the audience at the demo to be jammed with fun loving, gossip hungry foodies, desperate to hear Jaks' stories and to learn how to make Puff Candy. For Jak though, there will be a few faces missing. 'I would've loved my grandparents to be there, but they'd all died before I was 19. It would be great to let them see what I actually did with my forced subject choices. I think they would be impressed!' Do you know what? I think we all will be! So, let's make it fun for Jak too - raid your wardrobe for all your best pink clothes and head down to the demo for some fast, sexy fun!

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 Bubbly 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.

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