Category Archives: exhibition

World Travel Market, Excel

The world descends on the Excel Conference Centre in London every autumn. Every square metre of this vast space is taken up by this truly international trade event. For several years I’ve been either videoing or photographing for ACFI, a news agency base on Gran Canaria. The trouble is, I don’t speak Spanish so I find myself doing a lot of smiling!World Travel Market Excel photographer-2-7

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Presidente del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, President Antonio Morales. Recently elected to the post, he was very patient waiting for the photography, a nice man I think.

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María Teresa Lorenzo, consejera de Turismo, Cultura y Deportes del Gobierno de Canarias

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La consejera de Turismo del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Inés Jiménez

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La consejera de Turismo del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Inés Jiménez

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La consejera de Turismo del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Inés Jiménez. Presidente del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, President Antonio Morales Maria Teresa Lorenzo

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Presidente del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, President Antonio Morales records a piece to camera about the World Travel Market for Gran Canaria TV.

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Presidente del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, President Antonio Morales interviewed Gran Canaria radio from The World Travel Market at Excel, London

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Tha Canary Islands stand at World Travel Market, Excel Exhibition Centre

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Meeting one of the hoteliers on the Canary Islands stand

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Yummy smoothies made freshly on the Canary Islands stand.

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Inés Jiménez performing the official opening of the stand. At least I think that was what she was doing.

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Cake International at Excel a feast for the eyes, if not for the tummy!

Let me eat cake!

I like cake. No more explanation needed as to why I went to the ‘Cake International’ exhibition at London’s ExCel, a vast, vast space that houses several exhibitions at once, ExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9915but there was no problem finding Cake International, I followed the trail of ladies.

Described as ‘The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show’, there are demonstrations and workshops, hands-on classes and stands selling gadgets and tools for cake decorators and bakers. But I was most interested in the fantastic creations entered into the many competition classes. The imagination and skill that’s gone into making these cakes is obvious, but as I photographed them I realised that cake decorators are designers, structural engineers, masons builders and painters.

ExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9969ExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9985I haven’t read ‘50 Shades of Grey’ or seen the film, but I recognised all the references in Rosie Cake Diva’s astonishing installation. Christian Grey stands outside a darkened room, and inside he’s there again, with a look on his face to put you on your guard. Well, except he’s made from cake, built on a strong frame and made from Genoese sponge coated with white chocolate ganache, modelling chocolate and sugarpaste.ExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9978

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My only cake-decorating attempt was a birthday fort for my son. I don’t bake very often just because I eat it. All of it, given a chance. I went to school before boys were allowed to do cookery, or home economics, or food technology. David Burch and I asked if we could do cookery but were told it was timetabled against metalwork so we couldn’t.

ExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9929You wouldn’t imagine that working metal might be useful in the cake decorating world, but look at this fantastic cake stand. It’s made by metal sculptor Otis G. in his garage. He says it’s just a hobby but he creates designs in his head and makes them without a plan, so in effect Otis sketches with metal in three dimensions. They’re TIG welded and then powder-coated.  Have a look at his website, he’s built some incredible structures including life-sized horse.
ExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9949Several stands had experts demonstrating their product. It’s fascinating watching a craftsperson at work, but perhaps I should call Beryl an artist!

ExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9945There’s great creativity, beauty and humour on display at Cake International, these are some cakes that caught my eye, remember, they’re made out of sugar!

Cupcake display at Cake International ExCel Londonvery dramatic scene from Snow White. Cake International ExCel LondonHard to believe it's a cake! Cake International ExCel LondonNot sure who he's meant to be, but he looks terrific. Cake International ExCel LondonExCel Cake Sugarcraft Decorating Baking exibition London event photography -9966.jpgLife-size and life-like character from the Avatar film. Cake International ExCel LondonGood diet/bad diet. Cake International ExCel LondonDetail of a wedding cake at Cake International ExCel LondonBrilliant novelty cake at Cake International ExCel LondonColourful wedding cake at Cake International ExCel LondonWedding with delicate detail at Cake International ExCel LondonNot very appetising, but quite brilliant stature reminiscent of Gunter von Hagens Body Form exhibition. Cake International ExCel London A beautiful lily on a wedding cake at Cake International ExCel LondonEinstein at Cake International ExCel LondonSo real real you to pat them! Cake International ExCel London

Trevor Aston works in Richmond, Southwest London and Surrey as a portrait, event and editorial photographer.

BBC Good Food Show – great for greedies

I walked into the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show at Olympia in London to be met by a large Lexus. That’s not the Latin name of the lesser known, slightly sour fruit best eaten after it’s passed through the gut of a Yak on the Himalayan plateau.  It’s the luxury car, and the show’s main sponsor. I’d come in the hope of eating lots of samples, finding some interesting flavours and meeting some great producers.  Keeping an open mind to new tastes and textures can lead to making culinary discoveries and enjoying more of life’s greatest pleasures, eating!  I know what I like to eat and like to eat what I know I like, but too many people try something once, don’t like it and refuse to ever try it again.

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The first stand to catch my eye was The Fickle Fish offering a couple of types of anchovies.  Straight away my open mind was being tested by all too vivid memories of a disgusting pizza I’d part eaten in a Brighton Italian restaurant.  I had no idea what a good achovy should taste like.  They had two varities on offer, one smoked and one not.  It’s said that there’s only one thing that smells worse than an anchovy, if you don’t know email me and I’ll tell you.  Both types offered by The Fickle Fish smelled terrific and yes, tasted even better.  Strong flavours but still delicate and not too salty.  The smoked element wasn’t overwhelming and seemed to add a certain sweetness.

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The wonderfully named Plum Turner from Oppo Ice Cream

So what might be a good thing to eat after an anchovy? Well how about ice cream?  To my surprise it worked really well.  I tasted some Oppo Ice Cream salted caramel with Lucuma, in fact not ice cream at all because it’s made with Stevia leaf rather than cream and sugar. It was really nice and creamy. So was the Madagascan Vanilla with Baobab.  I don’t know what Stevia leaf is, but it’s great in ice cream!  There were quite a few stands at the show boasting ‘guilt free’ or ‘gluten free’.  I don’t have any food allergies so it’s all self-flagellation to me.  I love ice cream but I don’t eat it every week because I know it’s not good for me.  I would happily eat fat-free sugar-free Oppo ice cream every day, except for the higher price relative to conventional ice cream.

Good Food Eat Well Trevor Aston Photography-8788Of course good quality food is more expensive but in my opinion the last place to save money is on the quality of the food you eat.  Nothing proves this better than fresh fruit, the cheap fruit piled high in the price-driven supermarkets has so little flavour it’s hardly worth eating. Some people claim it has nutritional value too.

I had to overcome my inner pedant to speak to Naomi at the Flavorking plum stand. Where’s the ‘u’?  I tried a slice of a Flavorking and it was a world away from any plum I’d eaten for months.  I love an English Victoria plum when they’re in season but I think the Flavorking was better, not just in the amount of flavour but the nature of the flavour.  They’re from South Africa which causes a certain amount of food-mile guilt, but can I balance that against an economic good in helping support African workers? Well I bought a packet of Flavorking plums from M&S on the way home. They worked out at 75p each, but the shear pleasure in easting beautiful, juicy fruit in February made them well worth the money.

Good Food Eat Well Trevor Aston Photography-8816I didn’t like everything I tried at the BBC Good Food Show, but I’m only writing about the good things.  I was interested in meeting food producers, you come across many when you live in London. The Fairs family have turned their Suffolk farm over to growing Rape, mum Clare and daughter Georgina were at the show with Hillfarm Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil. It has 50% less saturated fat than olive oil and a higher smoke point at 220°C. I tried the oil on some bread, to me it was lighter than olive oil and a gentler flavour.  It’s rich in Vitamin E and a natural source of Omega 3 and 6, good news if you have someone at home who doesn’t like fish.

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I’d never heard of Teff, an ancient grain from Ethiopia. It’s very small, 150 grains to a single grain of wheat and has no gluten. The bread made from Teff that I tried was heavier than ordinary bread but with a lovely flavour. Sophia told me that the Ethiopian government won’t allow Teff to be exported so she sources hers from Greece.

 

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There’s an island in Greece where only bees live, they use their solitude to make very nice honey!

 

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Cooking demonstration on the main stage


 

 

 

 

 

Heck food stall, Trevor Aston Photography

Ruby describes the flavour of Hecks sausages

The crowd around the Heck stand must surely mean they have something good to eat!  Yes, sausages. They had a number of flavours, simple pork, pork and apple, chorizo style and chicken.  For many years we told our fussy eater daughter that pork sausages were made chicken, although I’d never actually seen a chicken sausage, let alone tried one.  She’s never forgiven us and now turned vegetarian!  Heck make a chicken sausage and they’re actually very nice.  Heck source all their meat from Yorkshire farms, I think it’s particularly important to know where your sausages are from, it’s too easy to hind stuff inside!  I bought packets of all four varieties and they weren’t expensive.

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I love a stuffed olive and bought too many from Kharyi

Bounce snack balls come from Australia.  Very tasty but I could help sing the 1970's Bounce dog food advert

Bounce snack balls come from Australia. Very tasty but I could help sing the 1970’s Bounce dog food advert

There are several more BBC Good Food Shows this year, all over the country. For anyone like me who lives in a city but takes food seriously it’s great to meet people who’re as passionate about producing good food as I am about eating it!  I want to support them.

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Trevor Aston works in Richmond, Southwest London and Surrey as a portrait, event and editorial photographer.