Sunday, 11 March 2012

My Day in the Life of a Sheffield Appetite

I apologise for being a bit distracted from the blog recently, but I do think it can be justified as just before Christmas another food blogger, Ros, and I thought it would be fun to get a few of our foodie contacts together for a pint down the pub.  Given our enthusiasm for food in Sheffield, the idea of a pint down the pub quickly evolved into the rather extravagant idea of a full blown event with demos and food.

After deciding to focus on some of Sheffield's food producers I contacted a few to test the waters and see how much interest there was.  We were amazed at the responses and we quickly realised that Sheffield is crying out for all things food!

From that point, even though we hadn’t even worked out how the event was going to work, I already felt committed; I didn't want to let the producers down, or worse still, come across as someone who doesn't see their ideas through to the end.  So, after a series of meetings, Ros and I, with the help of the husbands, set up Appetite.

The premise behind Appetite is to bring people of Sheffield together over food.  Food producers, chefs, restaurateurs, cafes, delis, pubs and food lovers; Appetite is for everyone.  We would love to get Sheffield on the food map; a difficult task for this industrial city, but hey, it's gotta be worth a go.

Luckily Ros and I are quite similar in our approach to things and we agreed that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it properly.  So, the next step was to set up our website.  Ros' husband has his own computer business (Your PC's Best Friend) so he was able to do everything 'techie'.  It was then up to Ros and I to agree the format and the content.

With the website came the logo, and despite the fact that none of us are particularly artistic, I think we've done quite well.  The blue works well against the gleaming steel like text and we have the option to change the colours according to the seasons. 

We were also thinking about venues and Fusion Organic Cafe seemed an obvious choice for us.  Not only did Fusion win an Eat Sheffield award last year, they have a gorgeous premises and we knew that they wouldn't be open for customers on a weekday evening (their bistro nights are held on Thursday’s and Friday’s).  Thankfully Melvin could see the potential in Appetite and he agreed to lend us his venue.

With a website, venue and a list of interested producers we planned A Day in the Life of a Sheffield Appetite.  From breakfast, to lunch, to dinner and dessert we had a producer lined up for every single meal of the day (including elevenses and a mid afternoon snack!).

Then we went live!  Again, we were stunned by the level of interest and we quickly sold out.  The press have been incredibly supportive too with the Sheffield Telegraph, Sheffield Star and Postcode Gazette publishing small articles to advertise the event.  I also managed to swing an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield!

Realising that there was no turning back and feeling under pressure to make sure the event ran smoothly Ros and I went into anal overload.  You have never seen so many lists, tables, plans and calculations; but come the week leading up to the event I felt pretty calm about the whole thing because I knew we'd put the work into the planning.

Of course the big day came around quicker than any of us imagined and before we knew it, we were at Fusion setting the room up for the main event.  Then the producers started to arrive.  Then the guests started to arrive...

There were lots of friendly faces; PJ Taste Peter, Urban Pantry Reece, Eat Sheffield's Niki, The Food Places' Steph and Dave... along with many new ones.  We had the press in full force too as Lesley Draper from Sheffield Telegraph, Ellen Beardmore from the Sheffield Star and Matt Dixon from Postcode Gazette had joined us... more pressure for us to get this first event spot on!

After a quick introduction to the event the demos started as follows;

Breakfast Moss Valley Fine Meats showed us how to make bacon and sausages.

Elevensies Teabox gave a tea master class and Komal of Fusion Organic Café bake a cake.

Lunch Just Preserves paired their chutneys with Pork pie by John Crawshaws and cooked some chicken and prawns with a chilli relish.

Afternoon Snack – Fusion Organic showed us how to make a lamb pasty.

Dinner Whirlow Hall Farm gave a talk about their farm and chef Pete from The York demonstrated how to make a warm egg and kale salad using ingredients from the farm.

Dessert Tamper Coffee gave a quick chat about the coffee scene along with some coffee tasters.  Our Cow Molly also gave a talk about their super fresh milk whilst the guests tucked into affogattos made using Our Cow Molly milk and Tamper coffee.

BeveragesBradfield Brewery donated a lovely selection of beer and we had wine donated by Moss Valley Fine Meats and Just Preserves.

Unfortunately that’s about as much as I can tell you about the event.  See both Ros and I spent the evening organising everyone, timing the demos, making sure the guests and producers were happy and clearing up.  I was too busy to even eat anything (although I did manage to snaffle half a boiled egg at some point)… I tell you now, from the initial planning to the event itself, it was bloody hard work but oh my!  What an amazing night!

Everyone worked so hard at making the event work with the producers helping us and each other with the food preparation, handing samples out and cleaning down.  There were many happy faces in the audience (and many full bellies!) and this made all the work worthwhile.  To go and watch some food demos is one thing, to have back stage seats is another, but to host an event like this is an amazing experience.

We’ve had some truly excellent feedback, check out the Appetite website for some of the lovely things that have been said about our first event.  Of course, we won’t let these comments go completely to our heads… we know that there are improvements to make and we’re committed to making sure that our events get better and better! 

Because, yes, there will be more events; in fact we’re already working hard on the next one.  We want Appetite to show off as many of the producers and chefs that we have in Sheffield as we can, so there’ll be a variety of formats used, focusing on different food businesses and charities on the way.

To keep up to date with our forthcoming events follow Appetite at @AppetiteSheff or check out the events section of our website.


  1. What a great event, cant wait for the next one! Sorry i spoiled the photo with my cheesy smile though :)


  2. Thanks Reece... and I think your cheesy smile made the photo!

  3. Are you aware that your RSS feed for Google Reader doesn't work? I'm therefore unable to subscribe to your feed.

  4. That's OK... don't mind me. Just ignore my comment without any acknowledgement whatsoever. Great way to run a blog.

  5. Nate.

    I do apologise for not responding to your comment as quickly as either of us would have liked. To be honest I did see your comment and I made enquiries into the setup of an RSS feed, but I was unable to solve the issue. My 'techie' skills are hardly what they could be and therefore I planned to tackle this issue when I had some free time. I would imagine that I will have some free time over the weekend, and I hope to resolve the problem then, but I cannot guarantee anything!!

    In the meantime, if anyone can offer me any tips/assistance with this, please do!


  6. No harm, no foul. Good luck.

  7. Nate I'm sorry but I can't work the RSS feed out. Would you like to subscribe by email?

  8. Thanks, but feeds are more convenient.

    I'm puzzled why you're struggling with this. It's all seems rather straightforward:

  9. It does look simple doesn't it? Sadly I have already read the guides and tried everything they tell me to do, but it still doesn't work.... however I do have a bit of a plan so bear with me.

  10. Nate. Thankfully we have an excellent IT department at Appetite and Your PC's Best Friend has fixed the problem. Do let me know if you have any further issues.