I had the great honour of being Alberta’s head culinary representative at the many events our province hosted in London during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. It was an extraordinary opportunity to represent Alberta food products at the Olympics, AND be in London, England.

The experience of preparing menus and meals for our province as it showcased itself to the world, and being in London where the eat local movement started and celebrity chef restaurants reign supreme, was a food lover’s dream.  There were so many great food experiences during my official Olympic duties, and in the vacation days I took after all of the events were over. Just for you, I narrowed down my top 5 London food experiences:

1. Borough’s Market

This is the London’s legendary farmers’ market. This market has been around for centuries and it’s a phenomenal exploration of local and international produce, and some cool UK vendors. If you are in London, you have to check out the Borough Market.

2. Dinner at the Alberta High Commissioner’s House

Okay, so this is not something the average person gets to do when they visit London, but I have to count it as one of my best experiences when I was there. I was tasked with developing an Alberta-based menu for an exclusive dinner held at our province’s High Commissioner’s residence, a building steeped in history.

 

3. Barbacoa

This Jamie Oliver restaurant is billed as the UK’s first BBQ steakhouse and as a “cathedral to fire and food”. Those of you who know me well know that I have to check out a place that talks about fire and food in the same breath. There is a full butchery on site in plain sight, and the room, service, presentation and food were all beautiful. Make a reservation, book your flight and go.

4. Fish and Chips

You can’t go to London without having fish and chips. And if you ask a local about where the best fish and chips are found, you will get a 100 different answers. The reality is that we found great fish and chips in some random pub we stumbled upon. The recommendation I would give is to just explore. There’s a pub literally on every corner which means on most corners you are going to find great fish and chips.

5.  Harrod’s meat market

Visiting Harrod’s food halls is an overwhelming experience. You want to taste, try and buy everything in sight as you move from hall to hall taking in everything you would find in a regular grocery store, but amplified 12 notches in typical Harrod’s style. I was most impressed with their meat market. The selection and presentation was incredible and the butcher I talked to was unbelievably friendly. If you love shopping for food, this is a must-see.

 

PS: You’d think after you cooked for the Queen of England when she was last in Edmonton, she’d let you in for tea and crumpets when you’re in town!