FORK to FORKJust received this exciting news release: Thomasina Miers and Laura Harper-Hinton have announced the first Fork to Fork food festival at ARK Franklin Primary Academy in Kensal Rise!

Thomasina Miers, MasterChef winner and co-founder of Mexican restaurant group Wahaca, and her friend Laura Harper­‐Hinton, co-founder and creative director of Caravan, have come together to launch the first Fork to Fork Food Festival. 

Tickets – £5 (£8 on the day), kids under 12 – free.

Fork to Fork food festival brings together some of London’s most talented and creative chefs, restaurateurs and producers, with the aim to raise funds in support of the Open Air Classroom project which will launch at ARK Franklin Primary Academy following the festival.

The one-day festival this June will feature chef demos, talks and tastings, food and produce stalls, a bar serving craft beer, wine and gin, a secret picnic garden, a world fete, live music and numerous children’s activities. Guests of all ages will have the chance to mingle with the great and good of London’s food scene in a relaxed and family-friendly environment. Stalls will be manned by chefs from Hix, Ottolenghi, Koya, Soho House, Polpo, Caravan & Caravan Coffee Roasters, E&O, Moro, Union Street Café, Granger & Co, Vinoteca, Gracelands Café, The Shop, The Whippet Inn, Fed By Lillie and Gail’s Bakery. Plus food trucks from Wahaca, Dirty Burger, The Bowler and Young’s, as well as drinks stalls from Beavertown and Camden Town breweries, New Zealand Wine Cellar, Borough Wines, Portobello Gin and Vinoteca.

The idea behind the Open Air Classroom at ARK Franklin is backed by considerable research taken from edible garden projects in the US and Australia, which shows that creative outdoor spaces have a huge benefit in developing children, particularly those with behavioural difficulties or who are not classic ‘academic’ learners. In 2011 Ofsted stated, in relation to a garden project: ‘Enrichment opportunities are particularly good and contribute strongly to pupils’ good personal development.’ Evidence shows that when children are taught science in the open air with mechanisms that work in front of their eyes, the subject comes alive, and when children grow food, they are more willing to eat it.

Thomasina Miers

The Open Air Classroom will be a place where pupils and locals can be creative and learn a range of disciplines in a stimulating environment. The garden, endorsed by restauranteur and activist Alice Waters, who pioneered the Edible Schoolyard organisation, will have raised beds to grow food (the school also has a kitchen to cook the produce) and a place to sell it at the Queen’s Park farmers’ market (voted best UK farmers’ market in 2014). Through the cooking and selling of food, the children will learn and understand nutrition, health, science and commerce. The Open Air Classroom will also include a pond to teach marine science, a conservation area with wildflowers to attract butterflies and a beehive, a wormery to recycle food waste, an amphitheatre, a sundial and several climbing frames.

The experience of an Open Air Classroom feeds back into the indoor classroom, improving focus and the ability to concentrate. Through the project, the school hopes to foster links to its community and will throw the garden doors open to the local community at the weekends and during school holidays. Fork to Fork Festival, which Thomasina and Laura will become an annual event, will offer a day of entertainment for all the family whilst raising the funds to make the Open Air Classroom come to life.

Laura commented on the festival, ‘We hope that people will be excited and embrace the first ever Fork to Fork festival this June, and that our space will become a loved and respected local West London landmark and an inspiration for many other schools across the country to see the learning benefits for children and open their own open air classroom.’

 Fork to Fork Festival will be on Saturday 13 June at ARK Franklin Primary Academy in Kensal Rise from 12pm–6pm. Follow them on Twitter @forktoforkfest and Instagram @forktoforkfest and you can donate here too.


If not. Why not? You’re missing out. Café Zest coming to Kensal Rise has Karen Proctor overjoyed – fabulous breakfasts, delicious lunches, first-class breads and pastries and take-home dinners to suit every taste or mood. Friendly and efficient service, warm atmosphere and reasonable prices – it’s cheery in decor, and uplifting with its menu…

Zest 2The vibrant food and drinks are healthy and of the highest quality: from the just-baked bread, delicious pancakes with fresh fruit to the inspired flavoursome salads and aubergine stuffed with lamb we had for dinner the other night, it’s a cut above anywhere else.

Any of my friends who I’ve gone there with have been blown away too – I notice that the customer base is very diverse and is coming in from way beyond Kensal, thanks to them already having such a strong reputation. I have found myself eating at  Zest about 10 times a fortnight (sometimes I can’t resist popping in just for a pecan slice). How can you not when you know that you’ll get the consistency and the quality in food in terms of locally sourced produce and organic meat when you’re too busy to cook? Even my daughter has given it the seal of approval.

ZestRaj Rathod has over 20 years of experience in some of the top café, bakeries, and delis as well high-end restaurants which is probably why Zest delivers on so many levels in terms of tastes, atmosphere and service. He is also a local Queens Park resident, an avid fan of yoga and health food and someone not prepared to compromise on what he believes in. I wish Zest every success and I am just hoping I’ll still be able to get a table in a few months – but at least if you can’t, you can always take the food home… Cheesecake brownie, anyone? (pictured)

Café Zest, 59 Chamberlayne Rd, Kensal Rise, London NW10 3ND (020 8968 8321)



Portobello Road’s history stretches back to the creation of Smithfield Market in the Middle Ages; here is an extract from Galleries, Palaces & Tea: An Illustrated Guide To London (£9.99; author, David Backhouse) by Curll Press which can be ordered from all good bookstores…

PORTOBELLOROAD - BITMAPOne of the great pleasures of London life is moseying through her street markets. Those whom you pass may be fashion industry trend spotters, dressed-down gazillionaires, or frugally minded souls who suspect that parsnips may be 5p cheaper a kilo at that veg stall along the way. Portobello Road and her North London counterpart Camden Market are both integral parts of metropolitan life as well as being must-see attractions for visitors from across the globe. The stallholders of both have prompted books – Caitlin Davies’s Camden Lock and The Market and Blanche Girouard’s Portobello Voices. However, this does not mean that the two souks are of one hue. Almost all of Camden is controlled by a single privately owned company. It is located in a borough that has been run by the political left for decades. By contrast, Portobello is a publicly owned market that is run by the most staunchly Tory council in Britain.

  • In 1739 Admiral Edward Vernon defeated a Spanish force at Puerto Bello in the Caribbean.[1] To mark the victory, a farmstead, in what is now Notting Hill, was named after it. Portobello Road derived its appellation from the property.
  • A local market existed in the late 1830s. This was dominated by Gypsy horse-traders who had been drawn to the area by the nearby Notting Hill Hippodrome racecourse. In 1841 the track was closed. The repository faded away.
  • In the 1880s an informal street market grew up. Following the First World War many of the stallholders were ex-servicemen. This factor prompted the authorities to hold back from suppressing it. The London County Council finally licensed the mart in 1927. During the 1930s antiques dealers began to do business in it. After the Second World War the general market of the Caledonian Market in Islington was closed down. Portobello Road received many of the traders who had been working there.
  • There is a daily street market. On Saturdays the northern section of the road becomes geared to the young and international visitors, while the southern portion tends to be more weighted towards the antiques trade. During the market’s first couple of hours, the dealers sell items to one another. At around breakfast time antique collectors begin to appear and as the morning progresses so the ordinary public come to predominate.

Further reading: Blanche Girouard’s Portobello Voices (2013).

[1] ‘Old Grog’s’ participation in the major British setback at Cartagena de las Indias, on the northern coast of South America, two years later is not commemorated. Indeed, to most Britons it is completely unknown. The admiral’s popularity survived the débâcle untarnished. (There had been other British naval successes at Portobello in 1707 and 1726. These too are little known.)

London Stories, London Lives (£9.99) is the latest in the series. Currently downloadable is the mini-guide Galleries, Palaces & Tea: An Illustrated E-Guide To London (£1.29 e-book). Future titles in the London series include: Beans, Bears & Piracy and Art, Guns & Snuff.



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