Food Magazine’s Food & Design Festival at Sapphire Spaces

It was only a few months ago that we headed to the luxury settings of bespoke Kitchen and Bathroom specialists, Sapphire Spaces opposite Darts Farm to celebrate the launch of Exeter Cookery School.  We were back, now to help Food Magazine celebrate their Food and Design Festival,
Festival of Food and Design Sapphire Spaces TopshamTo be honest when I first heard about this, I scratched my head.  Why food and design? How does that go together?  But throughout the evening, the concept definitely came together, showcasing some of the region’s finest food in the space provided was an organic and delicious combination that really, just worked.

Guests were treated to delights such as demonstrations from Tom William-Hawkes, chef director at The Salutation Inn in Topsham (it was the second time I had seen Tom in two weeks, having had the pleasure of his cooking at the Dining In The Dark press event), Cooking With Steam demonstration by Gaggenau UK, Frobishers, Clifton Coffee, Portlebay Popcorn and Majestic Wines.  Cheese and biscuits was provided by Dart’s Farm and their magnificent Deli.

The evening was a delightful mix of chatter, networking and social milling, all of which I am fundamentally rubbish at; but thankfully Tori has a subconscious knack for these sorts of events.  It was great to meet Nick from @DevonFoodHour and catch up with Jody from The Pickle Shack, Michelle Xie and Jim & Lucy Fisher from Exeter Cookery School.

I was lucky enough to be armed with one of our nicer cameras from work, so the following post is a few shots from the evening with commentary.  A bit like director’s commentary on DVDs, but hopefully informative and not rambling and inane.


There are going to be more BIG photos with this post due to the fact that I have nearly ran out of space on my WordPress account, and I am quite simply to tight-fisted to invest in a premium account.


The canapes were amazing. Created by Tom William-Hawkes, these little beauties are Quail’s Eggs!


These were beautifully cooked, made from Greendale Beef. I had more than one of these!



Tom brought some fresh Topsham smoked salmon. It was delightful. Salmon fishing on the River Exe used to be a substantial activity, but in recent years it has declined significantly, there were at one point twenty salmon boats registered at Topsham but this is now only down to two. This salmon was caught by Tom’s dad and walked up to the restaurant. The salmon was smoked in Topsham and prepared for the evening.


This chap was one of the lobsters being used for the demo tonight. A fresh Lyme Bay Lobster, no cheap Canadian ones here!


Another one of my favourite canapes of the night were these delicious Fishcakes on a mustard mayo.


Tori and Michelle Xie!


The master at work. After creating the canapes, Tom gave a demonstration with lobster. It was a busy night for this chap!



Fish cakes done!


The beautiful cheese provided by Darts Farm’s deli. Excellent stuff.



This amazing creation is courtesy of the Gauggenau demonstration. I defintely need one of these ovens in my house! (lottery win anyone?)


The Salutation Inn has some interesting nights happening. Dining In The Dark is a definite one to experience if you can, but also the Game Nights sound really good too.


Jo Rees, founder and Grand High Foody giving her speech at the beginning of the evening.


Let the demonstration commence!






The skill and the speed that Tom worked at was amazing. The taste of the lobster was delicious, a really fantastic demonstration.


The hand of Nick from DevonFoodHour. He asked questions that were far more intelligent, I spent most of my time wondering if it would go with chips. I’m cultured me…


If you’ve cooked lobster, you should be able to break the claw back. If its cooked this will happen easily. This is what the inside of a lobster claw looks like.




The final flourish of flowers really brings out the colours. When you see food like this so close, the one thing that jumps out are the vibrance of the colours.



The salmon being prepared. It had such a deliciously smokey scenting to it.


Majestic Wines were on hand to talk about their lovely wines. Twas very nice. Far too nice.


Why some wine glasses are better than others. A fascinating talk from this chap whose name I have managed to mislay somewhere.


Portlebay Popcorn. The chap from Portlebay Popcorn was giving out lots of popcorn, admittedly I didn’t really get the whole ‘gourmet’ popcorn idea but after a bag of the Sweet and Salty flavour, I could say I am happily converted to the idea.


Lovely people!


Strange people.

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