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[Preview] – Leeds Indie Food 2016


With a hopeful belly and an air of excitement I climbed the stairs of Headrow House for the launch of the Leeds Indie Food Festival. After an incredibly successful debut last year, over 80 independent vendors will put on a mouth-watering array of one-off events, pop-ups and tours around this hungry city.

As I enter the already at capacity room I’m handed a stylish tote bag that is well weighted. I later discover to my delight this is due to a Five Points Pale ale, and a card for a few more on the house. I’m encouraged to pick from the plethora of promotional goodies at the welcome table. I take them all. Among those is a dangerous little offering from Tapped Brewery. They claim I’m holding the worlds hottest peanuts. Dusted with a blend made from the Carolina Reaper chilli they certainly don’t disappoint. Some people at work still won’t speak to me after passing them around.

I’m inside merely minutes before a warm box is thrust into my hand with a smile. Inside boasts the work of resident Ox Club. Beautifully medium/rare flank steak as triumphant as its namesake building. Sat atop perfectly cooked skin on fries, all laced with garlic bernaise and a refreshing salsa verde. I devour mine in minutes whilst eagerly eyeing the remains of my girlfriend’s. I chat with the chefs downstairs applauding their culinary skill before taking a step back to watch them flawlessly present 150 portions of the dish. Outstanding composure.

Leeds Indie Food - Tom Joy [ IMG_8534 ]-1

The night continues with talks from Leeds leading independent foodies. It’s inspiring to see how passionate and important food is in this city. It’s the catalyst that feeds our culture. A talk from Sofia Rebolo particularly struck a chord when she mentioned that 80% of new food business go under in the first year and how’s she’s championing meetings to support local businesses to make sure that doesn’t happen. When I walk past another independent food outlet that barely lasted 6 months my heart always saddens a little. This is important stuff.

It’s all started rather promisingly. Over the next several weeks local talent will display their passions and show-stopping creations to a very deserving city. We’re looking forward to School Diner, Dinner at the Manor, Pinxtos Brunch and An Evening with Fu Schnikens to name but a few.

I implore everyone to get down to as many as you can.

Calum Whelan

Leeds Indie Food Festival runs from 12-30th May, all event info and tickets can be found at 

Follow @leedsindiefood  #LIF16

Words by HQ

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