Last weekend the AGA Total Control Van, which has now become my second home, rolled up at the Essex Spectacular, a two day event for all the family at Barleylands Farm Show Ground near Billericay. The show featured motoring displays for car fanatics and a mini big top where children could learn circus skills, but of course my place was at the Taste Village. This area was a buzz of culinary activity with many distinguished chefs taking part. Television celebrity chefs were cooking at the AGA Rangemaster Cookery Theatre. The inexhaustible Antonio Carluccio put on demonstrations right throughout the day whilst Cyrus Todiwala was hilarious, particularly when he described growing up in India: as a youngster he used to hide in the ovens of the family AGA. Only when they were turned off, mind you.
Other people taking part included Executive Chefs from celebrated hotels on Park Lane. The Lanesborough, Sheraton Park Lane, Claridges and The Oriental Club were just some of the restaurants and bistros represented.
Elsewhere, Rob Kirby from Lexington Catering held a cookery workshop for children and he had many taking part. It was cheering to see young people being so enthusiastic about an activity which is far too often dismissed as something that only adults do, and exciting to think that being at the Rangemaster Theatre might be the catalyst for more careers in the industry. On a personal note, it reminded me of my own childhood and how my parents taught me the great rewards of working with fresh produce and good equipment.
Speaking of which, I was again spreading the word about the AGA Total Control, extolling the truly marvellous technology which drives the cooker. Many people came to ask about the benefits of having such a desirable thing in their home. In fact, the tent was full to capacity and the atmosphere was electric.
As Saturday night culminated with a firework display, I drove home in the AGA Total Control Van, once again affirmed that nothing brings people together like the promise of good food and how an AGA Total Control turns a house into a home.