Regent's Park will be overrun by chefs this weekend as it hosts one of the biggest events in the foodie calendar. For the third year running, Taste of London will provide an opportunity for the city's top chefs and their brigades to display their culinary talents to the public at large. Gourmet food and drink from 40 of the capital's most prestigious restaurants will be prepared and served over the four-day celebration.
Each restaurant will have its own mini-kitchen, from which three signature dishes will be created and served to all comers. Crowns, the official show currency, can be used to pay for everything from Club Gascon's grilled Toulouse sausages to Tom Aikens's mango rice with mango parfait and mango mousse.
As well as world-class restaurants, 130 gourmet food and drink suppliers will be offering speciality ingredients for punters to take home.
One of the highlights of the 2006 festival is sure to be the "Tea at the Critz" teashop, where restaurant critics will be preparing sweet confections. Visitors can enjoy the delights of Fay Maschler's fruitcake, Tom Parker-Bowles's chocolate brownies and even some friands from Terry Durack. The chefs-versus-critics fruitcake competition is sure to get the competitive juices flowing. In aid of Action Against Hunger, the Critz is the brainchild of food writers Bill Knott and Toby Young, who are keen for the public to give critics a taste of their own medicine.
Live demonstrations will also be part of the fun, with masterclasses on offer from Marcus Wareing, Aldo Zilli, Michel Roux Jnr and many others.
For those with liquid refreshment in mind, there will be ample opportunity to indulge. Fine wine and speciality beer tastings will take place throughout the weekend, and Match bar will be offering signature cocktails, beer and Champagne.
There are some new additions to the festival this year, including the finals of the World Cheese Awards and a new cookery school. Henry Harris, from Racine, and Caroline Waldegrave, Leiths school managing director, will be on hand to demonstrate and answer questions.
By Alexandra Kenny and Alix Young