Thousands visit chilli festival in Spitalfields

A vendor shows off some hot chillies at his stall at The Festival of Heat, London's 1st Chilli Festi

A vendor shows off some hot chillies at his stall at The Festival of Heat, London's 1st Chilli Festival in Spitalfields City Farm. - Credit: Archant

The first chilli festival to be held in London brought thousands together to celebrate the ways different cultures eat and cook chilli.

The Festival of Heat, run by the Spitalfields City Farm in Buxton Street, offered the chance to taste a range of chilli dishes made by local residents.

The 3,500 people who attended the festival on Sunday were able to sample food at cafes, restaurants and 20 stalls, including one from Bangladeshi restaurant Chaat in Redchurch Street.

Event co-ordinator Rossana Leal said: “We wanted to hold a chilli festival because there has not been one in London before, and we felt that chilli is something that people all over London can identify with.”

She added: “What was wonderful was how all the different communities in London were there running stalls and enjoyed the day.”

The festival included the city farm’s Eco-chic Traders, a project held every Sunday to teach people how to run a market stall to encourage social enterprise, create jobs and bring money into the area. There was also live music.

Richard Walker, a community gardener at the farm who helped organise the festival, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the way it went. The chilli brings people together across class and race. It really is a uniting thing - there were people from all the communities in Tower Hamlets. Everyone sort of rallies around the chilli.”

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