A Hackney chef and a local gardening expert are joining forces for this year’s Chelsea Fringe festival – and celebrating their entry by cooking up a special meal in Dalston using homegrown ingredients.
The partnership between professional chef Aidan Brooks and his friend Clair Battaglino, who volunteers for Hackney-based gardening group Rainbow Grow, came about through their shared passion for cultivating food.
The pair’s entry for the Fringe – an independent festival which runs alongside the Chelsea Flower Show – is an “open garden” at Clair’s home in Dalston Lane, which Aidan says contains an “incredible array of edible flora”.
The event is called “MULTI-CULTI-vation”, and members of the public can mooch around from 11am until 3pm on Saturday 26 May and find out how Clair has transformed her urban garden into a productive growing space.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy some of the garden’s bounty in tasting sessions put on throughout the day, and Aidan and Clair will both be on hand for a chat in a “relaxed atmosphere”.
Aidan said: “The open garden will be a chance for folks to have some leisure and mingle-time with like-minded, vegetable-growing enthusiasts and admire Clair’s incredible array of edible flora.
“We chose the Chelsea Fringe as Clair participated last year and had great fun, so she asked if I’d team up with her for a collaborative effort this year.”
The open garden will be followed by a slap-up meal, cooked by Aidan, later the same day for 20 paying guests – book a seat here while you still can.
Tickets cost £23.96, with all proceeds going to Rainbow Grow, to help the group maintain the courtyard garden at council volunteering service Hackney CVS.
Aidan, whose ten-year culinary career includes stints at fine-dining restaurants in Barcelona, Valencia and London, recently set up a pop-up called Eleven98 – based on the year the name “Hackney” first appeared in historical records.
Aidan says the project, which is all about the borough in which he was born and bred, will launch officially later this year and will feature “pop-up dinners, chef residencies and collaborations with friends old and new”.
Rainbow Grow, which is led by LGBTQI+ volunteers, is currently fundraising for a specially-commissioned rainbow-shaped planter which will form part of its entry for the Hampton Court Flower Show.
The group has so far brought in £720 of its £3,000 target, with 35 days to go.
For more information on Aidan and Clair’s MULTI-CULTI-vation event, please visit their Chelsea Fringe page.
Tickets for the evening meal are available now on Eventbrite