Festivals are great for a lot of reasons. Music, obviously, because what even is summer if you didn’t spend at least one weekend vibrating through your eyeballs to a Ben UFO set while wearing a PVC bucket hat? But also: food. Nowadays, as festivals have crossed over from fringe to mass culture, food is almost as crucial to a good festival as the line-up. We expect nothing less than being able to ease our hangovers with artisan cheese toasties, or having a choice of at least three different handmade bao buns and a vegan gelato van.
No festival epitomises this quite like Wilderness, which takes over Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire each August. While its music offering is always fairly solid (headliners this year include Robyn, Honey Dijon, Ata Kak and Jodie Harsh), the festival is arguably better known for its dining options, spanning street food stalls and pop-ups from celebrated London restaurants, to exclusive banquets with Michelin-starred chefs. Oh, and a lot of rosé.
This year, the Wilderness food offering gets even more exciting. Our food site MUNCHIES will present The Dining Room Sessions, a series of panel talks covering some of the biggest issues in the food world. Chaired by VICE Managing Editor Phoebe Hurst, we're set to cover an exploration of sustainable food choices with Imogen Davies of pro-squirrel meat restaurant Native; we'll hear from Pilot Light founder Andrew Clarke and Sunday Times food editor Lisa Markwell on chefs’ mental health; and we'll look at the rise of veganism with a panel of vegan (and decidedly omnivorous) chefs. Plus, what promises to be a
lively debate on Instagram and restaurants with influencer KS Ate Here and Nud Dudhia of Breddos Tacos.
Chef Jay Morjaria also joins us to explore cultural appropriation and food with Club Mexicana’s Meriel Armitage and James Cochran, former head chef of The Ledbury.
Further panelists and details of The Dining Room Sessions will be announced closer to the date. To find out more, visit the Wilderness site. See you down the front!
Update: Guardian restaurant critic Grace Dent will also be joining The Dining Room Sessions, presented by MUNCHIES to discuss the changing face of food criticism – and what it’s like having the best job in the world. Plus Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens joins our sustainable food panel.
The Dining Room Sessions, presented by MUNCHIES runs at this year’s Wilderness at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire from Thursday the 1st of August to Sunday the 4th of August.