Wimbledon Pub in the Park has hosted another year of exquisite tasting, music and memories - the event has become a real inspiration to my own time in the kitchen.

For some context, I grew up in a household where my parents did not so much as salt and pepper their meals.

Dinner was usually some kind of overcooked beef, mashed potatoes and vegetables – the first time I tried pasta was in my secondary school canteen.

I did not know how to cook at all until the third lockdown, finding myself with plenty of time on my hands to learn how to cook, to get recipes wrong, and to grow passionate about food.

Pub in the Park is exactly that – a momentous celebration of good food and the passion that surrounds it.

It is just amazing seeing foodies getting together to enjoy the UK’s best pub grub, along with a pint or nice cocktail and some electric live entertainment.

The highlight of the day had to be meeting star chef Ainsley Harriet – who is larger than life and exactly the man that you see on TV.

News Shopper: Ainsley Harriott and Aston Prideaux Ainsley Harriott and Aston Prideaux (Image: Contributor)

The VIP section gave you the opportunity to have exclusive interactions with the celebrity guests who were attending the event.

I got to tell him about my experience with food growing up and asked him what advice he would give to someone who would like to get into cooking but had no real previous experience at all.

His answer was that starting small and simple as well as not getting overwhelmed by the huge cookbooks and TV chefs with their complex ingredients lists was the first hurdle to overcome.

He also said to make sure that other people get to try your food as confidence and appreciation go such a long way when it comes to cooking.

Seeing incredibly talented 16-year-old Aston Prideaux cooking on the BBQ by the Firepit stage also reinforced my thoughts that “anyone can learn to cook, you just have to love it”.

In typical festival fashion, we were trenching around in muddy boots, waiting all day for the sun to come out, but it did not.

However, the lack of sun had no negative effect on the atmosphere whatsoever as the bustling crowds and day drinkers seemed to revel happily throughout the afternoon.

Dick and Dom hosting a DJ set might have been the strangest part of the session with a hilarious song battle which encouraged lots of audience involvement.

News Shopper: Dick and DomDick and Dom (Image: Contributor)

Seeing my childhood heroes on stage just a few meters away was the cherry on top of the cake.

They were followed onto the stage by pop/rock band The Feeling who were a perfect choice as they felt like a tribute to the start of the summer season.

There were tons of stalls at the event selling everything from baked goods to kitchenware to flavoured gins – many were local businesses eager to share their creations.

We took home some amazing Baklava and stopped to have a go on a vintage Ferris wheel which was way faster and slightly more intimidating than I first thought it would be but the best finale to the day.

My partner and I tried a variety of food from the six pop-up restaurants which had created exclusive menus curated by the nation’s best chefs.

News Shopper: The Feeling The Feeling (Image: Contributor)

My partner loved the curried mutton and potato rolls with spicy ketchup – created by Hoppers.

Sticking with the spice – the clay oven baked chicken tikka pie from Atul Kochhar Restaurants was full of flavour.

I tried the slow roast salt lamb bun with mint and mustard pickles from Cubitt London pubs and was in awe at the way the meat melted in my mouth – it really stood out to me as the best dish of the evening.

I was delighted to see not just plenty of veggie and vegan options, but also plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available leaving nobody feeling left out if they had decided on a sober afternoon.

News Shopper: The food we tried at Pub in the ParkThe food we tried at Pub in the Park (Image: Contributor)

Many families brought along their children who seemed delighted to be at the event and trying all kinds of new flavours or getting their faces painted.

This is my second year attending Pub in the Park and it has been consistently one of the highlights of late spring with plenty of memories made and inspiration to take home.