The Good Food Show and Travelsphere Holidays beckoned again this year but this time with a winter twist. It’s good to dream of travel and indulge in some foodie treats to get through the dark winter months. A day out at the Good Food Show is the perfect antidote. But as well as indulging during the festive season it’s also a time to think about others and giving something back.

Tom-Kerridge-chef

I enjoyed the Big Kitchen antics, checked out the food stalls and met chef Tom Kerridge. More importantly, I learned how Travelsphere Cares transforms lives through travel and helps take care of people in the communities they visit.

About Travelsphere Holidays

Travelsphere Holidays have been organising escorted tours and exceptional holiday experiences around the world for more than 50 years.

Their carefully crafted tours make holidays to remember and are packed with authentic flavours, fascinating cultures and inspiring people. Just a few of the reasons that customers travel with them time and again.

Travelsphere holidays team

With over 60 countries and over 150 holidays from short breaks to 14-day itineraries, singles trips, cruises and safaris there’s a trip to suit everyone.

Travelsphere believe in ‘travelling with taste’ which is why they’re the perfect sponsor for the Big Kitchen at the Good Food Show.

Travelsphere Holidays

The Big Kitchen

We started our day in the Big Kitchen with chef Tom Kerridge on stage cooking up three dishes. His full English breakfast omelette with a meaty Spanish tortilla twist was an inspiration. The smells wafting down from the stage were mouth-watering and it was as much as I could do to stop myself sneaking up for a taste.

Afterwards we went backstage to meet him. We chatted with Tom and he signed a copy of his book ‘Lose Weight for Good’. One of our group mentioned that their Mum has lost 3 stone using recipes from the book. I watched his TV series and am looking forward to recreating some of the dishes .

I asked Tom what his top tip would be for preparing Christmas dinner since I’m cooking for 10 this year. He recommends writing a list of everything that needs to be done and prepping up as much as possible before the big day. So with advice from the best that’s exactly what I’ll be doing, in fact I’ve started already!

Chef Tom Kerridge

After lunch in the Good Food Show restaurant we were back in the Big Kitchen to see Spanish chef José Pisarro prepare clams with salsa verde and seafood salad with mango and chilli dressing.

There was time to check out the food and gadget stalls around the show and I also watched a turkey carving demo. Apparently I’ve been doing it all wrong! There were all types of independent food producers from coffee to cakes and gin to cheese and I enjoyed wandering around and trying lots of samples.

cheese wheels

But enough about the show, let me tell you what I learnt about Travelsphere Cares and giving back.

Travelsphere Cares

Travelsphere have always believed in taking care of the communities they visit. A little is donated from the booking fee to help with community needs and challenges. The price of the holiday isn’t affected but a small donation is made from some tours to relevant good causes. It’s a great way of giving something back and means by booking a Travelsphere holiday you’ll be contributing to a good cause as well has having a fabulous trip.

I chatted to Josh (right) who works at Travelsphere about some of the schemes the company have initiated and contributed to.

Travelsphere holidays team

Travelsphere Cares SchemeHelping develop a village in Cambodia

Travelsphere Cares has supported development of Chansar Village in Cambodia for several years. As well as contributing to the building of a library at Chansar High School they’ve helped improve living conditions for teachers at Knapor Junior High School which means more teachers from further afield are willing to work there. More classrooms are being built at Chansar Junior High School which will help reduce overcrowding and provide a better learning environment for the children who now attend the schools.

On the Cambodia and Mekong Delta tour guests are able to visit the village and see the work taking place.

Walk with former street children in India

Some of Travelsphere’s guests have played their own part in helping the communities they’ve visited. After going on Travelsphere’s Grand Tour of India and walking with former street children Anne celebrated her seventieth birthday by holding a fundraising birthday party – ‘Giving back at 70’. This inspiring woman raised £6,000.

It’s thought more than 18 million children are living on the country’s streets. The Salaam Baalak Trust helps some of these kids by teaching them the skills to better their lives. It gives them a hot meal each day, a warm bed at night and the chance of a future.

Former street children Delhi

On the ‘Grand Tour of India’ tour guests meet some former street children and walk with them through the streets of Delhi and hear their stories.

Josh told me about their ethos of ‘hands up not out’ and how giving back to places is not just about education but about providing the tools to better peoples’ lives.

Guests embarking on the ‘Images of Vietnam’ tour have helped Travelsphere donate buffalo to local villages in Vietnam. Since 2011, through the Donate a Buffalo scheme, 75 buffalo have been donated to 75 villages. These animals play a vital role in farming making a huge difference to each village.

Masai Clean Cookstoves Scheme

Smoke from cooking in enclosed spaces causes a massive impact on health being the cause of many deaths each year. Women are trained to construct and fit safe stoves in family homes and community buildings as part of the Masai Clean Cookstoves scheme. This provides a safe means of cooking and empowers women, improves standards of living and changes lives. So far, 750 clean cook stoves have been installed in over 60 villages across the Serengeti.

As part of the ‘Tanzania Serengeti Safari’ and ‘Kenya and Tanzania Grand Safari’ tour guests visit two boma homesteads. Here they’ll see the stoves in action, interact with villagers and support this vital cause.

Masai Women with Clean Cook Stove

Travel is life enhancing and we’re fortunate to be able to explore our world and the different cultures in it. But it’s good to be mindful of the ways we can help those we meet on our travels. With Travelsphere Cares we can make a positive difference.

A big thank you to Travelsphere for inviting me to join them at the BBC Good Food Show. All views and opinions are entirely my own.


Read about my day at the summer BBC Good Food Show with Travelsphere


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Masai Woman