The tastes and sounds of Trinidad and Tobago will be coming to Birmingham this month as part of a city-wide food festival celebrating the cuisine and culture of the Commonwealth.

Renowned chef Lorenzo Richards will be cooking up specialities of the islands and visitors will be able to sample his creations and take away recipe cards and herbs and spices to make them at home.

The event is part of a city-wide food festival organised by Communities Engage and Thrive (CET), a community interest company, supported by Birmingham City Council. There are 10 events in total, being held at venues across the city, each one focusing on a different Commonwealth country and showcasing its healthy food and culture.

The Trinidad and Tobago event forms part of the Simmer Down Festival in Handsworth Park on Sunday, July 17, from 12.30pm to 8pm.

Organiser Parveen Talwar, founder of CET, said: “We are so excited to be a part of the Simmer Down Festival. It is an amazing community event that attracts thousands of people – we hope they’ll all stop by and sample some of the fantastic food our chef Lorenzo will be cooking up.

“Lorenzo has a built a brilliant reputation as a specialist Caribbean chef – appearing on TV with the likes of the Hairy Bikers and Omid Djalili and on July 18, he can be seen on Channel 4 on Come Dine with Me: The Professionals, filmed at his own award-winning restaurant.

“We are so lucky to have him with us for the day, showing off his skills and the wonderful healthy cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Lorenzo is of Jamaican heritage and grew up in Birmingham. He has worked with stars including Rusty Lee and cooked for many celebrities when he worked at Elstree Studios in London. In 2007 he launched his own concept restaurant, the Wildmoor Oak, in Bromsgrove.

The Simmer Down Festival will feature music and entertainment for all the family, including an appearance by chart-toppers Odyssey, who had hits including Native New Yorker and Going Back to My Roots.

Although all of the CET events are free, entry tickets to Simmer Down have to be purchased. They are £5 for adults, £3 for children aged between 10 and 17 and free for under 10s.  They can be purchased at

CET’s first Commonwealth food event focused on Ghana and saw crowds tuck into a mountain of healthy food, prepared by chef Maud Koranteng.

Parveen said the next event is on Saturday, July 23, at Birchfield Jazz Festival, which will focus on Nigeria.

Others lined up include a celebration of India on Friday, July 29; Sri Lanka on Tuesday, August 2; Kenya on Saturday, August 6; Wales and England on Monday, August 8; Bangladesh on Saturday, August 20 and Pakistan on Saturday, August 27.

On Wednesday, August 3, CET will be joining dignitaries and special guests to celebrate Jamaica’s 60th independence anniversary at a major event in the city from 12noon to 3pm.

Parveen said CET is also building and donating a raised bed for growing herbs and spices at each of the venues as part of its legacy plans to encourage community engagement. It will also be producing a 20-country recipe book which will be available on the website and in other free-to-access social media.

The events are linked with the council’s Cook the Commonwealth project, which is asking for people to submit recipes from around the Commonwealth. (

For more details of the other CET events, visit