THE table has been set for the second Woking Food & Drink Festival, a tasty event that will run from September 5 to 7 (Friday to Sunday), and guarantees to be bursting with mouth-watering stalls and free activities to delight all ages.
Last year’s festival attracted in excess of 20,000 visitors, and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better, since the event’s ‘footprint’ will stretch across the pedestrian areas in Jubilee Square, Market Walk,
Commercial Way, Mercia Walk and Gloucester Walk.
It will lead to a Fairtrade Food and Family Quarter, an area of interactive activities and the best of organic and local produce, hosted jointly by The Lightbox and WWF-UK’s Living Planet Centre.
Festival highlights this year will include; an assortment of more than 60 high-quality food and drink stalls; live culinary demonstrations from TV and local chefs in the Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre; barbeque demonstrations; hands-on cookery workshops for children; a ‘bake-off’ competition to be judged by the 2013 winner of the Great British Bake Off, Frances Quinn; and, of course, a satisfying portion of live entertainment.
The three-day celebration of fine food and drink aims to showcase the very best of the area’s producers, chefs and restaurants, and attract an army of foodies to the town.
Producers and retailers of cuisine from the UK and all over the world will be present, offering delicious taster samples to all and the opportunity to purchase produce and freshly cooked dishes.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a cookery beginner, an improver or a foodie fanatic, if you visit the Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre, you’ll get to see the cream of the crop in the world of cooking deliver live gourmet demonstrations in a professional-cookery marquee.
Master classes will be held every day of the festival, where visitors will be able to learn top tips from the best. Topping the bill will be demonstrations by TV chefs Frances Quinn and the son of TV’s Rick Stein, Jack Stein.
They will be joined by Sabrina Ghayour, best-selling author of the cook-book Persiana; by Great British Menu 2014 contestant and rising star, Neil Rankin; and by the former Head Chef of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage, Mark Lloyd.
Showcasing the Woking area’s strong culinary credentials will be live demos from a range of prominent chefs and restaurant owners, all of whom are based within five miles of the town centre.
Among those set to appear are: owner of Ripley’s Drakes restaurant, Steve Drake; Fernando Stovell, proprietor of Stovell’s restaurant in Chobham; MasterChef 2010 semi-finalist and London House restaurant owner Ben Piette; Mourad Khiat, boss of Woking-based MK Pastry Arts; and head of Woking’s Cellar Magneval, Thierry de Magneval.
They’ll be joined by instructors from the Tante Marie Culinary Academy, a 60-year treasure that recently revealed plans for a state of-the-art cooking school and training restaurant in the town centre, which will open next spring.
Portfolio Holder for Promoting the Local Economy, Councillor Gary Elson, said: “Woking is fast becoming an alternative foodies destination with the second Food & Drink Festival, Market Walk’s opening, and recent announcements of restaurants relocating to the town.”
Free children’s cookery workshops, open to kids of all ages, will be held in the Education Suite of The Lightbox and will give future foodies the chance to learn where food comes from and how they can combine basic ingredients to create the most delicious yet healthy meals – which they can take home to share with family.
Adding some extra flavour to the festival will be live acoustic music from Goldsworth’s Phoenix Cultural Centre, who will entertain visitors as they sample Woking’s finest gastronomic delights.
MORE details can be found online at www.wokingfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.