This Morning star Phil Vickery serves up a treat as thousands flock to Seaham Food Festival

Thousands of people flocked to Seaham seafront for the town’s first food festival.

Sunday, 9th June 2019, 4:10 pm
Updated Monday, 17th June 2019, 12:15 am

Dozens of stalls covered the Terrace Green around the Tommy statue, with a range of street food, drinks and local produce.

Storm Miguel battered the region over the weekend, and Saturday’s event had to be called off at short notice, but Sunday’s glorious sunshine made up for the disappointment.

Star of the show on Sunday was This Morning star Phil Vickery, who did two cooking demonstrations for the crowds.

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Tommy is surrounded by festival-goers

Phil used to do a lot of festivals when he was younger, but is now a bit more fussy.

“I do four or five a year, with people I can trust,” he said.

“I did Bishop Auckland with the county council last year.”

That experience has given him a taste to find out more about the region.

Crowds flock to Seaham Food Festival

“I came up for Bishop Auckland and my wife (he is married to This Morning co-star Fern Britton) was in Calendar Girls in Newcastle last year, so I know it a little, but our plan is to see more of Northumberland,” he said.

Phil thinks it is important not to take too hectoring a tone in his work: “I stopped encouraging people to cook.

“It was a bit like being at school – if people want to cook, they will cook,” he said.

He believes in not taking too fussy an approach: “I am a simple cook – my boss said ‘Do you want to go to the Turks and Caicos Islands?’. I said ‘Okay, the only catch is everything has to be stuff available at the local supermarket’.”

Phil Vickery during his demonstration

Among those enjoying the day were Mark Smith and Val and Eden Kilner, who had come down from their home in the town.

Mark, Val and 11-year-old Eden were sampling the wares at one of the chilli stalls.

“It was a real shame about Saturday, but I’m very glad we have been able to come down today,” said Val.

“It is great for the town and the local businesses – I think everyone has benefited from it.”

Val and Eden Kilner and Mark Smith

Durham County Council festival and events team manager Jill Wood said the crew had been devastated at having to pull the plug on Saturday – but it had been the right decision.

“It was absolutely devastating,” she said.

“It was really upsetting but we had no choice – there were pools of water everywhere and the wind was lifting the gazebos up. All of the traders who are here have said it was the right decision.

“And we are getting a great response from the traders today. Hopefully they will all do well and it is wonderful to see so many people down here today.

“They all seem to be having a great time.”

Part of the crowd
Sampling the street food