ARM yourself with knife, fork and napkin – the first Delicious North East Food Festival is on its way!
CBeebies food adventurer Stefan Gates will be joining the region’s best chefs, including Kenny Atkinson and Dave Coulson, to headline the huge family event at Nissan on July 14 and 15.
A host of local stars are also set to join in with the two-day event including Former SAFC star Marco Gabbiadini and Jimmy Montgomery.
The event will centre on a theatre kitchen, where chefs will demonstrate all kinds of culinary skills to the crowds. More than 70 stalls will offer something for every palette alongside three pop-up restaurants – Amore, Liberty Brown and Sachins.
A CAMRA real ale and cider festival will be in full flow and the SAFC Foundation will be on site with tons of entertainment for the kids.
Kenny Atkinson, director of food at Rockliffe Hall, said: “Standards in the North East have caught up now.
“We won two consecutive years on the Great British Menu, our chefs have talent and our suppliers have us up to the head and shoulders of everyone else in the country.”
Festival spokesperson and director of Callaghan Marketing, Lesley Callaghan, said: “The Delicious Festival will be a great day out for the whole family and a chance to sample some great food and drink from our region and beyond.
“We’ve invited some great chefs from leading restaurants in the North East to share their secrets with us such as Kenny Atkinson of Rockliffe Hall Hotel and Dave Coulson of the Castle Eden Inn.
“And joining them in the kitchen for a bit of fun will be some names that are a little less known for their culinary talents, such as Marco Gabbiadini and Jimmy Montgomery!
“Children and CBBC fans will also know the name Stefan Gates of Gastronuts fame, who’ll be joining us on both days with his special Gastronaut Live show featuring cooking stunts and extraordinary foods.
“We’ll also have a range of exhibitors showcasing food and drink, delicious food to enjoy on the day from local restaurants such as Amore, Sachins and Liberty Brown, a real ale festival and entertainment for the kids who’ll get in for free.”
Dave Coulson, head chef at the Castle Eden Inn, said: “The festival is a brilliant idea – we’re catching up with the south and celebrating food and local producers. The last couple of years food up here has taken off – we have some really talented people producing and cooking.
“I just want to show people good food and demonstrate that anyone can cook fresh food quickly from start to finish.
“Some of the dishes I’ll be demonstrating take no more than 10 minutes and one of them has ingredients which all come from within four miles of the Castle Eden Inn – the eggs, cream, potatoes, everything.
“I’m passionate about the North East and proud to be from County Durham.”
Mark Earnden started the Food Education Company eight years ago, which works in North East schools to encourage children to eat healthily and learn to cook.
Mark will be hosting the demonstrations in the theatre kitchen and getting visitors involved in the fun.
“If we can raise the profile of food in the region and have fun at the same time then that’s fantastic,” he said. “My aim is to get as many people as possible involved with the food so it’s interactive and engaging and they’ll come back next year.
“We need to go in with a big bang and get Delicious on the map. It’s for the whole region and we’d like to see it become a big annual event similar to the Air Show.
“People come from far and wide for that and it would be great if this had the same pull.
“I’m hosting both days in the theatre kitchen and getting other people on stage which will be good fun. We’ll be cooking up a storm.
“People’s interest in cooking and good food is definitely on the up. Everyone is shopping a lot cannier these days and farmer’s markets and food festivals are more available.
“My motto is that you can’t say you don’t like it till you’ve tried it so on the day I’ll be first in line for anything new. Some of the most weird and wonderful things can taste amazing.
“Local food producers are so passionate about what they do and they’re often great fun and offer tasters of their produce so the festival is the ideal place to try something new. Once people find their confidence with food a whole new world can open up.”
Kids go free. Tickets £7 on the door and £5 when prebooked. Details of how to prebook will appear in the Echo soon.