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Watch as TV celebrity chefs Phil Vickery and Rosemary Shrager join families at Scrantastic Food Festival

Some of the country’s most popular celebrity chefs descended on Wearside this weekend as people were able to enjoy the culinary delights of the return of the Scrantastic Food Festival to Houghton.

By Neil Fatkin
Sunday, 29th May 2022, 5:51 pm

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It was the first time in three years the festival has taken place due to cancellations as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Families could sample tasty treats from across the globe including Mexico, Greece, Italy and Asia while washing it down with a craft beer or cocktail.

There were also stalls selling cheeses, cakes and pastries with entertainment provided by stilt walkers, local choir and an array of games for children.

The Great British Bake Off finalist Laura Adlington during her demonstration at the Scrantastic Food Festival.

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Many people had come to see the cooking demonstrations by Rosemary Shrager who rose to fame in the TV hit series Ladette to Lady and then later appeared as a contestant on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

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Rosemary, who was cooking pad Thai chicken, beef salad and a sea bream dish, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many people out again and enjoying themselves. Just seeing everyone soaking up the atmosphere is brilliant.

"Cooking should always be fun but we’ve lost two generations of people where the pressures of modern life mean people don’t have time to cook. I learned to cook from my grandmother. It’s a vital skill and something which I love to teach.”

Visitors trying some tasty cheeses at the Scrantastic Food Festival.

She was joined at Scrantastic by This Morning’s Phil Vickery who was visiting the festival on Saturday, May 28 ahead of his own demonstration on Sunday (May 29) in which he prepared a Spanish chicken and chorizo dish along with tasty crab cakes.

A key aspect of Phil’s dishes is ensuring they are accessible to all budgets.

He said: “In 20 years on This Morning we’ve always worked on the principle of food which is tasty yet affordable and which people can cook themselves.

"To cook a jacket potato in an oven costs around 50 pence which is why I always try to cook dishes which can be created in one pan and don’t need to be in the oven a long time.

Deborah and Gary Storar enjoyed all the demonstrations and food.

"The cost of ingredients is also very expensive now and so I’ve adapted recipes such as where I would once use 500 grams of mince I now use half and supplement with lentils.”

Also taking centre stage in the show tent was CBBC gastronaut, Stefan Gates, who was experimenting with explosive ingredients in his ‘Fartology’ show, and Great British Bake Off Finalist Laura Adlington who was making Oreo brownies and a Jubilee cake.

Laura said: “I had great fun with the audience and one lady said they were the ‘best brownies she’d ever had’.”

June and Peter Turnbull. June was hoping to get some recipe ideas from Rosemary Shrager.

The demonstrations certainly tantalised the taste buds of visitors.

Deborah Storar, 40, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the shows and the brownies were very nice.”

Husband Gary, 52, added: “The Fartology show was very funny.”

June Turnbull, 77, who was at Scrantastic with husband Peter, 79, said: “I’m hoping to get some ideas from Rosemary about recipes I can cook. It’s nice to see everyone out and enjoying themselves again.”

The event was organised by Sunderland City Council.

TV Chefs Rosemary Schrager and This Morning's Phil Vickery at the Scrantastic Food Festival.
Helen, Lily and Simon Cheape from Sunderland enjoying their food at the Scrantastic Food Festival.