Two new food festivals heading to Sunderland with markets, street food, celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations

Jean-Christophe Novelli
Jean-Christophe Novelli
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Top chefs, cooking displays and edible sensations are heading to the city as a new Sunderland Food and Drink Festival is announced - with a sister event confirmed for Houghton.

Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli is the headline act at the Sunderland Food and Drink Festival, taking over the city centre from Friday June 21 to Sunday June 23.

Stock picture of a food stall, c/o Pixabay

Stock picture of a food stall, c/o Pixabay

Novelli, who has catered for royalty, heads of state, Hollywood stars and celebrities, will be cooking up a storm with some speciality dishes to inspire visitors.

He'll be joined by Katy Ashworth, from CBeebies and Dean Edwards, TV chef and author.

Keel Square, High St West, Market Square and Blandford Street will be home to a variety of stalls offering local produce from local traders, street food and speciality food and drinks plus music and street entertainment.

The heart of the event will be Keel Square, where a marquee will house free live cookery demonstrations and master classes throughout the weekend.

The event is free to attend and is funded and organised by Sunderland City Council, Sunderland BID and RR Events.

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID said: “We’re excited to be bringing this new event to Sunderland. It's a great opportunity to showcase some of our fantastic restaurants, bars and independent food shops and also attract new people into the city centre to see some of the chefs in action and experience something new in Sunderland."

In addition to the city centre event, Sunderland City Council is also bringing a new food festival to Houghton.

'Scrantastic' family food festival will take place on the Broadway and in Rectory Park on 17-19 May, featuring continental markets, speciality food, family entertainment and more celebrity chefs.

Katy Ashworth will be appearing, and she will be joined by local celebrity, TV chef and MasterChef finalist, Stacie Stewart and Great British Bake Off finalist, food reporter and cookery teacher Steven Carter-Bailey.

Victoria French, Head of Events for Sunderland City Council said: “We had a huge year of events in 2018 and did a lot of research on what other events people would like to see in Sunderland. Food festivals featured highly, so to be able to bring two such events to the city in the space of a couple of months is fantastic.

"We’re absolutely delighted to have so many celebrity chefs already signed up and hope people get the dates in their diaries for two fantastic weekends of food and drink.”

RR Events, who specialise in delivering large outdoor events in the UK, including many food festivals, are running both festivals.

Tony Walsh, Managing Director, said: “We already run regular continental markets in Sunderland, so we’re excited to help them grow into two full festivals. There’ll be a huge variety of food and drink to taste and buy, plus the chance to see celebrity chefs at work.”

Full details of the programme and the stalls will be announced closer to the events.

Details will also be added to www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/SundFoodFest and www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/scrantastic