Nottingham's first food & drink festival proves a huge success

An action-packed 5-day event has been heralded a huge success for the city as over 18,000 visitors, attracted by the celebrity chefs’ theatre and the speciality local and regional food and drink market in the Market Square, attended the first ever Nottingham Food & Drink Festival this month. Funded by the Nottingham Leisure Partnership, an organisation that represents the city centre licensees, and the Greater Nottinghamshire Partnership, the Festival took place from Wednesday 16th to Sunday 20th September to help showcase the city’s diverse offer of fine food and drink.

Nottingham's first food & drink festivalThe new chief executive of the Nottingham Leisure Partnership, Sylvia Manser, commented: “We are delighted with the success of the first Food and Drink Festival. Nottingham has one of the greatest variety of food and drink venues in the country and the festival felt like a real celebration of that. It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the wonderfully diverse programme of events that took place all over the city.”

The Rangemaster Chefs’ Theatre in the Market Square hosted celebrity chefs James Martin, host of Saturday Morning Kitchen, Nottingham’s own Michelin star chef, Sat Bains, Step Up To The Plate regular, James Tanner, Ready Steady Cook favourite Brian Turner and Something for the Weekend’s Simon Rimmer. Tickets for James Martin’s first demonstration on the Wednesday morning went before midday on the day of release, proving what a popular draw he is.

James commented “it’s good to be back in Nottingham and I'm delighted that they’ve finally got their own food and drink festival, my last visit here was as a judge for the Nottingham Restaurant Awards. It’s a great city and an event such as this continues to showcase the food and drink offering to its fullest.”

Another of the highlights in the Rangemaster Chefs’ Theatre over the five day festival, was the Ready Steady Cook style cook-offs with local chefs pairing up with radio, TV and sporting personalities. BBC East Midlands Today’s Sara Blizzard took on BBC Radio Nottingham’s Richard Spurr in a contest that ultimately ended in a draw. Lucky for Sara who didn't seem to know her way around the kitchen too well and was found looking for butternut squash in a bottle! They were followed by Heart 106 breakfast presenters Sam and Amy and Smooth Radio’s Mike Ashley and Tim Gough. Assistant coach and captain of Nottingham Panthers, Bruce Richardson, who didn’t know what an aubergine was, took on the might of Nottingham Rugby’s Sam McDonald who had big shoes to fill as his father is a Michelin star chef! The contestants were all guided through their challenges by chefs from venues around the city.

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