A cookery competition featuring the stars of The Great British Bake Off, a pop-up restaurant and celebrity TV chef Simon Rimmer are among the highlights of this weekend’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival.
More than 150 of the region’s top food and drink producers will lay out their stalls for the thousands of visitors expected to descend on the event in the grounds of Auckland Castle, the Market Place and the Town Hall.
There will also be food and drink masterclasses, open-air cookery demonstrations, a kids’ club and street entertainers.
Organised by Durham County Council with the Auckland Castle Trust and the town council, the festival has been a popular event since 2003.
More than 34,000 people attended last year and crowds are expected this time too.
The highlights include Bake Off favourite Glenn Cosby hosting a Battle of the Bakers in the Town Hall with fellow series four contestant Kimberley Wilson taking on series three’s Cat Dresser in a test of baking knowledge.
Glenn said of his first visit to the event: “Bishop Auckland Food Festival is one of the most respected festivals in the country and has been on my wish list for a long time so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Simon Rimmer, presenter of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and spin-off Daily Brunch, returns to cook up some delicious dishes in the Town Hall Theatre using fresh produce from the stallholders.
Ivor Peters, better known as the Urban Rajah, will be executive chef at the Great Indian Feast, a pop-up restaurant in the grounds of Auckland Castle on both days.
He will be working with students from Bishop Auckland College to create a range of recipes from his Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs.
He said: “People can expect a food journey of epic proportions. This isn’t going to be restaurant curry, it’s going to be authentic home-made Indian food. The recipes all hail from my cookbook and have been passed down through generations.”
New for 2015 are masterclasses in chocolate, pizza and cocktail making. Whisky, gin and vodka tastings with the Lakes Distillery will take place at various venues.
Back on Sunday to take part in the festival’s Kids’ Club are CBBC presenter Stefan Gates and CBeebies star Katy Ashworth.
Festival favourite Johnny Pusztai will again host his sausage and burger-making challenge while Richard Fox will demonstrate a selection of barbecue recipes.
For more information and to book places for ticketed events go to www.bishopaucklandfoodfestival.co.uk