Gastronomic treats galore will be on offer as the cream of the region’s chefs throw their culinary weight behind The Journal Taste 2 food and drink festival in association with Tesco on August 30.
The six will create mouthwatering dishes using local ingredients at cookery demonstrations throughout the day at Macdonald Linden Hall hotel, golf and country club at Longhorsley near Morpeth, Northumberland. Jane Hall finds out what the public can expect.
Name: Victoria Turnbull
Lives: Spital Tongues, Newcastle
Job: Head chef, Grafton House Hotel, Durham
Claim to fame: “Winner of Campbell’s Supercook competition – my photo and recipe was featured on millions of Campbell’s soup cans around the UK.”
Food philosophy: “Eat, drink and be merry!”
Other projects currently on the go: She’s busy planning dining events at the hotel and organising a second Thai cookery course during her visit to Thailand in October.
Why are you supporting Taste 2? “Because it’s a fantastic showcase for the North East and its culinary offerings.”
What do you hope to get out of the Linden Hall event? “To find some new local suppliers for Grafton House’s restaurant.”
What do you hope the public will get out of Taste 2? “That they’ll discover some wonderful food producers right on their doorstep and be inspired to get cracking in the kitchen.”
What will you be cooking at Taste 2? “I’m hoping to use ingredients from my allotment – raspberries, courgettes, Swiss chard, spinach, tomatoes, basil, parsley and mint – for a summery green gazpacho, sea trout with salsa verde and a courgette salad, and a classic lemon posset with summer fruit sauce.”
When to see Victoria: 10-10.30am
Name: David Hall
Lives: East Boldon, South Tyneside, with wife Helen and three-year-old daughter Cerys
Job: BookTheCook, food education, personal chef, radio and freelance writer
Claim to fame: BBC MasterChef finalist 2007
CV: A self-taught cook, David works with Expo Chef teaching children how to eat healthily and have fun with food. Is a freelance writer for several magazines as well as a successful blogger on journallive.co.uk
Food philosophy: “Keep it simple, keep it tasty, keep it fresh and keep it seasonal where possible.”
You did Taste 1 at Gibside. What memories do you have of that? “I was first on at Gibside and was bracing myself for a show in front of a load of empty chairs. The tent was packed before I could finish prepping! The enthusiasm from the crowd was brilliant. It proved that here in the North East we have a passionate force of people eager to find out more about food, and more importantly, local suppliers selling extraordinary products.”
What do you hope to get out of the Linden Hall event? “Huge accolade, endless praise, a fat TV contract and a kiss and a cuddle off Hairy Biker Simon King. No, seriously, I only foolishly put myself up with the professional chefs in a kitchen to help inspire the general public to get in the kitchen more. It doesn’t all have to be about towers on plates, foams and squiggles, especially for the home cook with a family to feed.”
What do you hope the public will get out of Taste 2? “Access and knowledge to local suppliers and a few ideas from the chefs on how to turn a particular product simply into a cracking plate of food.”
What will you be cooking at Taste 2? “Roast wild mushroom and thyme soup with sea bream, then a pigeon, squash and beetroot salad.”
When to see David: 10.45-11.15am
Name: Pierre Rigothier
Job: Head chef at Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle
Food philosophy: “I always look for the best products, as fresh as possible, and respect them and cook them with my heart.”
Other projects currently on the go: “I am doing the Great North run in October for the first time (I am raising money for the Children’s Foundation). I am also going to be a dad for the first time in January and I am getting married in May!”
Why are you supporting Taste 2? “Because I am eager to share my passion of cooking and eating.”
What do you hope to get out of the Linden Hall event? “I haven’t met many chefs in the area yet so I hope I will get the chance to do so at the event.”
What do you hope the public will get out of Taste 2? “I hope it will give people the appetite to go out, to try all the great restaurants in the area, and dare to try new food.”
What will you be cooking at Taste 2? “Seared Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak, thick Maris piper fries, homemade ketchup and grain mustard emulsion.”
When to see Pierre: 11.30-12 noon
Name: Gareth Marks
Lives: Prudhoe, Northumberland, with wife Helen and step-daughter Chloe Thirliway, nine. Gareth also has a 10-year-old daughter, Keira Davis.
Job: Head chef, Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel, Golf and Country, Club, Longhorsley, Northumberland.
Claim to fame: Presented Tyne Tees TV’s A Taste of the North.
Food philosophy: “Keep it simple and do it well.”
Other projects currently on the go: “I’m starting a two-year certificate of education course in September at Newcastle College so I can pull some new kids through the ranks.”
You did Taste 1 at Gibside. What memories do you have of that? “It was a good buzz because we got the crowd involved in what they wanted to eat.”
Why are you supporting Taste 2? “Because this festival gives everyone access to what we have around us.”
What do you hope to get out of the Linden Hall event? “To show the young lads in the stable here at Linden Hall what this region has to offer.”
What do you hope the public will get out of Taste 2? “Education.”
What will you be cooking at Taste 2? “I’m going to use what people can buy on the day and create dishes from that.”
When to see Gareth: 1-1.30pm
Name: Richard Sim
Lives: Alnwick, Northumberland
Job: Consultant chef with Made in Northumberland, a tourism-backed project set up to showcase the county’s home-grown food and cultural ventures.
CV: Director of Fresh Element, the Newcastle-based bespoke catering company, director of Lamberts of Narrowgate, Alnwick, and partner in More Game.
Food philosophy: “Buy the best and keep it simple.”
Other projects currently on the go: Buying a hotel in Northumberland
You did Taste 1 at Gibside. What memories do you have of that? “A very educated crowd.”
Why are you supporting Taste 2? “It gives a great profile to food producers in the North East.”
What do you hope to get out of the Linden Hall event? “A fun day.”
What do you hope the public will get out of Taste 2? “To see good cooking can be easy.”
What will you be cooking at Taste 2? “Grouse a few different ways.”
When to see Richard: 1.45-2.15pm
Name: Kenny Atkinson
Lives: Holystone, North Tyneside
Job: Head chef at Seaham Hall’s Michelin star White Room Restaurant, County Durham
Claim to fame: Secured the first ever Michelin star earlier this year for the Scilly Isles at the Tean Restaurant on St Martin’s.
CV: Left school at 16 and worked in Newcastle’s Grainger Market before falling in love with cooking. Studied for two years at Newcastle College and has worked in the kitchens at the Vermont, Newcastle, the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London, Greenway Hotel, Cheltenham and Tean Restaurant, St Martin’s, Scilly Isles.
Food philosophy: “Quality ingredients, simplicity and flavour. I also believe in the ‘wow’ factor. I want people to be blown away by what I do.”
Other projects currently on the go: Ensuring the White Room retains its Michelin grading when the winners are announced early in 2009 – and in the process regain his own star status.
Why are you supporting Taste 2? “For the chance to meet so many local suppliers in one place, and being able to share my love of quality food with the wider public as my wife gets sick of me banging on about it!”
What do you hope the public will get out of Taste 2? “A greater knowledge of the quality ingredients available in this region.”
What will you be cooking at Taste 2? “I will be re-creating the ‘wow’ factor I believe in with a couple of dishes that look good, look exciting and use quality local, seasonal ingredients.”
When to see Kenny: 2.30-3pm
Taste 2 Food and Drink Festival
What is it? Journal Taste 2 food and drink festival in association with Tesco.
When? August 30
Where? The Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel, Golf and Country Club, Longhorsley near Morpeth, Northumberland.
What’s going to be there? The biggest and best food and drink fair ever held in the North East with stalls piled high with the freshest local produce, wine and beer marquee, Hairy Bikers Simon King and Dave Myers, former Newcastle United footballer David Ginola, popular national wine writer Malcolm Gluck, celebrity chef demos, wine and beer tastings with The Journal’s Helen Savage and Alastair Gilmour, children’s entertainment and live music.
How much? Entrance will be £5 per person with under-16s going free. But keep buying The Journal in the run-up to the event as we will be running a cut-price ticket promotion.
The Journal is indebted to the following firms and organisations for helping support Taste 2:
Tesco for sponsorship;
Made in Northumberland for sponsoring the drinks marquee and for practical support;
North East England Food and Drink Group for donating their mobile demonstration kitchen;
City Centre Partnership for supplying stalls.