Fine dining reaches new festival heights

The EAT! Festival returns to the North East for the seventh year with chefs creating their own menus at stunning locations

The launch of EAT! Festival 2013 on Fenwicks roof
The launch of EAT! Festival 2013 on Fenwicks roof

Fine dining is being taken to new heights with diners invited to enjoy ‘pie in the sky’ as part of a North East food festival.

For the seventh year of the EAT! Festival, organised by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, bosses have plucked five ‘unknown’ chefs from some of the region’s top restaurants to create their own menus at stunning locations.

The event called Naked Feasts will see the new generation of chefs – who work in the kitchens at Blackfriars, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, David Kennedy and Fenwick – cook for diners on the rooftop of the Fenwick store in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, as well as in the middle of fields at Rising Sun Farm in Wallsend and Vallum Farm near Hexham in Northumberland. Simon Preston, festival director of EAT! NewcastleGateshead, said: “There are going to be six dinners in total and they are all about showcasing young talent in the region. It is stripped down eating, no buildings, all the meals are going to be outdoors.

“Three will be on the rooftop of Fenwick, which has lovely really unusual views across the city, and the farms meals are all taking place right in the middle of fields, long tables right where food is grown.

“This is young chefs being given free rein to cook food that they want. I think the food will be amazing, it is a fantastic opportunity for the guys and it will be amazing for the diners.”

The launch of eat 2013 on Fenwicks roof in Newcastle
The launch of eat 2013 on Fenwicks roof in Newcastle

He added: “I do think this is going to be a highlight. In particular the farms are spectacular places and they are not really well known.

“For example Rising Sun is only a few miles from the city centre, but there’s not a building in sight..”

EAT! Festival kicks off on August 23 and will run for 17 days at locations across the region with 110 different events taking place. Mr Preston said other highlights would be The Speakeasy & Salon, a pop-up food haven in a secret location serving up four days of foodie masterclasses, demonstrations, workshops and screenings led by the North East’s best chefs.

“There’s a riddle on our website for people to solve to discover the venue and we are running 35 different events,” he said. Another event will be EAT! Street, a huge street food festival on South Street, behind Newcastle Central Station, running from September 5-8.

Mr Preston added: “I think people should be very proud of the festival, it has grown to be the biggest food festival in the UK but it only celebrates North East talent and food.

“We should all get behind it, it started small and has grown to something really big and the rest of the world is looking on.

“It is not about celebrating celebrity chefs and high ticket prices, it is about the best people and things we have here. There’s something for everyone, any age group, whatever you like.”

For more details on the festival visit



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