Chef Mates will help me spice up Food Festival

Phil Ludlow Food Festival

It’s that time of year again. Ludlow Food Festival is just around the corner and I can’t wait.

It’s one of the busiest weekends of the year in Ludlow and, as always, it’s going to be a cracker.

I work closely with the team that runs the Ludlow Food Festival: they are a remarkable group of people and I have enormous respect for them. They work all year round to deliver a brilliant event and it’s a great privilege to be part of their festival.

I run a chef demonstration stage every year. This year the stage will be called Will’s All Stars.

I’ll host the stage all day on Friday and I’ve invited a group of my chef mates along to demonstrate – they are all seriously talented. I hope lots of you will come and see them in action.

Before I started to curate the day of demonstrations, Friday used to be the quietest day of the festival. The big numbers arrived on Saturday and Sunday: Friday was the gentle warm-up. But that’s all changed. Friday now has a cult following and we get huge numbers of people through the gates of Ludlow Castle to watch the demos.

This year’s bill looks fantastic. It will start with my good friend John Williams, from The Pound, at Leebotwood, near Shrewsbury. Many locals will know John: he achieved the first ever Michelin Star awarded in Shropshire for Sol, his restaurant in Shrewsbury.

Birmingham chef Steve Love, from Loves Restaurant, will follow. He won the legendary Roux Brothers Scholarship which allowed him to work with Alan Ducasse at his three Michelin Star restaurant in Paris.

Elliott Lidstone, of The Empress of India in East London, will bring more than 12 years experience in Michelin starred kitchens to the stage, while Phil Fanning, from Paris House, is a chef I first worked with 10 years ago and earned himself a Michelin star before the age of 30.

I’ve organinsed five cracking chefs who will demonstrate and entertain the crowds through the afternoon, with Michelin starred Sam Moody from The Bath Priory Hotel; Scott Fricker, who was Daniel Clifford’s head chef at two Michelin starred Midsummer House and is now the senior development chef for Ferndale Foods; Paul Foster from Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk who was voted Young chef of the year by Observer Food Monthly; Aktar Islam, who’s restaurant Lasan, in Birmingham won Gordon Ramsay’s Best Restaurant in the UK, and Hayden Groves, who is executive chef for Baxter Storey, completing the line-up. Details are at http://www.foodfestival.co.uk

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