A new culinary festival is heading to Sunderland this week, with stalls, demonstrations and a famous face or two.
And, as the countdown begins to the Sunderland Food and Drink Festival, from 21 to 23 June, organisers have unveiled a guide to what’s on and where.
The festival – showcasing food and drink from local, regional and international traders and featuring entertainment and demonstrations from celebrity chefs – will be held across five city centre sites
High Street West will play host to street food stalls, giving visitors the chance to sample a vast array of different cuisines, while Market Square will be home to a continental market and craft stall throughout each day of the festival.
At Blandford Street, fresh and regional produce will take centre stage showcasing the very best the North East has to offer, while at Keel Square a roll call of chefs from around the UK will be sharing their skills at a series of demonstrations.
The programme of kitchen demos begins on Friday 21, when, at 12 noon and again at 3pm Sunderland’s Ryan Riley will be creating some of the recipes from his newly opened Life Kitchen at the city’s Mowbray Park.
At 2pm Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food by the Foundation of Light will take to the stage, with a cocktail masterclass with Revolution closing the day at 5pm.
On Saturday 22, there will be a drip cake demo by local business Bows, Bakes and Cakes at 10am and then, at 11am, foraging expert Alysia Vasey will share some of her tips and experiences.
At 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm, celebrity chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, will turn up the heat with a trio of demonstrations of dishes from his vast repertoire, Spice girl Nedi Chera will bring a flavour of authentic Indian cuisine at 3pm and the day will draw to a close at 5pm with a cocktail masterclass from Ps and Qs.
Sunday 23 will start with A Sausage for Sunderland when local pork butcher Ibbitson’s will announce the winner of a competition to find a brand new banger.
Then CBeebies’ Katy Ashworth will be appearing at 11am and 1pm while Masterchef’s Dean Edwards will be sharing his creative and technical abilities at 12 noon and 2pm.
There will be street entertainment from 60s Kitsch Café and Genfactor artists and stiltwalkers throughout the festival, at all sites and the chefs will also be meeting and greeting visitors at the Bridges during the course of the event.
The festival has been organised by Sunderland BID, RR Events and Sunderland City Council.
Cllr John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture, said: “We had a very successful event with Scrantastic in Houghton in May, and we’re looking forward to working with Sunderland BID to replicate that in the city centre – but with more food, more stalls and more demonstrations.
“There’ll be something for everyone, so whether you’re a foodie or just looking for something different for the family, we hope you’ll head down to the city centre and support this fantastic new event.”
Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, believes it will be a fantastic event for both residents and local businesses.
“We are delighted to welcome Jean-Christophe Novelli and Dean Edwards to the city and it is a great opportunity for Sunderland foodies to get tips and see demonstrations from some incredibly talented chefs,” she said.
“We hope everyone will really embrace the festival and get out into the city centre over the weekend to see all the great things on offer.”
Parking facilities in the city centre will operate as normal throughout the festival but, owing to visitor numbers, those who can travel by public transport are advised to do so.
For more information please visit www.seeitdoitsunderland.com/sundfoodfest.