TALKS & DEMOS sponsored by Wenlock Spring

Every year, we draw up a wish list of people who we’d like to get to the Wenlock Spring Demonstration Stage. And this year, we pretty much got the lot. There’s a perfect blend of recognisable Celebrity Chefs, Michelin Starred cooks and the best of Shropshire and its hinterland.

The line-up this year, ladies, gentleman and prodigious young kids who are planning to win Junior Chef, is the nuts.

We’ll have big hitters like Gareth Ward, the Michelin-starred chef patron from Ynyshir, showing you how to make the most exquisite food imaginable. Gareth is one of the best cooks in the UK, a Champions League-standard chef, who is in high demand. We’re thrilled he’s going to be hanging out in Shrewsbury for our festival and would urge you to beat a hasty retreat to his elegant and gorgeous restaurant at Eglwys Fach, near Machynlleth. We have. We promise you won’t regret it.

A relative new kid on the block is the MasterChef The Professionals star Leo Kattou, who delighted us all with his run to the latter stages in the most recent series. Kattou also holds a Michelin star for his dishes at Simpsons, in Birmingham, which is one of the region’s finest venues.

Paul Askew, the Liverpudlian Chef Patron of The Art School, will be making a trip from Merseyland to be with us, after dazzling on Saturday Kitchen, Great British Menu and a bunch of other TV shows. Paul will be bringing his new book, Onwards and Upwards, to sign. He’s so good, he’s going to be on both days.

And then there’s the best of local: Chris Burt, Karl Martin, Rob Swift and more. It promises to be a dreamy weekend.

All the chefs who were on our Wenlock Spring Demonstration Stage were modelling aprons from the amazing Ridson & Ridson. Luxury aprons made in the heart of Shrewsbury.

Ridson & Ridson are two generations bringing together their creative strengths and ideas. Mother and sons – Carla, Alex and James – they each have a clear design perspective. Founder Carla has a background in textiles, sewing and making – mixed with a passion for traditional craftsmanship and a love of modern design. Alex is the leather worker with a natural talent for working raw materials into beautiful pieces. James is behind the branding, web design and is part-time photographer.

Their aim has always been to produce something that has style and practicality, delivered with the finest materials. They are unique in their features and are built to last.

Come and get your hands on this unique crafted aprons and bags in the retail stalls on site!

Saturday June 23

Hosted by Shropshire Radio Colin Young we are grateful to this awesome chap who has supported us from the start.

Lajina Leal – Masala Magic 

Lajina’s masala curry mix gives home cooks the perfect base to create an amazing combination of dishes. Whether your favourite curry is Jalfrezi, Korma, Tikka Masala or Rogan Josh, her versatile little spice packs can create any of them by following a few simple steps. We’re delighted to welcome her to make her debut at Shrewsbury Food Festival.

All Rise  with Shropshire’s fifth generation baker Robert Swift.

Rob Swift’s family have been baking bread for more than 150 years. Rob’s a regular feature and much-loved part of the festival. He’s presently working on his second book – after his debut, Born and Bread, was a sell-out success. 

Rock’n’Roll Butchery with Worcester’s one-off Scott Rea

Scott Rea is a one off. He is to butchery what Elvis was to rock’n’roll. The social media star has a following in the millions as people around the world watch his butchery videos. His debut book – Ahead of the Game – is published later this year.

Culinary Art with Art School Chef Patron and TV star Paul Askew

We love Paul Askew. And so does the rest of the UK. The TV star cooks visually stunning food that has earned the attention of critics and punters alike. His restaurant, The Art School, is in the heart of Liverpool. We recommend you go: it’s truly special.

Culinary Fireworks with Mytton & Mermaid Executive Chef Chris Burt and ingredients queen Vicky Enderson

The last time Chris Burt and Vicky Enderson teamed up, they almost caused a riot. So we did what all sensible festival organisers do – asked the anarchic duo to return. Expect culinary fireworks, lots of laughter – and a bemused Stage Host standing back and watching in awe.

Downton Abbey  with Old Downton Lodge 3AA rosette holder Karl Martin

Karl Martin is chef at Shropshire’s best restaurant, Old Downton Lodge. His silky skills have graced our stage before – and we’re delighted to welcome him back.


Sunday June 24

Hosted by Carl Jones as master of ceremonies.

Collins Not Maconie with Stuart Collins, from Dockett 33, at Whitchurch

Stuart Collins is a new name to Shrewsbury Food Festival, having made a big impact with Dockett 33, at Whitchurch. The much-travelled chef has an enviable CV, having travelled the world and worked in a number of impressive kitchens. His new Shropshire restaurant has got a lot of people talking. 

Star man with Leo Kattou, from Simpsons, in Birmingham

The world’s friendliest chef is also one of the absolute best. He’s learned his trade under Luke Tipping at Simpsons, in Birmingham, where he’s earned a series of promotions. He came to national prominence during the last year during an epic run on MasterChef.

Wild Wild Wales  with Gareth Ward, Chef Patron at Ynyshir, in North Wales

This is how Ward describes his Michelin-starred cooking. Ingredient Led – Flavour Driven – Fat Fuelled – Meat Obsessed. And who are we to argue. Get along early to reserve your seats for a demonstration from a unique talent. He’s one of the best in Britain.

If Picasso ate Bacon – Now we’re just being silly. Paul ‘Porky’ Askew’s back. Oink.

Paul Askew has a book out. It’s called Onwards And Upwards. It’s earned starry reviews from The Caterer and is selling quicker than mistletoe at Christmas. Don’t miss his demonstration – and hang around after to bag your signed copy.

The BIG Finale – with Mark Ellis, of Allium, in Chester

The loveable Mark Ellis is doing remarkable things just across the border, in Chester, having cut his teeth at Peckforton Castle. Expect big flavours and stunning presentation.

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