Newmarket Food and Drink Festival's 10,000 visitors help to make weekend a big success
Newmarket’s annual food festival has made its eagerly anticipated return to the town after a pandemic-imposed absence.
The free event, traditionally one of the biggest food festivals in the East of England each year, took place at new venue The Jockey Club Rooms, attracting around 10,000 guests over the course of Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to numerous stalls showcasing local produce, visitors were treated to live music and a cookery theatre, which featured both celebrity and top regional chefs demonstrating their favourite dishes.
Noel Byrne, chair of the Newmarket Food and Drink Festival, said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic to see so many people back with us within the historic grounds of the Jockey Club Rooms, enjoying the very best food and drink.
“We’ve had a wonderful two days getting our exhibitors, visitors and volunteers back together after two years.
“People have had a chance to see, meet and buy from many of the best food and drink producers in the east of England. Not to mention the opportunity to pick up cooking tips from some of the best chefs in the region, alongside the inimitable Rosemary Shrager who had the audience in stitches during her impromptu double act with Tristan Welch.
“Newmarket Food and Drink Festival has always been a fantastic festival, but this year more so than ever. And, of course, we were delighted to continue our support of the Henry Cecil Open Weekend, which kicks off on Saturday and will be raising money for local charities.”
The festival was open from 10am on both days, offering people the chance to taste the fine cuisine and drink on offer, from freshly prepared street food and independent bars to artisan grocery products and breweries, with over 50 producers showcasing their wares.
Some of the stallholders sold out after day one of the festival and had to make urgent trips to restock as visitors enjoyed sampling some of the east of England’s top artisan producers and award-winners, including Hadley’s Ice Cream; Harrison Chocolatiers; Three Counties Field Kitchen; LillyPuds Ltd, vegan and organic afro-Caribbean food from Mama’s Kitchen, and much more.
A full list of exhibitors can be viewed via the festival website at www.thehenrycecilopenweekend.co.uk/food-and-drink/
Celebrity chefs in the line-up for the cookery theatre this year included chef and television presenter Rosemary Shrager and Tristan Welch, a regular on Saturday Kitchen and chef director at Parker’s Tavern, in Cambridge.
The pair ended up joining forces on stage, resulting in an impromptu comedic double act that delighted the audience as they prepared their various dishes, including Tristan’s decadent chocolate pudding.
Top regional chefs who demonstrated their favourite dishes over the two days included Mark Abbott, head chef of the two Michelin star restaurant Midsummer House, in Cambridge; Adam Spicer, head chef at All Saints Hotel, in Fornham; Cambridgeshire Chef of the Year (2017) and a MasterChef finalist (2019) Steve Angier, head chef at The Packhorse Inn; Mark Elvin, head chef at the Elveden Estate, and Daniel Perjesi, head chef at The Jockey Club Rooms.