Universal Cookery and Food festival 2013

The  Staff Canteen
September 4th will see the Craft Guild of Chefs Universal Cookery and Food festival taking place in Warbrook House, Hampshire, an event which was first launched in 2012 to great acclaim as a food festival for chefs. As a media partner, The Staff Canteen is proud to be covering the event, so here’s a little taster of the treats in store… The Universal Cookery and Food Festival is the brainchild of Lee Maycock, the national vice chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs along with committee members Ian Nottage and John Feeney. Tasked with coming up with a chef conference, they decided they would create one with a difference: an outdoor festival with something to appeal to chefs from all sectors of the industry and with a variety of different events showcasing food from farm to fork. As Lee Maycock says: “We felt that we didn’t want to do the normal hotel chef conference where chefs just watch each other do demonstrations. We wanted to do it but do it differently so we decided to put it in a field and keep it really rural, natural and earthy. "We try to do something to suit everybody because we’re all very different, whether you’re in pubs and restaurants or hotels, or you’re a development chef or contract caterer; we all have different roles and we wanted to make sure that everyone got their own piece of the day – hence the name universal.” The name, as well as suggesting inclusiveness, forges a link with the past. According to Lee it harks back to the turn of the century and the Royal Horticultural Society’s food and cookery shows. These events were called the Universal Cookery and Food Exhibitions and were organised by the Universal Cookery and Food Association which itself evolved into the present-day Craft Guild of Chefs. There are some elements to this festival which those old chefs would recognise and others they would not. There will be a farmers’ market split into seven main areas: fish, meat, game, cheese, deli, fresh produce and drink and equipment. There will be wild foraging tours culminating in clay pigeon shoots and there will be live debates with industry panellists. There will even be a street food market with some if the UK’s best street food stalls providing lunch as well as a colourful backdrop. Lee Maycock: “A lot of the street food trade have these amazing vans which are all very colourful and characterful and it gives the whole thing that real festival feel.” Most exciting of all perhaps are the live demos going on throughout the day presented by some of the UK’s top cheffing talent. Michael Wignall, two-Michelin-starred chef of The Latymer at Pennyhill Park, will be showing how to create Michelin-star food without compromising on health; leading women chefs Mary-Ellen McTague of Aumbry Restaurant in Manchester and Michelin-starred Lisa Allen of Northcote Manor will be showing off their culinary skills; Russell Bateman of Colette’s at The Grove and Chris Bell of Galgorm Resort and Spa in Belfast will be conducting a blind tasting of organic and conventional cuts of beef; TV and Pot Kiln chef, Mike Robinson, will do a game demo; and acclaimed Bubbledogs chef, James Knappett will talk about the street food revolution. Looking forward to the event, James Knappett said: "I'm excited to see what the other chefs are doing and to meet them. In the past there have been some really great chefs that have taken part and it's really cool to be part of that." Lisa Allen of Northcote Manor added: "I'm really looking forward to working with Mary-Ellen McTague as part of the girl power demo. We'll be doing some great dishes, having a chat and passing on our knowledge." This year’s festival is the second to take place and looks to move forward using lessons learned and feedback gleaned from the first festival in 2012, adding new elements while retaining the most successful parts from last year. Lee Maycock says: “Last year we put on an indoor/outdoor event and we were blessed with the weather so everyone was outside. If it had poured down everyone would have been inside. We’ve learnt from that and this year everything will be outside under one big marquee. We’ve added a lot of new things like the clay pigeon shooting and the street food and it already feels like it’s going to be a bigger and better event than last year.” Lee's words sum up the ever-expanding ethos of a new festival with an ambitious eye on the future. “We already have enough ideas to fill up the next four or five festivals,” says Lee. “The challenge sometimes is to rein ourselves in; ideas are not a problem. "In terms of the future we want the Universal Cookery and Food Festival to be the place that every chef wants to attend every year and becomes part of the industry calendar.”
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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th July 2013

Universal Cookery and Food festival 2013