Food & DrinkNews

Local chefs will be cooking up a storm

Foodies can pick up tips from some of the county’s leading chefs in a packed Demonstration Kitchen programme at this year’s Stone Food & Drink Festival.

Kindly sponsored by Platt’s Garage Group, Westbridge Park’s Demonstration Kitchen will feature live cookery demonstrations on the hour, every hour on Friday 30th September, Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October 2016.

Festival regulars will certainly recognise some of the culinary heavyweights who will present their signature dishes, while some new faces will present on fresh topics – and there will be some extra fun injected as an old friend of the festival takes on an exciting new challenge!


Friday’s programme will start at 1pm, with Gian Harrar of local cookery school iCookIndian cooking up a classic Indian breakfast.

At 2pm, Stone-based freelance Chef Mike Hughes will draw on his vast experience as a Chef at 5* and Michelin guide venues, as well as his 25 years as a Chef Lecturer, to take on the brand new ‘Gourmet Marquee Sweep’ challenge. For those who don’t remember TV’s Supermarket Sweep or Ready Steady Cook, Mike will be given £25 to buy ingredients from the exhibitors in the Gourmet Marquee an hour before his demo slot, and will then have to create an impressive dish on the spot.

Mike Hughes
Mike Hughes

Friday’s 3pm slot is occupied by Allan Jones, Head Chef at the renowned Keele Hall, during which he will whip up dishes with his trademark flair; honed during a career that has seen him work alongside Marco Pierre White and cook for celebrities and royalty.

At 4pm, Robert Didier of Orchard Pigs will share the skills he developed training with Raymond Blanc and later running his own successful London restaurant before leaving the bright lights of the city to establish a free range pig farm on the Welsh border, where he creates his delicious hand-made pies.


Saturday’s schedule will be kick-started at 11am by Mike Hughes, once again taking on the Gourmet Marquee Sweep challenge to create another great dish from scratch.

At noon, iCookIndian’s Amarpal Harrar will show how to recreate a classic Indian lunch followed by Robert Didier’s second turn on the stage at 1pm.

2pm will see veteran Staffordshire Chef Paul Gilmore take centre stage. Ever popular with the audience, Paul ran his own Bib Gourmand restaurant in Birmingham and set up the successful Strines Farm restaurant near Uttoxeter before establishing Gilmores at The Wheatsheaf in Oulton, his Gastro Pub near Stone.

Following Paul is another chef well-known throughout the county, Bruce Mackie, who headed up Moddershall Oaks’ award-winning kitchen before his recent move to The Plume of Feathers, the Barlaston pub co-owned by actor Neil Morrissey.

4pm, meanwhile, will see a new face in the demo kitchen, as Richard James of Stone’s U.S.-inspired restaurant, Smoke & Rye, shares his passion for American food and craft ales.


Sunday’s schedule is set to be just as packed with fabulous food – iCookIndian’s Amarpal Harrar is first in the kitchen with his delicious – and surprisingly simple Indian Street Food dishes.

At 1pm Paul Gilmore will showcase more of his classics with a twist followed, at 2pm, by Laura Krippner of award-winning Newcastle-under-Lyme ‘free from’ bakery, Twice as Nice Bakery. Laura will demonstrate how to create two of her delicious gluten free and vegan cupcake recipes.

Laura Krippner
Laura Krippner

At 3pm there will be a masterclass in the art of the canapé from another new face – Jason Smith, chef and owner at Rise Bespoke Foods; that creates bite-size works of art for elegant parties, weddings and business functions.

Bringing proceedings to a close at 4pm on Sunday will be Matt Davies, executive head chef of The Lewis Parnership. Having held a strong 2 rosettes for culinary excellence for the past 17 years, Matt is a Michelin-listed chef who is also a real force in the industry; a National Food Champion, Chair of both the Staffordshire Chefs’ Forum and the board of Judges for the Staffs Young Chef of the Year competition and the current Chairman of the British Culinary Federation. Having cooked on TV several times with the Hairy Bikers, as well as being a regular on the Stone Food & Drink Festival stage, Matt is no stranger to the limelight!

Matt Davies
Matt Davies

For full details of the 2016 Stone Food & Drink Festival, which will take place on Friday 30th September, Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd October 2016, visit



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