First celebrity chefs announced for Bishop Auckland Food Festival

A duo billed as the world’s biggest vegan and plant-based chefs will be among the headliners at this year’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival.

Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, better known as BOSH!, will take to the cookery stage as part of the festival’s Saturday line-up.

The festival, run by Durham County Council, welcomed some 28,000 visitors last year and returns to the town on Saturday April 20 and Sunday April 21.

A weekend of delicious food and fantastic entertainment is in store, with some well-known faces giving cookery demonstrations throughout.

Childhood friends Henry and Ian, from Sheffield, have established BOSH! as one of the culinary landscape’s most influential brands. Their journey started in June 2016, when they made it their mission to bring more plants to people’s plates. They’re now the world’s biggest vegan social media brand, with more than three million followers and 26 million views per month. Their six bestselling cookbooks have sold more than one million copies worldwide, with one going becoming the UK’s best-selling vegan cookbook ever.

They will share Saturday’s stage with Marcus Bean, a winner of Channel 4’s Iron Chef and regular on ITV’s This Morning.

A self-taught chef, Marcus has enjoyed a meteoric rise of his own founded on a childhood spent living in pubs in and around Oxfordshire. He was 16 years old and working as a pig farmer when his parents decided to up sticks and buy a pub in Shropshire, which he helped renovate and run. After studying sound engineering in pursuit of a career in the music industry, Marcus returned to something more familiar when he and his wife took on their first pub in 2005. Repeated let downs by the chefs prompted Marcus to get in the kitchen and teach himself how to cook. Having run the pub successfully for five years, he was selected as a contestant for Iron Chef, beating Michelin-starred Martin Blunos in the final. Marcus is now a regular host of the super theatre at BBC Good Food shows around the country, working on stage with the likes of James Martin, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.

Saturday’s cookery demonstrations will continue with 2023 Great British Bake Off finalist Dan Hunter.

Dan’s interest in cooking began when he went travelling in South America in 2007, and his particular loves are pies and desserts. He credits his mother-in-law for teaching him how to make shortcrust pastry. A perfectionist, Dan loves a baking challenge and will often find the hardest bake in one of the hundreds of cookbooks he owns and start there, throwing everything he’s got at creating a masterpiece.

All four celebrity chefs will be wowing visitors with their food demonstrations on Saturday April 20, and they’ll be joined by crowd favourite and TV presenter Chris Bavin, who returns as host.

Chris co-presents BBC One’s Eat Well for Less? alongside Jordan Banjo and is a regular on The One Show. He’s also presented Tomorrow’s Food with Dara O’Brian, Food: Truth or Scare with Gloria Hunniford, and was a judge on Britain’s Best Home Cook with Mary Berry.

Sunday’s celebrity guests are set to be announced soon, along with details of all the food traders, family entertainment, and cookery workshops.

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