First three celebrity chefs announced for Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2023

Organisers of the Bishop Auckland Food Festival have confirmed a trio of celebrity chefs will headline the event’s Saturday line-up.

The festival, run by Durham County Council, had a record attendance of more than 30,000 visitors last year and returns to the town Saturday April 22 and Sunday April 23.

A weekend of delicious food and fantastic entertainment is in store, with some well-known faces taking to the stage throughout.

First up is chef, presenter and author, Phil Vickery. Having been part of the ITV This Morning family for more than 22 years, Phil is regarded as one of Britain’s favourite chefs. After starting his career as a commis chef at The Burlington Hotel on Folkestone seafront, Phil worked his way up the kitchen ranks. He has worked in Michael’s Nook hotel in Grasmere, the Michelin-starred Gravetye Manor in East Grinstead and Ian McAndrew’s Michelin-starred 74 in Canterbury. As head chef of The Castle hotel in Taunton, Phil won an incredible string of accolades including a Michelin star and four AA Rosettes. He’s been a fixture on the nation’s television screens too, appearing on Ready Steady Cook, Proof of the Pudding, Phil Vickery’s Pudding Club, and Save Money: Good Diet. As one of the longest serving chefs on This Morning, he presents live and pre-recorded cookery items as well as his own cookery segments from locations across the globe. An award-winning author, he is also a leading authority on gluten-free products and the National Food Ambassador for Coeliac UK.

Phil will share Saturday’s stage with Rachel Allen, a bestselling writer, TV chef and celebrated teacher at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork. Raised in Dublin, Rachel studied at Ballymaloe from the age of 18, remaining after graduation to cook at the Ballymaloe House Hotel and Restaurant. She then set off to cook around the world, returning to Ballymaloe to work at the cookery school. It was there she found her passion for teaching, where she continues to lecture to this day. Rachel is a popular figure in the culinary world, with an international audience for her bestselling cookery books and food writing, her live demonstrations, and her television programmes. Rachel’s first book and accompanying TV series, Rachel’s Favourite Food, was published and broadcast in 2004. Her books have sold more than one million copies worldwide. She currently co-hosts The Restaurant alongside Marco Pierre White for RTE and writes a weekly food column for the Sunday Independent.

Saturday’s fun will continue with Janusz Domagala, the stand-out star of 2022’s Great British Bake Off. Having moved to the UK from Poland 11 years ago, the 34-year-old baker reached the semi-finals of the show. Janusz’s popularity with the British and international public has grown throughout his journey, and he was named one of Heat magazine’s 2022 Stars of the Year. A keen LGBT+ activist, Janusz has featured on CBBC’s Saturday Mashup and was a guest in the Christmas special of Channel 4’s The Last Leg.

All three celebrity chefs will be wowing visitors with demonstrations on Saturday April 22.

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 very soon, along with details of all the food traders, family entertainment, and cookery workshops.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “The Bishop Auckland Food Festival is one of the most popular in the region and it’s a real highlight of our annual events calendar. Last year was the biggest yet, with glorious weather helping us attract around 30,000 visitors across the weekend. That’s a record high and it shows there’s clearly a huge appetite for it! To pull in those kinds of numbers is a massive boost for the town. Of course, the presence of the celebrity chefs is always a big draw and today’s announcement confirming the first three lined-up for this year means the countdown is well and truly under way. There are more big names still to come but it’s not all about the big names – we’ve got all kinds of wonderful food traders, workshops and entertainment up our sleeves too.”

Bishop Auckland Food Festival is supported by Bishop Auckland Town Council and Durham County Council’s Towns & Villages programme.

To keep updated on all the latest Bishop Auckland Food Festival news visit the event’s website and follow its social media channels.

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