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Tasty town hall line-up at Rochdale Food & Drink Festival

21 January 2020

Chris Bavin.

Food lovers are in for a treat – tickets are now on sale for cookery demonstrations in the festival kitchen at Rochdale Food & Drink Festival, being staged on Saturday, 4 April 2020 in and around Rochdale Town Hall.

5 chefs will be cooking live during the event, staged in partnership with Premier Kia and new local Indian street food restaurant Bombay Brew, with 6 40-minute demos scheduled packed with tips, techniques and the opportunity to ask questions.

Television presenter Chris Bavin will be hosting the day, introducing Rochdale's Andrew Nutter, Tom McNeeney from The Oxford, Bombay Brew's Austin Hopley, Adolfus Lewis from The Hare On The Hill in Littleborough and Noo Meenan (pictured below) from Thai food experts Issan Friends.

Noo Meenan.

Chris, presenter of BBC1's popular 'Eat Well for Less?' and currently starring in 'Britain's Best Home Cook' alongside Mary Berry will be returning to town having appeared at Rochdale Feel Good Festival in 2016. His 'Eat Well For Less?' television series with 'Masterchef's' Gregg Wallace sees them helping families, proving good food doesn't have to cost the earth. As well as hosting the event, helping out the chefs in the festival kitchen he'll be signing copies of his new book 'Fakeaway' that features simple healthy recipes for takeaway-inspired meals. At 5pm he'll also be talking part in a live interview, chatting about his career, love of good food and taking questions from the audience.

Andrew Nutter will be up first at 11:15am – he's had an amazing career since coming runner-up in the National Junior Cook of the Year competition aged just 13-years-old. 7 years later, he launched 'Nutters' Restaurant, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. He's won multiple awards, including Lancashire Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, and 'Rochdale Man of the Year.' In 2016 he opened gastropub 'The Bird At Birtle.'

Adolfus Lewis and Austin Hopley.

At 12.15pm it'll be time for rising star Austin Hopley (pictured above, right) from new Indian street food restaurant Bombay Brew. Expect culinary delights such as pakora and kofta, spiced potatoes, loaded poutine fries, sweet and savoury chaat, 'bom-bae' and tandoori chicken wings.

Later in the afternoon it's Tom McNeeney. Head chef at The Oxford, catering lecturer and host of his own Youtube cookery channel, Tom cooked at the festival in 2018 and will be back for the 2nd time. 

Adolfus Lewis (pictured above, left), chef at the Hare on the Hill gastro pub in Littleborough will also be cooking live, then at 4.15pm it's the turn of Noo Meenan, Thai chef from local street food specialists Issan Friends.

Stefan Gates.

Over on the indoor Family Stage popular TV presenter and Gastronaut Stefan Gates will be performing 30 minute shows at 11.30am and 1.30pm. Expect an exciting blend of science and laughter, engaging and educating both children and adults with spectacular experiments, explosions, rockets and edible chemical reactions. Renowned for his quirky style and exciting live shows, Stefan has presented over 20 television series including the acclaimed CBBC series Incredible Edibles and Gastronauts.

Children will also be able to get involved in some foodie fun, with cooking classes perfect for little chefs. Following sold out shows at the 2018 and 2019 festivals, Pat from Little Hens Early Years Activities in Milnrow will present more classes suitable for 2-10 year olds, giving you and your little ones a chance to make something nutritional and tasty. There'll be lots of fun and interaction along the way, promoting healthy eating, creativity and food awareness whilst building confidence and encouraging independence.

3 children wearing chef's hats.

'Spectacular entertainment'

The Festival Kitchen, sponsored by Bombay Brew, will be located inside the gothic splendour of Rochdale town hall along with plenty of stalls and activities. There'll be an outside food and drink village, an indoor seating area to watch chef demonstrations on a big screen, themed foodie workshops plus live music and activities – with lots to offer from nearby local pubs, bars and restaurants.

Councillor Janet Emsley, the council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said she is pleased with the mix of local and national talent on the line-up:

"Our aim is always to celebrate the best in food and drink in Rochdale and I am pleased with the line-up so far. Hosting the day is Chris Bavin, one of the highest profile BBC food presenters and we are delighted to welcome him back to Rochdale.  Headlining our family stage is Stefan Gates and his live shows are spectacular entertainment, mixing chemistry, physics and biology with food and nutrition in a really exciting and fun way.

"I encourage everyone to save the date so they can see our star chefs in action and enjoy great food, drink and entertainment. We'll be announcing more attractions and stalls on the run up to the festival."

Rochdale Food & Drink Festival is open from 11am-6pm, Saturday, 4 April 2020.