A foodie celebrity is lending his weight to the Towcester Food Festival next weekend, which is expected to attract more than 5,000 visitors.
Opening the two-day celebration of artisan food and drink at Towcester Racecourse at 10am Saturday, June 7, will be well-known food critic and writer Willian Sitwell.
The Masterchef judge and editor of Waitrose Kitchen magazine, who lives near Towcester, will tour the stalls and at 10.30am will take part in a 45-minute Q&A interview with the celebrated broadcaster Mark Lawson.
A renowned food historian, Mr Sitwell will also journey back in time with a talk entitled Sitwell’s Foodie History: 4,000 years in 3,000 seconds, with vignettes from his acclaimed book, A History of Food In 100 Recipes.
The man who has Masterchef contestants quaking in their boots will also be stepping up his one-man crusade against the square plate, by inviting food festival visitors to take part in a Square Plate Amnesty.
He said: “Square plates and rectangular plates are an abomination. Food should be served on round plates, and not a right angle in sight.
“If you have square plates, now is the time to be bold and cast them out.
“Bring them with you to the festival, hand them in and we will get rid of them for you by giving them to charity.”
The festival runs from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, June 7, and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, June 8.
Ten of Northamptonshire’s finest chefs will be showing off their culinary skills on the chef demonstration stage.
They include two restaurateurs from Northampton, a private chef, two artisan producers from Brackley and the owners of The Barn at Upper Stowe and the Red Lion at Culworth.
Each of them will be using local produce to make seasonal dishes.
Rachel Halvorsen, of Rachel’s Farm Shop in Brackley, will give a sausage making demonstration using pork reared on her own farm.
The free demonstrations will run hourly during the two days.
Festival founder Crispin Slee said: “There’ll be something for everyone at the festival. The chef demonstrations are free and will provide a fascinating insight into the professional kitchen for people who want to improve their own skills.”
The festival will also boast than 70 artisan food and drink stalls, street food vendors, food workshops and two live music lawns.
At the same time there will be events going on in the town, including a fringe street food market and a real ale ale trail.
The festival is being supported by South Northamptonshire Council as part of the council’s drive to support tourism and the rural economy and is helping to raise money for good causes.
Tickets are available online at www.towcesterfoodfestival.co.uk