Woking Food and Drink Festival 2015, from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 September, served up another mouth-watering ‘feastival’ attracting in excess of 80,000 visitors.
Shortly after the 2015 event, the festival was also crowned Best Local Food Event at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015.
Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre
Headlining the theatre were celebrity chefs Monica Galetti, co-presenter and judge on BBC Two's MasterChef: The Professionals, and John Whaite, Great British Bake Off winner 2012, presenter and food writer.
Talking about his Woking debut, Great British Bake Off winner, John Whaite, said: “My demonstrations were great fun with a great crowds of people. The Woking Food and Drink Festival is lovely! It’s got lots of variety, lots of people, it feels busy, there’s lots of produce. In my eyes it’s the perfect festival.”
Adding her thoughts to the mix, chef, co-presenter and judge on MasterChef: The Professionals, Monica Galetti, said: “Food festivals are very important. They are a great way for restaurateurs and suppliers to keep in touch with the public. People need to know what’s available to them, to have a bit of taste, so that they think, ‘yeah I want to try this’. The recession is still on. We need the support of people to come in [to town] and dine out. Festivals keep people in touch with food; people can try the food and try the wine. They draw people out and bring the community together.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of food festivals, some in parks, and some as part of shows. Woking is a community and it’s well set up for it. People in Woking have turned up very early to be a part of this festival. They are genuinely excited and interested in food. The festival is compact, it has a neat little buzz and it’s got a nice feel to it.”
An addition to the festival line up, the newly relocated Tante Marie Culinary Academy hosted three days of culinary masterclasses in its 'Live Kitchen' at the state-of-the-art Academy in Commercial Way, Woking. The only chargeable part of the festival, a nominal fee of £10 plus a small administration fee was applied to each masterclass booking, generating over £500 for local charity, LinkAble.
Led by Tante Marie’s qualified and experienced instructors, the menu of masterclasses offered participants the chance to perfect pasta, master the art of macarons, create delicious Danish pastries, decorate eye-catching cup cakes, and learn the secret of Tante Marie’s signature and formidable twice-baked haddock soufflé.
Woking Shopping Bake Off competition
Adding a generous helping of celebrity sparkle to Woking’s own bake off competition, John Whaite, Great British Bake Off winner 2012, food writer and guest chef on ITV’s Lorraine show, had the pleasurable task of picking two star bakers after inspecting and sampling a whopping 28 cakes!
Caron Moses picked up the Adult Bake Off prize for her coconut, lemon and raspberry show-stopper, while Lois Malbon was crowned the winner of the Junior Bake Off with her ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ blueberry sponge, which John described as having ‘everything from great presentation, flavour and moisture’.
Both Bake Off winners won a cookery course at Tante Marie Culinary Academy and two John Whaite cookbooks signed with a personal message from the man himself.
Watch the festival video!