News

Woking Food and Drink Festival is fully stocked and ready to ‘wok and roll’!

25 August 2017

There’s just one week to go until this year’s Woking Food and Drink Festival, taking place from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 September in Woking Town Centre.
 
Crowned the county’s Best Local Food Event 2015 and 2016 (and shortlisted for the same award in 2017), the free-to-attend festival is set to dish up another three days of live cookery demos served by Surrey’s top culinary talents and well-known celebrity chefs, topped off by a bountiful platter of new foodie treats for all the family.
 
Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre
 
Kicking off three days of action-packed live demonstrations will be sponsor, Tante Marie Culinary Academy’s senior teachers, Claire Alexander-Brown, Ally Molyneaux and Alex Brady, who will whip up a tasty medley of sweet and savoury tarts and accompaniments.
 
Following his former teachers on stage and showing that all the hard work does pays off, Tante Marie graduate, MasterChef 2008 quarter-finalist and current Head Chef of the award-winning The White Horse at Hascombe, Dan Britten, will also demonstrate his culinary flair.
 
On Saturday and Sunday celebrity chefs and local restaurateurs will plate up a fine food extravaganza in front of a packed theatre audience. ‘Saturday’s kitchen’ chef line up will give a famous weekend TV show a run for its money, which includes: Ben Piette, owner and Head Chef at London House, West Byfleet; Tante Marie Culinary Academy; Antonio Carluccio OBE and Al Crisci MBE representing The Clink Charity restaurants; Fernando Stovell, Director and Chef Patron at Stovell’s, Chobham; Chetna Makan, Great British Bake Off semi-finalist, TV chef and author; and Steve Drake, Chef Patron of Sorrel, Dorking, and owner of The Anchor, Ripley.
 
Sunday’s line up also promises to deliver top-drawer chefs, including: Bruno Loubet, Michelin starred chef and international restaurateur; Tante Marie Culinary Academy; Olia Hercules, food writer, stylist and TV chef; Aneke Spacie, Head Chef and owner of Waters Edge Cafe, Horsell; Dougie Balish, Head Chef of the Michelin starred The Tudor Room at Great Fosters, Egham; and, Three Girls Cook, MasterChef 2017 finalist trio, Alison O'Reilly, Giovanna Ryan and Lorna Robertson.
 
Talking about the forthcoming festival, Cllr Mark Pengelly, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Cultural Services, said: “Last year, Woking welcomed in excess of 100,000 visitors to the town over the three days. With this year’s festival taking place over the last few days of the school summer holidays, we’re once again anticipating high visitor figures.
 
“Woking Food and Drink Festival is the largest, free event of this kind in Surrey – possibly the South East – and we’re proud to host it. For the third year running it has been shortlisted for the Best Local Food Event at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards, voted by the readers of the magazine. It’s great recognition for the event, which attracts visitors to the area and brings people together to taste something different in the heart of their town.”
 
Tantalising attractions
 
Offering visitors a magnificent mezze of edible delights will be a tented village of over 80 food and drink producers, suppliers and restaurants spread across Woking Town Centre. Festival goers can forage amongst the many stalls offering the best in local, regional and international produce and artisan wares. When it comes to street food, visitors can experience the very best of local and world-wide cuisine without needing a passport!
 
New to the festival and giving visitors more bite for their buck, visitors can indulge in a tapas style medley of Bite-size Talks*, presented by a panel of local food and drink experts. Hear about the experts’ success stories and pick up some of their trade secret top tips – great takeaway skills to wow family and friends at a later date!
 
Hosted at a range of town centre venues, the short informal talks also offer the chance to ‘ask the expert’ questions and, at some sessions, sample small tasters. Ticket prices range from £5 to £20. Subject to availability, bookings can be made via the festival website or from each venue on the day.
 
Also making a splash at this year’s festival is the new Cellar Wines and Deli Zone, located in Gloucester Square. Browse, graze and stock up at the large selection of stalls featuring award-winning Surrey and English vineyards and artisan deli producers and suppliers.
 
Visitors to the wine and deli zone also have the opportunity to drop-in to the free ‘meet the producer’ and ‘expert’ sessions in The Ambassador’s Members’ Lounge, Gloucester Square. Wine bluffers and buffs can learn top tips from the experts, taste samples (where available) and ask any questions.
 
Confirmed local producers and experts include:

  • Anne McHale, Master of Wine
  • Andy Walton, Manager of Cellar Wines, Ripley
  • Heather Dougherty, wine columnist and judge
  • Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking
  • Greyfriars Vineyard, Puttenham
  • Albury Organic Vineyard, Albury
  • High Clandon Vineyard, High Clandon
  • Silent Pool Distillers, Albury
  • Louis Roederer Champagne House

‘Proving’ his credentials as one of Surrey’s best bakers, Bake with Jack owner, Jack Sturgess, will demonstrate how to make the perfect bread every time. Visitors can catch Jack’s free bread-making demonstrations in Gloucester Square at set times on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Family fun shows with Katy Ashworth
 
Adding some silliness to the proceedings, families can join CBeebies star Katy Ashworth, a familiar face to pre-schoolers and their families, for bags of bonkers fun at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre. Katy will be hosting three live shows on Saturday 2 September at 10.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm.
 
The sessions will be packed with fun games, sing-a-long songs and some serious groovy moves! Tickets cost £2.50** per person and can be purchased from The Ambassadors Box Office, located on the upper level of the Peacocks Shopping Centre, over the phone on 0844 871 7645 **, or online at www.atgtickets.com/Woking*.
 
Other festival attractions
 
If that’s not enough to whet visitors’ appetites, the festival will also offer a range of other attractions, including:

Woking Food and Drink Festival opens on Friday 1 September and Saturday 2 September from 9.30am to 6pm, and Sunday 3 September from 10am to 5.30pm. 
 
Woking Food and Drink Festival 2017 is sponsored by Woking Shopping, Tante Marie Culinary Academy, Cellar Wines and Celebrate Woking, and professionally supported by Dreaming Fish Productions and Headline Design and Print.
 
* Booking fees or charity donations apply. Advance booking is recommended.
** A transaction charge of £2.85 applies to bookings made online and over the telephone.