Food, glorious food! Annual festival is another big success!

4 September 2018

Foodies from the Borough and across the region turned out in their thousands to enjoy a large helping of celebrity and local chef demos, expert talks and a fantastic assortment of over 80 food and drink stalls, all served with a sprinkling of top-class entertainment, at this year’s free-to-attend Woking Food and Drink Festival 2018 (Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September 2018).

Deliciously Ella founder, Ella Mills, and a panel of local businesswomen kicked off three days of festivities to a sell-out crowd of 80 people at the WWF-UK The Living Planet Centre. The ‘Inspiring Women in Food’ breakfast featured: Liana Fricker, founder of the Inspiration Space; Lorna Nanda Gangotra, owner of The Little Indian Kitchen and winner of BBC2’s ‘The Big Family Cooking Showdown 2017'; Jessica Vella-Templeton, founder of Breakfast by Bella; and Danielle Webber, owner of Ripe and Nine.

Later on, the Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre was officially opened by the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Will Forster, festival sponsors, Magimix UK and Tante Marie Culinary Academy, and members of the Sheerwater Cookery Club.

Located in Jubilee Square, the professional demo theatre hosted a smorgasbord of top culinary experts, including celebrity chefs: Ching He Huang, TV chef and author; Kenny Tutt, BBC MasterChef Champion 2018; The Gangotra Sisters, winners of BBC2’s The Big Family Showdown 2017; and Dr Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, BBC MasterChef Champion 2017. All complemented by senior instructors from Tante Marie Culinary Academy and a selection of talented chefs and experts from some of Surrey’s finest food establishments.

Speaking to the festival team after his demonstrations, Kenny Tutt, said: “Woking Food and Drink Festival has been absolutely incredible. I’ve only been here for a few hours and it’s a glorious day, there’s some absolutely incredible food stalls and producers.

“The crowd has been amazing. I’ve done a lot of these festivals now, but that’s probably one of the biggest crowds and the most enthusiastic and engaged that I’ve been with. So it’s definitely, definitely been one of my favourite days so far.”

Complementing the demo theatre were the informative and intimate Bite-size Talks. Local food and drink experts introduced food novices and aficionados to a rich buffet of trade secret top tips and skills, all hosted by Hersha Patel – host of YouTube channel 'Cook with a Little Indian'.

Meanwhile, Great British Bake Off series four contestant, Howard Middleton, guided visitors through the fun process of creating wholesome and delicious meals in minutes during the Magimix Masterclasses.

And that’s not all. Children and grown-ups were treated to some hands-on kitchen action thanks to Tante Marie Culinary Academy Masterclasses. Kids enjoyed making healthy, nutritious ‘scrumble’ snacks, whilst those a little older had the chance to learn how to make Tante Marie’s scrumptious sausage rolls and delicious brownies.

Families also got in on the culinary action during The Gastronaut live shows at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, starring BBC’s Stefan Gates. The energetic, funny, amazing and explosive shows featured rockets, robots, giant cannons, edible chemistry and a very loud fart machine!

Attending the three-day event, Cllr Colin Kemp, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture and Community Development, said: “This year’s Woking Food and Drink Festival was without doubt another stunning success. This event continues to grow and it attracts in the region of 100,000 visitors across the three days.

“It was inspiring to see Woking Town Centre teeming with visitors and gastronomes of all ages who were enjoying the fantastic festival atmosphere and experiencing the many free demonstrations and activities on offer, not to mention the mouth-watering selection of cuisine from across the World. The festival really does put Woking on the culinary map.

“I would like to extend my thanks to all our sponsors. Without their ongoing support we would not be able to put on such a fantastic event. And, I couldn’t finish without passing on my gratitude to the project team who have spent many months planning the event, and colleagues who volunteered their time to ensure a smooth and trouble-free festival.”

Andrew Maxwell, Managing Director of Tante Marie Culinary Academy, said: “This year’s Woking Food and Drink Festival was the best ever! During a fantastic three days, we experienced glorious sunshine and a buzzing atmosphere around Woking.
“Year on year, the festival builds upon the success of previous years and it just keeps on delivering. As a local food business it gave us fantastic profile and as a sponsor it delivered great value. The overall organisation and delivery by Woking Borough Council and its various contractors were utterly professional.”

Steve Punter, Managing Director of Magimix UK, said: “It was great to attend this year’s Woking Food and Drink Festival as a sponsor and trader. We’ve always heard good things about the event, so it was fantastic to experience it in full swing and be part of the lively foodie atmosphere. Most of all, we were really impressed by the community feel which the event brought to the heart of the town centre. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!”

Rowen de Grauw, Customer Experience Manager at Woking Shopping, said: “The festival is one of the town’s leading events, which we look forward to every year. We’re continually impressed by the amount of visitors it attracts and we’re proud to have been the event’s headline sponsor since its launch in 2013.”

View the festival's photo highlights!

Complete the visitor survey for a chance to win…

Visitor feedback is extremely important and it is used to plan future events. For a chance to win a family ticket to the spectacular pantomime Cinderella at the New Victoria Theatre, please complete the short online survey.

The survey closes at 5pm on Friday 28 September. The winner will be randomly selected in early October and contacted by Woking Borough Council.