Visitors to next year’s Rochdale Food & Drink Festival, which returns on Saturday 4 April 2020 in and around Rochdale Town Hall – are in for another treat.

Television presenter Chris Bavin will be hosting the day, with Rochdale’s Andrew Nutter, Tom McNeeney, Austin Hopley and Adolfus Lewis among the local chefs cooking at the festival next spring. ‘Gastronaut’ Stefan Gates will be performing his energetic food and science shows on the family stage, with more guests to be announced.

Bavin, presenter of BBC1’s popular ‘Eat Well for Less’ and a ‘Britain’s Best Home Cook’ judge is also a former greengrocer. He will be returning to town having appeared at Rochdale Feel Good Festival in 2016. Before his television career took off he ran his green grocer business, ‘The Naked Grocer’, twice winning the ‘National Independent Retailer of the Year’ award. His long running ‘Eat Well For Less’ television series with Masterchef’s Gregg Wallace sees them helping families across the UK, proving good food doesn’t have to cost the earth. He also has a great interest in farming and all areas of fresh produce. He’s an active supporter of reducing food waste and his first solo cookbook ‘Good Food, Sorted’, was published earlier this year. Chris’s brand new book ‘Fakeaway’ is released in January and will feature 100 simple healthy recipes for takeaway-inspired meals that needn’t feel like junk food.

Local star chef and festival favourite Andrew Nutter has 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 last year. 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.

Popular TV presenter and Gastronaut Stefan Gates will be performing on the family stage. Stefan blends food with 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 (CBBC), food science series Harvest (BBC2), Food Factory (BBC1), E Numbers: An Edible Adventure (BBC2) and most recently Secrets of Your Supermarket Food (Channel 5). His most recent book is Science You Can Eat (Dorling Kindersley).

Tom McNeeney, head chef at local family pub The Oxford and a familiar face on the area’s culinary scene will be cooking at the festival. He last appeared at the event in 2018 and attracted a capacity crowd at Rochdale Feel Good Festival back in 2016.

Austin Hopley, formerly of Rochdale’s multi-award winning pub The Baum and now head chef at new Indian street food restaurant and craft ale pub Bombay Brew, will be cooking in the festival kitchen for the second year in a row.

Adolfus Lewis went down a storm at this year’s festival and will be back for 2020. He had 26 years’ experience as a chef before joining the team at the Hare on the Hill in Littleborough when it opened a year ago.

The festival kitchen 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.

More details will be confirmed in January 2020 when tickets for chef demonstrations and Stefan Gates go on sale.


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