Business leaders from across Greater Manchester have been served plans for Bolton's ninth Food and Drink Festival at a special launch event.
The event, at the Renaissance Hotel, in Manchester city centre, attracted more than 70 guests and was held to showcase and promote the festival to a regional audience.
Bolton Food and Drink Festival, held from Friday, August 22 to Monday, August 25, is now firmly established as one of the largest and best events on the national food festival calendar.
And organisers are all set to make sure this year’s event is bigger and better than ever before. New additions announced include a dedicated children’s area on Le Mans Crescent with entertainment and activities.
Chef Andrew Nutter joined winner of Channel 4 cookery show The Taste Debbie Halls-Evans at the launch, where it was revealed they would join five other top chefs to cook a seven course gala dinner on Friday, August 22.
Andrew Nutter said: “I’ve been involved for the past few years and it’s fantastic to watch the festival grow. I’m really looking forward to this year’s event, not only will I be doing demos on the Monday but I’m also cooking the fish course for the Gala Dinner so it’s going to be a busy weekend!”
The gala dinner will also move from the Albert Halls to the Holiday Inn, on Higher Bridge Street, to cater for increasing demand. Guests will be dining from a £55 menu which includes an amuse-bouche, starter, main course and a cheese board.
Two-star Michelin chef Michael Caines; former Coronation Street actor turned chef Sean Wilson; award-winning Bolton chef Mike Harrison, and head chef at the Holiday Inn in Bolton town centre, Matthew Taylor will also be cooking dishes. Tickets for the gala dinner are now available to purchase on www.boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com.
The festival will once again be launched by Michael Caines, in Victoria Square, on Friday, August 22. Celebrity chefs on the menu to perform cookery demos are: Italian chef Gino D’Acampo on Saturday; celebrity Aussie chef and restaurateur John Torode on Sunday, and James Martin on Bank Holiday Monday.
Tickets for the celebrity chef cookery demos will go on sale in June. The four-day foodie spectacular will also feature a large speciality food and drink market in Victoria Square and surrounding streets, and free entertainment.
The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “Bolton is setting the bench mark for other similar festivals and we know that our festival is important to both the local economy and the regional economy.
“We want to maintain Bolton’s Food and Drink Festival’s place as the food event for the north west of England. More than 130,000 visitors came last year and I have no doubts that with the new features we have this year, the festival will be a real success once again.”
Market Place Shopping Centre and Bolton Market will also play a key role at the festival hosting free demos from top regional chefs.
Tim Vaughan, chief executive of UK manager group Moorgarth, owners of the shopping centre, said: “We are thrilled to be supporting the highly successful Bolton Food and Drink Festival especially at the time when we have just started work to transform the Victorian vaults in the basement of the centre into family-friendly restaurants and licensed bars.
“With the number of visitors who came to the festival last year it is clear there is a thirst for quality food and drink in the town and we look forward to hosting many of the top names in Market Place Shopping Centre across the four days."
To keep up to date with the latest festival news, log on to the website www.boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com, visit Facebook and search for Bolton Food and Drink Festival or search for #boltonfoodfest on Twitter.
Bolton Food and Drink Festival is organised by Bolton Council and sponsored by Bluemantle, Market Place Shopping Centre and Stateside Foods.
Partners so far this year include Bolton Market, Kro Bar, Marriott, and The Octagon Theatre.