Dartmouth Food Festival 2016
PUBLISHED: 15:44 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 15:44 10 October 2016
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This month will see Dartmouth hosting its 14th annual food festival
Upwards of 20,000 people flock to the waterside town of Dartmouth every year to enjoy one of the highlights of Devon’s foodie calendar. Every year is special in its own way, but some years hold particular significance for the organisers.
2009 Number one festival fan, chef Mitch Tonks says that without doubt 2009 is his favourite year because it marks when he joined the team as Festival Ambassador.
“The event is a real celebration of truly exceptional produce and great British cooking,” he says. “It’s the perfect place to explore food and drink, talk to the people who produce it, watch a cooking demo and eat well – and you can bring the kids too.”
“Everything that is great about British cooking, growing, harvesting, catching, eating and drinking is represented here,” he continues. “It’s a festival that’s loved by locals and visitors alike. We have a great friendly neighbourhood here and we all celebrate together with friends, family and visitors, it’s a party atmosphere from start to finish, I absolutely love it and love being a part of it.”
2012 This year was significant in that chef and writer Joyce Molyneux became an honorary patron. Now of course, she is a much loved lifelong patron of the festival. Joyce is an amazing, unstoppable character who was best described by Prue Leith. “If anyone was born to cook, my God, Joyce Molyneux was. The woman is a legend among cooks, restaurateurs and foodies. Her first cookbook sold fifty thousand copies; her restaurant, the Carved Angel, which she owned and cooked in for twenty years, had a Michelin star and a world-wide reputation; she spawned shoals of good cooks who went on to be culinary stars, and her food delights today as it did fifty years ago.”
Joyce, who is now in her eighties, was recently interviewed by Jay Rayner for The Guardian newspaper as part of its ‘Seven Ages of a Chef’ series and gave some good advice to young cooks. “Just enjoy yourself, the food, the cooking and the company,” she said.
2013 This was the year when the popular Eat Your Words workshops were introduced. These events, which sell out every year, are a series of conversations with food journalists, writers, chefs and other experts – and many sessions are accompanied by some delicious tastings.
2016 This year’s festival is also rather special because Romy Gill MBE is a special guest. Romy is one of the few female Indian chef/owners in the country, having opened Romy’s Kitchen Restaurant in September 2013 in Thornbury, and she has a special fondness for the Devon festival.
“The organisers gave me an opportunity when I was not known at all and I will always be grateful for that. The Dartmouth Food Festival is very close to my heart,” she says.
A flavour of the festival
The festival runs from 21 to 23 October with a wide array of market stalls, celebrity chef demonstrations and special events.
Matt Tebbutt, Tom Parker-Bowles, Mark Hicks, Simon Hulstone and Matt Norton among many others, including local chefs, will be appearing in the demo kitchen.
More than 100 producers, including around 75% from Devon, will have stalls along the waterside and South Embankment and through the heart of the Royal Avenue Gardens.
Wine writer Susy Atkins will be hosting drinks seminars at Browns Hotel in the town.