THOUSANDS flocked to the Stratford Food Festival at the weekend.
The three day event was hailed a big success and gave visitors the opportunity to explore more than 70 stalls, see live bands, take part in the taste and ale trails and catch a glimpse of some top demonstrations and workshops.
Celebrity chefs Simon Rimmer and James Martin also helped to draw in the crowds with Simon making his debut in the town at the waterside Cookery Theatre on Saturday (September 19).
James meanwhile, was the star guest on Sunday (September 20) and took to the stage with three sold out shows before he cooked up treats using a selection of produce from nearby stalls.
Simon said he was aiming to inspire people to change their normal, every day line-up of dinners for some new, easy to make, dishes, which he promised would leave their tastebuds tingling.
Speaking to The Observer during the event, he said: “I don’t get to do food festivals that much anymore because I don’t have time so it’s nice to be here,”
“The great thing is that when you walk around you find producers you are not going to find in any of the local shops – you find amazing bakers, superb pie makers and amazing people doing amazing things with local products.
“I like that you get to meet them and talk about how they make their products.”
When asked what his favourite meal was, Simon said it changed all the time because he was constantly developing new recipes.
“But I suppose if I was to choose what I would like for my last supper it would probably be an Indian,” he added.
Simon said one of his favourite ingredients to use was chillies or chili sauce as it could make anything taste better and feel less boring.
He admitted he even carried around a little bottle of hot sauce with him everywhere so when he buys a sandwich and it is not very good he can splash some sauce on it.
James, who has only been to Stratford a handful of times, was thrilled to be a part of the big event.
“It is a fantastic place with lots of history, I love the river as well,” he said. “For a chef, it is good to come to these things because you may see something new and different.
“The aim is to promote the stuff on the stalls and all I’m here to do is showcase the ingredients from the local area and inspire people to get out there and give it a go.”
Visit www.stratfordobserver.co.uk for more pictures of the event.