‘Busiest day ever’ for Bury St Edmunds’ burgeoning food and drink festival

Celebrity chef James Tanner demonstrates his culinary skills at the Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Fes

Celebrity chef James Tanner demonstrates his culinary skills at the Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival on Monday - Credit: Gregg Brown

Organisers of this year’s Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival are celebrating after enjoying the “busiest day yet” in the event’s five year history.

Celebrity chef James Tanner demonstrates his culinary skills at the Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Fes

Celebrity chef James Tanner demonstrates his culinary skills at the Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival on Monday - Credit: Gregg Brown

As record crowds flocked to sample the wares of dozens of local producers set out on stalls in Cornhill, Buttermarket and Angel Hill, venues across the town embraced the theme and held food-related events.

These included a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ in the grounds of St Edmundsbury Cathedral and an Olympic-inspired ‘Tastes of Rio’ event at Langton Place complete with Brazilian music and dancing.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds Business Improvement District (BID) which organised the festival, said they had been blessed with fine weather and this had helped entice thousands of visitors to the town over the two days.

Among the highlights yesterday was James Tanner, resident chef on ITV’s Lorraine and former Ready Steady Cook professional, who whipped up culinary delights including maple roast apples, blue cheese fondue, walnut salad, lemon sole with smoked shrimp lemon butter and drop pancakes with strawberries. He gave three live demonstrations in the Aga Rangemaster Theatre Kitchen on Cornhill which went down a storm with the crowds.


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On the previous day, the special guest was fellow celebrity chef Galton Blackiston from North Norfolk’s Michelin-starred Morston Hall – a regular on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.

There was plenty to amuse younger visitors with a ‘beach’ set up in the Arc shopping centre along with fairground rides, a Punch and Judy show, and a mini farm in Abbeygate Street.

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Speaking yesterday afternoon, Mr Cordell said: “This year’s festival has been absolutely fabulous. Sunday was great but Monday has been even better.

“This is the fifth time we have staged the festival and I would definitely say that today has been the busiest ever.

“For the past two years we have been extremely unlucky with the weather so we are thrilled to get such a fine bank holiday weekend which has undoubtedly boosted visitor numbers.”

This year, Mr Cordell said they had made a “big effort” to encourage a wider range of independent local producers to attend the festival and had given a number of relatively new businesses a chance to publicise themselves.

He added: “We have had a great turnout - the Buttermarket has been crammed with people queuing to buy food and drink and because of the weather; the beach has also been packed all day. At this stage, we couldn’t be happier.”

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