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Best ever line-up of star chefs for Chester Food Drink and Lifestyle Festival

Gregg Wallace and Jean Christophe Novelli lead the way this Easter together with roster of local chefs

This year’s line-up of chefs and food celebrities at the Chester Food Drink and Lifestyle Festival is the best line-up ever assembled for the event according to organiser Stephen Wundke.

“We are so proud to have secured so many big names from across the UK and to be able to back them up with our own local stars is something very special. It looks like being a great year with over 150 food and drink producers letting you taste, try and buy, real food and drink made by real people.”

On the Saturday, festival perennial and Sunday Brunch star Simon Rimmer headlines a group that includes New Moon celebrity chef David Mooney, rising star Luke Thomas and 2 AA Rosette chef Mark Walker.

Sunday sees the eagerly awaited arrival of Masterchef star Gregg Wallace who will be judging the We Love Cheshire Sous Chef Challenge, where four local sous chefs will be fighting it out on the stage to be this year’s champion and have a chance to compete on Masterchef.

They are backed up by Harthill Cooking School supremo Brian Mellor, former Coronation Street star and now master cheesemaker Sean Wilson as well as a special cocktail clinic from Hoole sensation The Suburbs.

The list just gets even better on Monday as French star chef and heart throb Jean Christophe Novelli will be mentoring local stars as he puts Liam McKay from The Chef’s Table, Ian Penn of 1539 and Matt Worswick from Lawns at Thornton Hall through their paces on the main stage.

He will be joined by the culinary genius that is Andrew Nutter – the original rock and roll chef.

The star line-up is backed up with full interactive sessions that include by free cooking classes for children put on by the Academy of Culinary Arts, as well as the final of the Sausage Competition, where the first 40 people in the auditorium will get to judge this year’s winner who will go on to represent Cheshire in the UK Champion of Champions competition.

There is so much to see and do and this year Artfest joins the roll call as the public will also be treated to free seminars put on by some of the UK’s top artists, Joe Francis Dowden, Geoff Kersey and David Hyde, as well as art from more than 40 local artists.

With good weather organisers expect they will break the 30,000 mark over Easter. Most hotels are already reporting heavy bookings.

Mr Wundke added: “When we started this event it was put on at Easter at the request of hoteliers who said that as nothing happened over Easter in Chester the city was deserted. Now all that has changed and 14 years later Chester has an event that generates over £2.5 million in economic benefit and really has had an impact across the region.

“Every year thousands of families come out to enjoy really good food and drink and have a great time together. We can’t wait to put on this year’s event”

The Chester Food and Drink festival runs from April 4-6 at Chester Racecourse. Adults save 25% and pay just £6 when buying their ticket on line with children under 12 free. For more information or to buy tickets visit www.chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk .

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