Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott is to bring his barbecue to the seaside this summer to fire up the 2016 Southport Flower Show.

Ainsley - who turned up at the May Day Festival in Hoole on Sunday - will open the annual show on the Lancashire coast before showcasing the culinary skills which have made him one of Britain’s best-loved TV cooks.

He has starred in a string of popular TV shows, including Ainsley’s Barbecue Bible, Ready Steady Cook and, over the last year, Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food and Len and Ainsley’s Big Food Adventure.

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He also threw some memorable shapes on the dancefloor when he appeared in the most recent series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Ainsley is a best-selling author, with more than two million copies sold worldwide, and is a familiar face in our shopping aisles with his highly successful range of soups, rice and cous cous.

Chef and TV presenter Ainsley Harriott paid a visit to Deborah Bouchard at the Bongo's R&R Pickles stall at the Hoole May Day Festival
Chef and TV presenter Ainsley Harriott paid a visit to Deborah Bouchard at the Bongo's R&R Pickles stall at the Hoole May Day Festival

Ainsley will appear at Southport on Thursday, August 18 for the opening day of Britain’s biggest independent flower show and will be performing two cookery demonstrations in the Food Village.

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He said: “I’m really excited to have been asked to appear at the famous Southport Flower Show. I’ve heard so much about it over the years and, as I’ve always been interested in gardening and growing my own vegetables and herbs, I’m hoping to pick up a few tips while I’m there.”

This year’s Southport Flower Show has a Mediterranean theme and will celebrate the culture, cuisine and fragrant gardens of the southern European coast.

The show features masterclasses from the UK’s top gardeners including Joe Swift, Carol Klein and Christine Walkden plus keenly contested amateur growers’ competitions and the spectacle of the Grand Floral Marquee.

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Southport also features entertainment for all the family and a food festival which grows in size and popularity every year.

Ainsley will be joined by a host of famous names including chefs Aiden Byrne and Andrew Nutter.

General manager Ray Roukin said: “We are delighted to welcome Ainsley Harriott, to Southport for this year’s show.

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“The Food Village has become one of the most exciting additions to the line-up of attractions at Southport and it will be fantastic for visitors to see one of the nation’s favourite chefs in action at the show.”

Southport Flower Show runs from Thursday, August 18 to Sunday, August 21. Advance tickets are available for just £19 per person. Purchase your tickets before the end of May and you can buy two tickets for £34. Children under 16 go free when accompanied by a paying adult.

For more up to date information on the show, celebrity announcements, details and ticket bookings visit www.southportflowershow.co.uk or call 1704 547147.