Organisers of the Chester Food and Drink Festival say this year’s instalment promises visitors so much more with many free interactive events.

The event is the largest of its type held anywhere in the UK with more than 150 food and drink exhibitors on show and 30,000 people expected over the three days.

Headline chefs from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 feature with Paul Rankin, Chris Bavin and Jun Tanaka as well as the best chefs from around the region over three days of free cooking demonstrations on the stage.

There is a chance for 40 festival visitors to become a judge in the annual ‘Sausage of the Festival’ competition and many places around the festival to sit and enjoy everything that is on offer.

Harlech Foods are providing free adult cooking classes, where their chefs will be teaching adults how to prepare meals, special knife skills, tricks of the trade and of course the opportunity to eat what you have prepared.

Head demonstrator at Harlech Sam Elliott said: “This is a fabulous opportunity for us to show people how much fun cooking can be and how easy it is to prepare fresh, good, healthy food.

“We know people love to cook once they get the confidence and our classes are all about building that confidence.”

Sam Elliott of Cheshire Cookery School with a class of students

Festival organiser Briony Wilson said: “In our 18th year we just want our customers to have the best food and drink and the opportunity to get involved in every aspect of the industry and with the Harlech Food Classes they get the chance to learn from the experts.”

In addition to these great cooking classes, celebrity chef Brian Mellor, the owner of Harthill Cookery School, will be teaching people how to improve their BBQ skills.

Brian will have eight Weber BBQs set up with regular sessions each day showing how to avoid the normal burnt offering.

He said: “This is the chance to understand just how much fun cooking outside can be and what it takes to produce great tasting food.

“I have had so many people say after our sessions they simply didn’t understand what they were doing on the BBQ and now they do.

“I really enjoy doing this because it produces such great tasting food and of course the customers love it because they get to eat what they have cooked.

“It’s a real winner with Weber."

Back again in 2018 is the children’s cooking classes with Academy of Culinary Arts Supremo James Holden running these very popular taster sessions.

He said: “We have been doing these classes each year for the last 10 years and they just get more and more popular.

“Every year we have more than 900 children who come and spend time with us cutting, sorting, tasting and enjoying understanding food.

“We get such a buzz seeing the joy of children cooking and many try things they have never dared before, simply because they have prepared it.

“It is what events like these are all about.”

Chef James Holden cooking with children

Briony Wilson is excited about the 2018 event and is ready for a busy Easter.

She said: “We think this year’s event delivers on every level.

“We have over 150 exhibitors with foods from every part of the globe.

“We have the best chefs on our stages and we have more customer participation events than ever before.

“We have a great live music stage where families can chill and lots and lots of seating areas for people to simply enjoy great food and drink.

“In my opinion this is the best £20 for four hours of fun for a family of four that money can buy and it’s the biggest event of its type being staged anywhere in the UK this Easter.”

The festival takes place at Chester Racecourse from March 31 to April 2 and online tickets are just £6 for adults with children under 12 free.

For more information about the Festival or to buy online discounted tickets go to .