Show preview: Universal cookery & food festival

Show preview: Universal cookery & food festival

Food and foraging will remain the focus at what promises to be a bigger and even better Universal Cookery & Food Festival than last year's inaugural event, as Janie Manzoori-Stamford reports

The Universal Cookery & Food Festival (UCFF) returns for its second annual outing this September, and this year's event is set to be bigger and better than before.

Built around a central stage in a big top marquee, the 4 September event features a more extensive farmers' market with demonstrations, and clay pigeon shooting built into its foraging tours.

But despite the enhancements, the organisers at the Craft Guild of Chefs are working hard to ensure the festival loses none of the intimacy of the original. National vice-chairman Lee Maycock says: "Last year's inaugural festival was a huge success, and we had phenomenal feedback, but the biggest learning curve was how it should all be laid out.

"We don't want it to get so big it becomes just another corporate trade show, but it is great to be able to bring in more fantastic suppliers and experts."

The indoor element of the festival means that delegates will get the most out of their visit come rain or shine, and it will be complemented by foraging tours outside.

Foragers Stuart Smith and Justin Ballard will lead the tours and will incorporate clay pigeon shooting into their exploration of nature's wild bounty as a new activity for the festival.

The bigger farmers' market will be arranged into seven main areas - fish, meat, cheese, deli, fresh produce, drink, and equipment - with demonstrations in game, fish and fresh produce.

In accordance with plans to host the festival in a different location each year, the 2013 event will take place at De Vere Venues' Warbrook House, set in 130 acres of woodland and parkland in Hook, Hampshire.

"The festival is a unique opportunity for food lovers across the industry to celebrate the seasons, wild food and harvest, and broaden their culinary knowledge with top chefs in a relaxed, friendly environment, getting away from the stuffy conference approach," says Maycock.


Visit to register for a place. Tickets are £99 + VAT for Craft Guild members and £199 + VAT for non-members.
For more details or to discuss showing your produce or equipment at the farmers' market, call 01293 854403 or e-mail
You can also join the conversation on Twitter: , #UCFF2013.


• Active Food Systems will demonstrate the benefits of its innovative grill and will cook tempting food to sample

• Clifton Food Range will preview its water baths and new Clifton centrifuge and freeze dryer

• The Essential Cuisine team of chefs will demonstrate their range of stocks, jus, gravy, demi-glaces and glaces

• Delegates heading to the Westlands stand will be invited to try its Micro Leaf, Growing, Inspired, Taste of the Sea and Heritage Collection ranges

• Visitors to the JDM Food Group stand 
will be able to try out sauces, pastes, dressings, gravies, marinades, glazes and seasonings

• Danebury Vineyards will showcase its award-winning wines and offer an English wine and food matching experience


9.10-9.45am The Silent Gold Medallists
Three London 2012 Olympics chefs - one from the Athletes' Village, one from a retailer and one from corporate hospitality - share their experiences of last year's games and recreate their best dishes for festival delegates. Find out their biggest challenges and their proudest moments.

9.45-10.45am Girl Power Ever more women are making their mark in 
what is still a male-centric industry. Confirmed for the Girl Power session are: Lisa Allen, 
head chef at Northcote, Langho, and Mary-Ellen McTague, chef-proprietor at the Aumbry, Manchester, who share their career journeys 
so far.

11.30am-12 noon Health Versus Taste: Part 1 Netherlands-born Rob Baan is owner of award-winning micro-veg company Koppert Cress, which supplies chefs, restaurants, hotels and food services. As a passionate home-cooking chef himself, he will be exploring whether health and taste can go hand in hand.

12 noon-12.30pm Health Versus Taste: Part 2 Two-Michelin-starred Michael Wignall, head chef at the Latymer, will explore good calories versus bad calories, demonstrating how to make healthy dishes without sacrificing taste. Delegates will be invited to taste his creations.

12.30-1.00pm The Street Food Revolution This enlightening demonstration with guest chef James Knappett, from London's Bubbledogs and Kitchen Table restaurants, will seek to answer the question, "What is street food?", taking a close look at trends and influences from around the world.

2.15-3.00pm Farming for Chefs: Part 1 We are what we eat, they say. Here, National Farmers Union vice president Adam Quinney and Beef Group chairman Andy Foot will look at conventional farming versus free-range farming versus organic farming, and let us into the secret of how to change the colour of an egg yolk.

3.00-3.45pm Farming for Chefs: Part 2 Russell Bateman, head chef at Colette's, the Grove, Hertfordshire, and Chris Bell, head chef at Galgorm Resort & Spa, conduct a blind tasting session with the festival audience, while 
Rob Kirby, chef-director at Lexington Catering, talks about how different cuts of meat are used in the world of contract catering.

4.30-5.15pm The Role of the Development Chef How do you translate concepts into retail sales and how does the sector differ from foodservice? How do you get into food development as a career?

5.15-6.00pm Panel debate - Navigating the Menu Minefield A look at the different challenges chefs face when putting together a menu, from allergies, intolerances and food labelling to provenance and sustainability.


"It's a great festival to be involved in. With so much talent and so many suppliers and events on show, it will be great to meet other people and see what they will be doing. "I will be on stage with Mary-Ellen McTague. It will be interesting to see two contrasting styles of food, with a bit of fun, sharing knowledge and experiences. I'm really looking forward to a fantastic day."
Lisa Allen, head chef, Northcote Manor, Langho, Lancashire

"I'll be cooking and talking through a dish from Kitchen Table, while discussing both Kitchen Table and Bubbledogs and the distinction between the restaurants, how we make them work, and what we are aiming to achieve with each. "There are some great chefs involved with the event, so it'll be interesting to hear them talk about what works for their business. It's also fascinating watching fellow chefs in action, especially those who work in areas 
I don't get to visit often."
James Knappett, head chef, Bubbledogs, London

"I'll be cooking with Chris Bell. We'll be doing beef dishes, both with different cuts for blind tasting. "I got involved this year because my team visited the last event and got loads out of it. It's a great opportunity to meet like-minded professionals and show people how we work and treat ingredients 
in Colette's. "It's the first thing I've done with the Craft Guild aside from National Chef of the Year but I'm interested in doing more of this kind of event. It's a great way to pool knowledge and resources and speak to like-minded people."
Russell Bateman, head chef, Colette's, the Grove, Hertfordshire


Lisa Allen, head chef, Northcote Manor, Langho, Lancashire
Russell Bateman, head chef, Colette's, the Grove, Hertfordshire
Chris Bell, head chef, Galgorm Resort & Spa, Co Antrim
Rob Kirby, chef-director, Lexington Catering
James Knappett, chef, Bubbledogs, London
Mary-Ellen McTague, chef-proprietor, the Aumbry, Manchester
Mike Robinson, chef and TV presenter, the Pot Kiln, Berkshire
Michael Wignall, head chef, the Latymer at Pennyhill Park, Surrey

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