Cooking in the streets at Letchworth food festival

PUBLISHED: 08:31 17 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:48 28 February 2013

Cooking in the streets at Letchworth food festival

Cooking in the streets at Letchworth food festival

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne surveys the menu for Letchworth's first food festival

TOP Hertfordshire chefs will play a leading role when Letchworth celebrates its new-look town centre with its first food festival on May 22-23.

The event, organised by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, is one of many over the next few months marking the completion of the latest stage of the improvement programme, known as the Street Scene Works.

As well as cooking demonstrations by the chefs, the festival will feature a feast of different foods on sale from local traders including bread, meat, fish, jams, fruit juices, muffins and honey. Visitors will be able to talk with the stallholders and learn more about the produce they are selling.

There will also be food to eat on the go, including soups, stews, hot and cold salads, goat curry, paella, chocolate, handmade fruit cream ices and other mouth-watering goodies.

Centre-stage will be 12 hours of cooking demonstrations over the weekend with a line-up of top foodsmiths including Michelin Star-holder Phil Thompson, executive chef of Brocket Halls flagship restaurant Auberge du Lac near Welwyn.

Also there will be restaurateur and TV chef Paul Bloxham, who runs the award-winning foodie The Tilbury in Datchworth and will soon be opening the door to his latest pub acquisition, The Blue Anchor in St Albans (see Page XX). A writer creating recipes for national magazines, Paul has appeared on numerous food programmes as TV chef and presenter, most recently on Market Kitchen.

Stuart Blackman, owner of The Country Bumpkin at Woolmer Green, will demonstrate how to prepare wild food such as pigeon and rabbit which features in his foraging expeditions and on the menu at his regular feast nights. Stuart was crowned Local Food Hero for East Anglia last year on the Gary Rhodes show on UKTV.

More tricks of the trade will be revealed by Harry Kodagoda, head chef at The Fox at Willian and director of food for the company that owns it, Anglian Country Inns Group. Harry studied Hospitality and Catering at Letchworth College and then Catering Craft at Hitchin College and has just taken the top prize in the Great British Pub Food Awards 2010 for the best fish and chips in the country.

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation director Marilyn Hands said the food festival was an appropriate way to mark the town centre redevelopment milestone. I would like to say a big thank you to shopkeepers and their customers for their patience and loyalty throughout the Street Scene contract, she said.

One year on, the physical transformation on Eastcheap and Leys Avenue now provides a stunning backdrop for a feast of events to encourage more people to visit the town. Putting food at the heart of the Garden City really is a taster of things to come.

The festival is open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday May 22 and Sunday May 23 in and around Leys Square and Leys Avenue. For all the details, see the website at or call 01462 476017.

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