Gastronomic delights to be served up at first food festival

Final preparations are under way for the first Delicious North East Food and Drink Festival this weekend.

Festival organisers Northeast Press are determined that the event will be a success, whatever the weather.

Spokesperson Lesley Callaghan said: “All our food and drink exhibitors and theatre kitchen are located indoors, our real ale and ciders are inside a grand marquee, wine and champagnes under cover and the festival has restaurant-style seating areas for families to enjoy tasting the delicious food and drink indoors and outside – so we’re prepared for whatever weather July sends our way!”

The festival will be held at the Nissan Sports, Social and Conference Centre on Wearside and is fully booked with exhibitors from around the region.

Tavistock Leisure will be out in force with three stands, including a beer and champagne bar. The owners of the Best Western Roker Hotel and popular restaurants Tavistock Retro Italia and Tavistock Thai China will be on hand to show exactly why they’re so good at what they do.

Executive chef Ronald Joseph Ramos, known as RJ, will be doing cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend, while their bar will be staffed by experts who can recommend the right drink to go with the right food.

Director Keith Donkin, 33, said: “We want to give visitors a taste of what we do, whether they want to dine in one of our restaurants or hire us to take care of their event or function.

“All of our staff are incredibly knowledgeable and will be able to offer advice to anyone who has a question. The festival is a great idea as we have a lot of good operators in the region and we can all demonstrate our passion for what we do.”

Tavistock Leisure will be joined by a host of pop-up restaurants and stands, including Amore, Liberty Brown, Marco Polo, Sachins, Archers Jersey Ice Cream, Coffee 2U and Premier Catering NE Ltd.

While a bustling theatre kitchen will be taken over by popular foodie faces like Kenny Atkinson of Rockliffe Hall, Stacie Stewart of MasterChef fame and BBC food fanatic and TV presenter Stefan Gates.

Entertainment for children will be provided by a funfair, face painting, ARTventurers, Durham Falconry and SAFC Foundation of Light mini-coaching sessions.

A CAMRA-supported real ale and cider festival will run alongside the main festival with popular ales from around the North East and further afield.

Advance tickets are £5 for adults and children under 16 go free, call 0191 501 7114. A limited number of tickets will be available on the door for £7.

To find out more go to www.deliciousfestival.co.uk