The heat is on as beauties battle it out in the kitchen

Miss Northumberland Laura Hickey and chef Juan Iniesta.
Miss Northumberland Laura Hickey and chef Juan Iniesta.

A SPECIAL guest will be making an appearance at this year’s Alnwick Food Festival.

The very first Miss Northumberland, Laura Hickey, will be officially opening the event - and Alnwick Beer Festival - on Saturday, September 24.

The 21-year-old was crowned the face of the county in June after winning the first competition of its kind in the county.

Laura is studying for a degree at Leeds Met University and she represented the county at the Miss England finals in July which she described as a fantastic experience.

She said: “Being crowned Miss Northumberland has given me the fantastic opportunity to be involved with the Alnwick food and beer festivals this year.

“I have been to and enjoyed the festival most years I could and loved all the local produce.

“I’m sure this year will be just as brilliant.

“Not only will I be proudly opening the festival but there will also be a cook-off between myself and Miss Sunderland (of course with help from professionals!).

“Having the chance to celebrate and discover new things sourced from Northumberland is a great platform for the local community and it gives traders a chance to make people more aware of what is on offer.

“Rather than popping to the big supermarket, who wouldn’t rather go and support a local shop, butcher or ice cream parlour at the food festival and have a great day out doing so!”

Laura will be taking part in a cook-off with Miss Sunderland, Philippa Attle in the Northumberland Hall on Sunday, September 24.

Philippa was given the Sunderland crown in May after fighting off stiff competition from 29 other girls.

She is delighted to be invited to be part of the Alnwick Food Festival and is relishing the challenge of another competition with Miss Northumberland.

Karen Larkin, food festival director, said: “‘I am delighted that Miss Northumberland is able to open the food festival this year and I think it will be great to have a bit of healthy competition between Laura and Miss Sunderland in the kitchen on Sunday.

“It is great to be able to include both of this year’s winners in the food festival and I hope they both have their wooden spoons and spatulas at the ready.”

Laura will be cooking with Juan Iniesta, head chef at Blackmore’s of Alnwick while Philippa will be accompanied by Sean Wilson, the actor who played Martin Platt in Coronation Street and now runs Saddleworth Cheese Company.

Simon Robertson, managing director of One Voice Productions and Glamrus Model Agency will be compering the weekend’s activities.

Throughout his career Simon has worked in a number of areas within the industry from presenting live game shows on Sky, recording voice-overs, to hosting some of the biggest events in the UK for the likes of Nintendo, The Princes Trust, Mencap and Ernst & Young.

He said: “I am delighted to be involved in this years festival and hosting the competition between Miss Northumberland and Miss Sunderland.”

For more information visit www.alnwickfoodfestival.co.uk