“Have we got some great exhibitors for our Festival Friends to see this year!” says Julian Thompson, Festival Exhibitor Manager.

If you’re looking for local, and vegan, look no further than the talented Hannah, who runs Sweet Pea’s; Hannah is from Nantwich and makes amazing vegan cakes – you can find her in the Mornflake Pavilion.
From a little further afield in Derbyshire, but still exclusively vegan is award-winning Vork Pie, established in 2014 by Sophie; their pies are made without palm oil or preservatives, and come wrapped up in home compostable packaging.

Returning to Cheshire, and hailing from Sandbach is the multi award-winning, but more mainstream Cheshire Pie Company, which won a whole host of awards in the British Pie Awards 2021; both they and Vork Pie can be found in the town centre, which is sponsored by Boughey.

Paul and Gaynor followed their dream back in 2014 to become chocolatiers, and set up Sticky Chocolate Ltd, which offers a huge range of chocolaty fudge loveliness. They are in the Love Lane marquee, sponsored by Applewood Independent and Hall Smith Whittingham.
However the Festival showcases non-food items too; locals will have seen ArtySally’s Quirky Animal Art at previous Nantwich events as Sally is a local. Her art is instantly recognisable and very collectable.

To complete our whistle-stop tour of local (and almost local) businesses, we couldn’t miss out Hurst View Traditional Cider from just along the road in Staffordshire.
Nick and Sue have been running this small craft cider-making business since 2011, and can be found in the Love Lane marquee.
By the time that all the pitches are booked we expect around 200 more exhibitors over the Festival weekend, so make sure that you keep the Festival weekend free – September 2nd-4th.

Nantwich Foodies who eagerly await the chef demonstration schedule will be delighted to hear from Linda Martin, the Festival’s chef organiser that the Festival now has two more celebrity chefs to join Sean Wilson and Rosemary Shrager, plus to hear that in breaking news, both Sean and Rosemary have books out in time for this year’s Festival. Sean’s ‘Cheddar Gorged’ goes on sale on 10th October, but can be pre-ordered.
Rosemary, however, will be doing a book launch of her debut novel, The Last Supper, at Nantwich Bookshop on Festival Friday teatime, so do make sure you turn up.
Our third celebrity chef is the amazing and talented Dean Edwards.

Linda tells us:

“Since 2010 Dean Edwards’ family friendly cooking style has made him a firm favourite on ITV’s ‘Lorraine’, where he can now be found opposite Lorraine Kelly once a week; his friendly persona has made him a huge favourite to millions of viewers weekly.
After bursting onto the chef circuit – coming second in BBC’s MasterChef Goes Large in 2006 – he sought to change his life radically. Dean left his day job to pursue his love of cooking and food.
Dean’s ethos on food is that it should be achievable, simple and above all taste fantastic. “Food doesn’t have to be complicated,” he says. His passion for food is infectious and he loves inspiring home cooks to get back into the kitchen and enjoy the cooking experience.
Linda continues “Dean is the author of four cookbooks and has also amassed a huge social media presence with over 300k followers across all platforms.”
Linda finishes, saying “The good news doesn’t finish there as we also have the talented Nigel Brown as the Civic Hall Demonstration Kitchen Compere, in addition to being a celebrity chef in his own right.

Having spent a lifetime in the hotel and catering industry, Yorkshire born and bred Nigel has worked at some of the UK’s biggest and busiest hotels.

He also spent time overseas at the highly acclaimed French cookery school Ecole Le Notre where he picked up a wealth of experience and knowledge in areas of specialist patisserie work.
2022 has already been a busy year for Nigel, and that’s before he spends his time in Nantwich:
He completed a historical food segment of filming for BBC1’s popular series The Antiques Roadtrip, due to be aired in Autumn 2022. During this year’s Royal Jubilee weekend Nigel hosted and presented a Q&A with the cookery legend Raymond Blanc OBE at Blenheim Palace in front of a packed foodie audience of around 1000 guests.
Nigel is also currently working on his second cookbook publication, and somehow he’s finding the time to work on opening his second cookery school in the UK in collaboration with a top TV celebrity/personality friend of his so watch this space as they say!
Finally, something new for 2023 … Nigel will be launching cookery school villa holiday experiences in La Rochelle, France.

We all thought that was it on the celebrity chef listings, but in breaking news we hear that James Sherwin will join us for one great demo slot. Foodies will know James to be an experimental chef, a keen forager, and owner of Wild Shropshire restaurant – we can’t wait to see what he demonstrates.
All of these celebrity chefs will demonstrate their unique cooking skills in the Civic Hall Food Theatre, courtesy of the Festival’s main supporter, Nantwich Town Council, plus as you have come to expect from Nantwich Food Festival, admission is free!

Finally, in the Civic Hall, Nick Birchall of Nantwich’s own Cheese Shop will also be demonstrating. Looks that it will be a busy weekend!
The Festival has not one but 2 Demonstration Kitchens, and Karen Young has been busy with booking local chefs for the Love Lane Food Theatre.
This year it is sponsored by Reaseheath College; Reaseheath, as local people know, is celebrating an amazing 100 years since it was established. The Festival organisers are delighted to welcome Reaseheath as a Silver Sponsor.
Festival visitors will also be able to see the college chefs demonstrating their cooking skills and to visit them in their town centre stall. Reaseheath will be wowing us with sausage-making, cake decorating plus we can expect some dishes using their wonderful cheeses.

Karen has arranged a great line-up of local chefs at Love Lane including Stuart Collins (Great British Menu and Docket 33 in Whitchurch) and Spiro from the lovely St Martha’s Greek Taverna in Nantwich. Add to that the irrepressible Oli Mannion (semi finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook), one of the great chefs from The Yew Tree, Bunbury, and chef Jack from the White Lion in Hankelow.

We are delighted to welcome Executive Chef Elliot Hill of The Grosvenor Hotel Chester, and finally Lizzie Acker from Liverpool, who took our hearts with her talent and huge personality in the 2021 Great British Bake Off.
Turning to the eagerly-anticipated Friday night entertainment, Karen has done herself proud with this too, as this year we have the wonderful people from Circus in a Box performing their amazing tricks on stilts, and with fire breathing – not to be missed. Add to that, gigantic bubbles, balloon modelling plus the talented Jelly Roll Jazz Band, and finally Studio S dance troupe, so we can see a great time will be had by all.

Many town businesses will stay open later than usual, and in addition to the Festival eateries, there will be our favourite bars and restaurants to keep us fed until Festival Friday closes at 8pm.

Continuing the entertainment theme, the two live music stages are sponsored by Snugbury’s at Love Lane, and by The Hearing Centre for the Bowling Green music stage; the Festival organisers thank them sincerely for their sponsorship and are very pleased to welcome both of these local businesses as Silver Sponsors.

Gary Johnson tells us that he has organised a great programme of live music throughout the Festival weekend to entertain visitors; he is delighted to welcome back Festival favourites, Megan Lee, Oli Ng, Callum J Wright and the hugely entertaining Ukulele band , Rebuked.

For the first time we will have the Baker Street Belles and the brilliant Nicci Jane Hicks plus the Gospel Truth Soul Band.

Nantwich Food Festival is always keen to promote emerging local talent, so are pleased to welcome Faye McCallum, Henry Myles, Emillie Jasmine and Kelly (Tigerheart) Phillips. Add to this the wonderful local pianist Andrea Lambelle and choirs from Brine Leas and St Thomas More schools plus many more, meaning we will be spoilt for choice!

All Festival news, how to vote for Nantwich Food Awards, and much more can be found in the website nantwichfoodfestival.co.uk