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Food & Drink: A Foodie Extravaganza in Newmarket


By Louise Cummings


Savour the fine flavours of East Anglia when Newmarket town centre is transformed into a foodie wonderland, complete with scrumptious fare, delicious drinks, celebrity chef demonstrations, live music and family entertainment. Now in its 5th year, the Newmarket Food & Drink Festival, which attracts around 10,000 visitors, runs September 14-15, taking over Palace Street, Sun Lane and the site of the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art at Palace House.

Showcasing existing and emerging food growers, producers, chefs and musicians, the gourmet ‘Glasto’ also raises money for the local charities supported by the Newmarket Open Weekend (September 21-22). Carte blanche to indulge in an array of decadent treats, all in the name of charity!

For more information visit thehenrycecilopenweekend.co.uk/food-and-drink

Five Minutes with Rosemary Shrager

Rosemary Shrager (14200175)
Rosemary Shrager (14200175)

Making a welcome return to the festival this year, Rosemary Shrager is a talented and versatile chef and cookery teacher, loved for her no-nonsense approach. As well as running her cookery school in Tunbridge Wells, she’s a regular on TV, with appearances on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, The Real Marigold Hotel, and The Big Family Cooking Showdown. . .

You’re obviously very experienced in TV, but do you ever still get nervous presenting live?

I don’t get nervous – I just want to do the best job I can. I used to be very nervous when I started.

What do you enjoy most about appearing at food festivals?

I love meeting the people and exploring the local food on offer.

Stalls at Newmarket Food & Drink Festival (14200152)
Stalls at Newmarket Food & Drink Festival (14200152)

You’ve worked with some amazing chefs including Jean-Christophe Novelli. Who is your favourite?

Pierre Koffmann – he was a chef I felt very privileged to have worked with at the start of my career. He has always been an inspiration to me.

Your cookery school in Tunbridge Wells opened in 2013. What do you love most about teaching?

My greatest joy is to inspire my students by sharing my own passion for food, equipping them with the knowledge of techniques and the confidence to use them to enjoy and experiment with their cooking.

Rosemary Shrager (14200300)
Rosemary Shrager (14200300)

Could you tell us your career highlight?

Working with Pierre Koffman at La Tante Claire which was a 3 Michelin star restaurant at the time.

What did you enjoy most from your time on the TV show, Ladette to Lady experience?

Watching the girls develop into lovely young ladies and seeing their achievement and how much they gained confidence over the time.

What was the most difficult part about being on I’m a Celebrity. . .?

It was the boredom I found most difficult and not having enough food to eat at night.

What’s your go-to quick-cook meal after a long day?

Scrambled eggs on toast.

And your dinner party crowd-pleaser?

My Mediterranean fish casserole.

Can you reveal any guilty pleasure foods that someone of your refined palate might not be expected to like?

Crunchy peanut butter on toast. . . yummy!!

And finally. . . what would choose for your last supper on earth?

Starters: Beautiful crab with a fresh tomato jelly and the most expensive caviar on top

Main: My chicken and potato pie – it’s pure comfort food

Dessert: Apple Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream

Pick Of The Menu

Here’s five unmissable morsels to whet your appetite. . .

Tristan Welch – Chef Director of Parker’s Tavern in Cambridge, Tristan will be topping the bill on the main stage (alongside Rosemary), inspiring hungry onlookers with his live cookery demonstration. A regular on BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen, Tristan has worked alongside Gary Rhodes, Michel Roux Jr and Gordon Ramsay. He spent some time in Paris at the avant-garde, triple Michelin starred vegetarian restaurant L’Arpege and cooked at favourite haunt of the royals, VIPs and celebrities, The Cotton House on the island of Mustique. His first restaurant, Launceston Place, won a clutch of top awards including Best Restaurant in the London TimeOut guide.

Look out for other regional chefs including Sci Daniels, Senior Sous from Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, Newmarket, and Mark Elvin, Head Chef at Barnham Boom Hotel in Norfolk.

Helena Nicklin – Raise a glass to wine guru Helena Nicklin, who’ll be offering top tips on grape and grain – from the best Beaujolais to the finest Viognier - perfect fodder for impressing dinner party pals! An award-winning writer, TV presenter and judge, she recently co-produced and co-presented a global TV series for Amazon Prime called The Three Drinkers do Scotch Whisky. Helena describes herself as a ‘wine and spirits translator’, bridging the gap between fabulously detailed drinks geekery and those who just want the basics in memorable, bite-size chunks. Her goal is to make the wine world more accessible, visual and entertaining. Cheers to that!

Wine guru Helena Nicklin (14200166)
Wine guru Helena Nicklin (14200166)

Hit The Stalls – There’ll be more than 40 food and drink stalls, offering locally grown produce, wines, spirits and beers, international street food, vegan treats, and artisan groceries. Love a G&T? Make a beeline for Archangel Distillery (handcrafted gin) and WhataHoot (hand-distilled Norfolk gin) stalls. Then silence the tummy rumbles with fare from multi-award-winning Brockleby's Pies, Ely Fudge Company, The Handmade Doughnut Company, The Norfolk Cheese Company, and the multi-award-winning Three Counties Field Kitchen – a husband and wife team who use produce from Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. There’ll also be bespoke cookery utensils and equipment, crockery and cooking paraphernalia.

Go Outdoors – The grown-ups can enjoy the alfresco dining area, where there will be a selection of bars selling prosecco, cocktails or beers – including Gentleman Jim's mobile bar, and Suffolk’s Finest Horsebox prosecco bar, The Fizzy Fillies (oh, so Newmarket!). Meanwhile, the little ones can delight in a range of entertainment, including face painting, hair braiding, and garden games.

Live Music – Work off all those indulgent treats with a bop to The Cracklin’ Griffins, who have been belting out party music to thirsty punters from their almost bottomless barrel of Pogues hits and traditional Irish folk songs since 2003. From The Fields Of Athenry to Dirty Old Town, from Whiskey In The Jar to a Fairytale Of New York, they’ve roved from Bristol to Brighton, Surrey to Suffolk, and everywhere in between. They will be joined by a sterling line-up of artists and bands performing from a range of genres on the live music stage.



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