Chefs on stage at May Farmers’ Market

Following the launch of the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2012 on 7th April, the first Heat of the Local Food Challenge will be taking place at the Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market on Saturday 5th May, 2012.

The Local Food Challenge has been designed to give chefs, below head chef status, the opportunity to show off their skills and knowledge of local produce and ingredients, the seasons, the producers and the tastes and recipes inspired by their surroundings. It also allows local restaurants and their chefs to promote themselves widely.

This popular first heat will see two local chefs, demonstrate their passion and skill with locally produced food and drink. They will be tasked with producing two dishes to be cooked in the fully equipped mobile cookery theatre on site using ingredients which they have chosen from the 45+ producers on the day. Each chef will be given £40 to spend with a shopping basket when they arrive that morning. Store cupboard ingredients will be provided; four pre-prepared items may be used in each heat. All of this will be in full view of the public and “foodie lovers” at the Farmers’ Market.

Now in its second year, the Local Food Challenge is one of the highlights of the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival (  to be held on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September in the historic courtyard at Holkham Hall. This flagship event forms a major part of the county-wide Norfolk Food and Drink Festival taking place throughout September. Over 8,500 visitors attended the event last year and 65 stall stallholders are expected to gather at Holkham Hall in 2012 to celebrate the very best of Norfolk’s locally produced food and drink.

Mary Kemp, local food supremo, will host the competition which will be judged by distinguished local and national food enthusiasts.  “The Local Food Challenge offers chefs a prestigious platform to showcase their talent and imaginations with locally sourced produce and they will be judged for their skills in the kitchen, presentation and the taste of their dishes” said Mary.

The two chefs cooking on Saturday 5th May at Creake Abbey will be Andrew Chapman from award-winning Strattons Hotel at Swaffham, and Craig Wadsworth, sous chef from the renowned Hunny Bell at Hunworth. One chef will follow another with market goers able to watch the proceedings. Cooking will begin at 10am and each chef will have an hour to prepare, cook and present two dishes. Ingredients will be chosen from the market on the morning of the competition which brings chefs and local producers together a central aim of the challenge.

The chefs are on stage from 10am.  Please come and watch!