Craft Guild of Chefs launches Universal Cookery & Food Festival

23/02/2012 00:00:00
The Craft Guild of Chefs is planning to bring everyone from chefs and caterers to farmers and growers together with the launch of its first Universal Cookery & Food Festival.

The study tour-cum-day trip takes place on Wednesday, September 12, from 7am until 7pm at Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey – a venue that offers everything to provide a taste of an 'outdoor larder' and opportunities to enhance culinary knowledge and skills. Ever since the Food Development Association (FDA) merged with the Craft Guild in 2009, there has been a growing aspiration to explore in depth the thinking and the development behind food and culinary techniques, and that one way is to look at natural home grown resources. Driving the initiative are Craft Guild committee members Lee Maycock, John Feeney and Ian Nottage. "John had been keen to do a conference," said Maycock. "However we looked at what chefs would really want to see at the moment and, rather than a stuffy conference, we've gone for a wild food study trip." Very much an outdoor event – wellies are a good idea, he added. Plans include staging foraging tours, workshops and even a suppliers/farmers market to give those who attend an insight into what can be achieved from local and regional produce to deliver great food solutions. The programme includes a chance to forage for edible plants and fruit from wild mushrooms, garlic and herbs to berries of every description to sample and experiment with satellite cooking stations. A visit to a vineyard is planned where experts will be on hand to show grape varietals and explain the science behind crop management. At a trout lake the on site team will help net fresh crayfish and trout, which will be cooked off and served as tasters, and local apiarists will be showing how honey is produced by Painshill's bees and providing everyone with a chance to taste it. Workshops will focus on all elements of the food chain from field to plate – from celebrating the harvest festival and seasonality to a 'meet the grower' session to share knowledge and latest farming know how. Maycock will showcase skills such as hanging, skinning and butchery of British deer and game in a 'feather and fur' demo. A flavour house will demonstrate sensory science skills and talk about food, fashion and fragrance trends, while a futuristic kitchen will look at how science is helping to move boundaries. Maycock said the event was not just for Craft Guild members, although members do receive a discount. The price for the day is £199 for non members and £145 for Craft Guild members plus VAT. "It's early days, but we see this as the beginning of something big – even possibly to a retail and consumer level," he said. • For further details, visit or call 01293 851869 or 0208 948 3870

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