Record attendance for fifth universal cookery & food festival

uniThe universal cookery & food festival 2016 was attended by record numbers of suppliers and chefs this week. The organisers were blown away by the response, as the event continues to grow in popularity year after year. Over 450 chefs and 80 exhibitors were in attendance.

Universal cookery & food festival invites chefs to step out of the kitchen and reconnect with the land to learn about the latest developments in farming, seasonal produce, local sourcing and foraged food. The unique food festival celebrated its fifth year of inspiring chefs on Tuesday 20 September at the new venue of Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire.

Chefs discovered exciting new cooking techniques and trends from the live demonstrations and debate topical issues with an impressive line-up of expert speakers.

In addition, the dynamic programme featured a Laverstoke farm tour, taking in the vineyard, soil lab and the famous Laverstoke Buffalo, hands-on foraging expeditions, game and beekeeping demos, and an inspirational farmer’s market and sponsors’ innovation zone. New for 2016, the Great Taste Market showcased some of the country’s finest, award-winning producers.

Against the incredible backdrop of Laverstoke Park Farm, the 2,500-acre farm that leads the way in biodynamic and organic farming methods in the UK, delegates were able to interact and share ideas and learnings with farmers, foragers and growers, plus suppliers, industry insiders and fellow chefs.

Delegates were treated to a gastronomic feast from Alan Paton, Executive Head Chef at Stoke by Nayland hotel and his team of chefs, and the day was topped off with a band and BBQ evening hosted by Dingley Dell’s Flying Visit Dirty Dozen BBQ Competition in association with “A Passion to Inspire”. Congratulations to Jean Paul

Gauci for winning Grand Pork Chef and to the ‘Patonporkteteers’ for winning the Golden Pig Awards for Flying Visits Champion Team 2016!

Event directors John Feeney, Lee Maycock and Ian Nottage comment: “We are overwhelmed at the response to this year’s universal cookery & food festival at Laverstoke Park Farm. It was perfect venue for us, as the farm pretty much ticks all the values around the festival tree logo. The bi-dynamic and organic ethos around how they farm with respect for the soil, animals and environment is amazing and yields fantastic results. Thank you to Jody Scheckter and all the team at Laverstoke for helping us make it happen.

“Five years on, the universal cookery & food festival vision is an incredible, ever-growing success, and a highlight of the chef calendar. Chefs value the opportunity connect with where the ingredients they work with come from, and also with each other. Our fantastic programme of speakers, farm and foraging tours, and markets meant our festival goers were spoilt for choice as to what to see and do on the day. We’re already planning for 2017 – Padstow here we come!”

The universal cookery & food festival 2017 will take place in Padstow on Wednesday 20 September. Please visit for more information.