Get set for woking's free 'feastival' for all of the family!

18 August 2014

The table is set for the second Woking Food and Drink Festival, from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 September 2014, which will be bursting with mouth-watering stalls and free activities for all of the family.

Last year’s Festival attracted in excess of 20,000 visitors. This year's will be bigger and better with the Festival’s footprint stretching across the pedestrian areas in Jubilee Square, Market Walk, Commercial Way, Mercia Walk, Gloucester Walk and culminating in a Fairtrade Food and Family Quarter at The Lightbox and WWF-UK's the Living Planet Centre.

Festival highlights will include: an assortment of over 60 high quality food and drink stalls, live culinary demonstrations from prestigious TV and local chefs in the Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre, BBQ demonstrations, a Fairtrade Food and Family Quarter, hands-on cookery workshops for children, a Bake Off competition judged by Great British Bake Off 2013 winner, Frances Quinn, and topped off with a healthy portion of live entertainment.

The three-day celebration of fine food and drink aims to showcase the very best of the area’s producers, chefs and restaurants, as well as attracting a range of regional producers to the town. Producers and retailers selling cuisines from the UK and all over the world will be offering delicious taster samples and the opportunity to purchase their produce and freshly cooked dishes.  

Whether you are a cookery beginner, improver or foodie fanatic, visitors to the Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre will be able to watch the ‘cream of the crop’ deliver live gourmet demonstrations in the purpose-built, professional cookery marquee. Each day, there will be master-classes where you can learn top tips from the experts.  

Topping the Theatre’s bill will be demonstrations by TV chefs Frances Quinn, Great British Bake Off 2013 winner, Jack Stein, Executive Chef for Stein Restaurants in Padstow and son of TV great Rick Stein, Sabrina Ghayour, best-selling author of cook-book ‘Persiana’, locally trained Neil Rankin, Great British Menu 2014 contestant and rising star, and Mark Lloyd, former Head Chef at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage.

Showcasing the local area’s strong culinary credentials will be live demos from a range of prominent chefs and restaurant owners – all based within a five-mile radius of the Town Centre. Confirmed demo chefs will be:

  • Steve Drake – Former Roux Scholarship winner and owner of Drakes in Ripley; a Michelin Star rated restaurant.
  • Fernando Stovell – Featured chef on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen and owner of Stovell’s restaurant in Chobham.
  • Ben Piette – MasterChef 2010 semi-finalist and owner of London House restaurant in Old Woking.
  • Mourad Khiat – Head Pastry Chef at the 5* Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, London and owner of MK Pastry Arts, Woking.
  • Thierry de Magneval – Former Sommelier and restaurateur at the Berkeley Hotel, Roux Brassiere, Roux at Parliament Square, La Gavroche and Chief Sommelier and owner of Cellar Magneval in Woking.
  • Tante Marie Culinary Academy instructors – The oldest independent cookery school in the UK which has been based in the Borough for the last 60 years and it recently revealed exciting new plans for a new state-of-the-art cooking school and training restaurant in the town centre, opening Spring 2015.
  • Woking Advertiser’s Curry Chef of the Year 2014 – The winner will be announced at the end of August.

Speaking about her appearance at the forthcoming Festival, Frances Quinn, Great British Bake Off 2013 winner, said: “I'm really looking forward to taking part in this year’s Woking Food and Drink Festival. I'm excited to be demonstrating some special recipes, alongside a line up of great local chefs."  

Adding some extra sizzle to the Woking Food and Drink Festival will be the Broil King BBQ Demonstration Stage, located in Gloucester Square and presented by chef Richard Fox. If you thought BBQ fayre was the sole domain of the burger and sausage, then think again as expert chefs inspire, entertain and inform you. You can learn how to wow friends and family with simple and tasty dishes, including Yorkshire puddings, roast garlic flatbread and even chocolate orange pudding – all cooked on the BBQ!

New to the Festival this year, will be the Fairtrade Food and Family Quarter to be hosted dually by The Lightbox and WWF-UK’s Living Planet Centre, which are located just a few minutes walk from Jubilee Square on either side of the Basingstoke Canal and linked by the new Bedser Bridge.

Visitors to The Lightbox gallery and museum can get involved in a range of free activities, including visiting the fun and interactive children’s cookery workshops and the ‘Giant Electronic Art Show’ exhibition.

On arrival, festival goers will be greeted by a colourful selection of Fairtrade stalls selling tasty local, organic and Fairtrade treats; all in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Fairtrade mark. Also, WoLF, Woking Local Food Directory, will be at The Lightbox to launch its new online directory of retailers and eateries including around 40 local organisations that sell or produce items with some sort of ‘local’ element. For more information, visit

The free children’s cookery workshops, held in The Lightbox’s Education Suite (on the first floor), will be open to children of all ages and must be pre-booked.

The workshops give foodies of the future the chance to discover where their food comes from and how to combine basic ingredients to create delicious and healthy items, which they can take home to share with all the family. Also included in this year’s timetable are Kid’s Food Laboratory workshops; experiments include creating edible slime, mixing fizzy cocktails and creating milk kaleidoscopes!

The Lightbox will be open during normal opening hours and the children’s workshops will run on all three days (Friday to Sunday) from 11.30am to 3.30pm. Find out how to pre-book the children's workshops here.

Opening on Saturday 6 September between 10am and 4pm, WWF-UK’s Living Planet Centre will be taken over with exhibitions and family hands-on activities exploring healthy, sustainable living, which are not only healthy but look after the planet too. With stalls including WWF-UK’s LiveWell team and Woking Fairtrade, visitors can look at where food comes from, what they should eat more of, and how to limit food waste.

There will also be a short film offering hints and tips to inspire people to make new choices. To sign up for the free family activities at the Living Planet Centre, visit

Adding some extra flavour to the Festival will be live acoustic music, kindly provided by Phoenix Cultural Centre, to entertain visitors as they sample Woking’s gastronomic delights. Special offers will also be up for grabs for retail outlets within Peacocks and Wolsey Place Shopping Centres.

For local bakers looking for a challenge to rise to, why not enter the Festival’s free Bake Off competition taking place on Sunday 7 September. The competition will be judged by Great British Bake Off 2013 winner, Frances Quinn. More details about the Bake Off competition will be published soon.

Cllr Gary Elson, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Promoting the Local Economy, said: “Woking is fast becoming an alternative foodies destination with the second Woking Food and Drink Festival, the opening of Market Walk and the recent announcements about new restaurants locating to the town, including the state-of-the-art Tante Marie Culinary Academy in Commercial Way earlier next year.

“Like all previous Celebrate Woking events, we aim to host free, engaging events for all of the family, which will attract returning and new visitors to the town. I am looking forward to tasting the quality products and dishes on sale, and seeing some of the best local chefs demonstrate their skills and expertise in the Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre.”

This year’s Woking Food and Drink Festival is delivered in partnership by Celebrate Woking and Woking Shopping, and kindly sponsored by Tante Marie Culinary Academy, Balfour Beatty, Woking Advertiser, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Mayer Brown.

For full details about this year’s Woking Food and Drink Festival, visit or follow on Twitter at @WokingFoodFest.