Top chefs head for Taste of Grampian

Pictured (from left) are: Taste of Grampian chairman Brian Pack, Marcliffe Hotel and Spa executive chef Mike Stoddart, and head of economic development for Aberdeenshire Council Belinda Miller.
Pictured (from left) are: Taste of Grampian chairman Brian Pack, Marcliffe Hotel and Spa executive chef Mike Stoddart, and head of economic development for Aberdeenshire Council Belinda Miller.

One of Britain’s most popular celebrity chefs and a new sensation in the world of cooking will be appearing at the annual showcase for the food and drink sector in the North-east.

Phil Vickery and Ed Baines will be displaying their culinary talents at The Taste of Grampian, being held at Inverurie’s Thainstone Centre on Saturday, June 2.

Mr Vickery, the resident chef on ITV’s This Morning, is a firm favourite with Taste of Grampian’s thousands of visitors and will be making his fourth appearance.

Mr Baines is the chef and co-owner of Randall & Aubin champagne and oyster bar in London’s Soho. He is one of the judges on ITV’s popular Britain’s Best Dish. It is his Taste of Grampian debut.

The pair will celebrate Grampian’s rich and diverse food and drink larder – reckoned by many to be the finest in the world.

They will each be giving their own cookery demonstrations and will round off the event with the now traditional cookery duel.

Taste of Grampian steering committee chairman Brian Pack revealed the celebrity chefs as he launched this year’s showcase to the sector at the Grampian Food Forum’s dining club meeting in the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen on February 6.

Mr Pack said: “We have come a long way since we started the Taste of Grampian in 2000. Every year we have made improvements and this year is no different. We’ve listened again to the feedback and refined the day to give everyone from the food and drink firms taking part to our many visitors another day out to remember.”

Mr Pack said the North-east remained fortunate to be bucking national economic trends. Food and drink firms needed to fully exploit that and to do so they needed to be at the showcase.

His call for companies to exhibit their wares was backed by Belinda Miller, the head of economic development with Aberdeenshire Council.

She said: “The event focuses on telling consumers about the richness and diversity of the North-east’s larder and has become an important occasion for local businesses, many of whom now use it as the launchpad for their innovative new products. So put the date in your diary so you can find out yourself how great our local food really is.”

New innovations at Taste of Grampian in 2012 include a food court in the Thainstone Exchange run by Highland Cuisine. Visitors will also be able to visit a farmyard and speak to the farmers who supply local stores.

And for those wanting to try their hand at growing their own food, then sponsor Keenan Recycling will be providing compost in which herbs and vegetables can be grown. It too will be passing on tips to consumers on how they can collect their food waste and send it to be recycled to be made into compost.

There will be a chocolate workshop run by local firm Cocoa Ooze. There is a Stephen Seedhouse flower workshop for those interested in floral art. Taste of Grampian will also be showing visitors how to cook the finest steaks and there will be butchery demonstrations.

The Two Fat Laddies – chefs Sandy Greig and Robert Bruce – are returning to give their humorous shows. Wine tasting will again be available courtesy of Neish Wines. There is a craft fair, farmers’ market and children’s fun educational marquee.

Food and drink businesses from the rest of Scotland will be showcasing their wares in a visitors’ marquee. Local schools will again be competing at the event.

Mr Pack expressed gratitude to Taste of Grampian’s sponsors and all the businesses who continue to take part.