01/10/2012.......Thousands hit Thame for epicurean extravaganza -
LOCALS and visitors from far and wide flocked into Thame on Saturday (Sept 29), where the fifth Thame Food Festival broke all records on a beautiful, autumn sunny day, drawing together the most bountiful of both the people's spirits and the best regional produce.
The smiling faces were testament to the ethos, passion, quality and dedication that goes into this event and how it has been built up over the past five years by the festival team. “We couldn’t have hoped for better,” said festival administrator, Alison Isherwood. “Each year is a real step forward and it is wonderful to see all the food producers, chefs and visitors coming to our beautiful town.”
An estimated 20,000 visitors thronged to the event where the closure of all roads in the centre of the town for the first time, and a vastly expanded area for the 100 plus stallholders, itself a festival record, attracted an amazing line-up of events, exhibitors and celebrity chefs.
Raymond Blanc, Festival Ambassador, was there all day signing books and performing in the chef demo theatre with Kush from The Very Hungry Frenchman. Crowds gathered to watch and enjoy all the antics on stage from them and other local celebrity chefs with a highlight cook off at the end of the day between Aylesbury College and The Raymond Blanc Cookery School from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Steve Love and Ian Craddock from headline sponsors, McCormick UK, demonstrated using a wealth of ingredients and the whole day was compered by comedian Chef, Jams Davies.
The Cookery Theatre line-up also fatured:
Beverley Glock: Splat Cooking, Laurie Gear of The Artichoke, Amersham; Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House;
the food festival's Patron and local distination cafe owner and star of the Food Channel, Lotte Duncan; Marcus Bean; Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi; Nigel Rumsey of Rumsey's Chocolaterie in Thame and Mark & Adam from The Raymond Blanc Cookery School v Hardings Restaurant.
“I wobbled home on my bike laden with goodies”; “I did a 280 mile round trip to come along to this fantastic event”; “last year broke all records for all the food festivals but this year has even broken that”, were but a smattering of quotes from festival-goers and stallholders alike.
The festival featured a Pop-up Pub run by Frazer Sutherland of The Thatch and James Figg free house in Thame, ‘Sausage Making’ run by The Thatch kitchen team, a talk on Artisan Ales and Wine Tasting for Beginners in The Stables of the James Figg by Susanna Forbes of DrinkBritain.com and a host of offerings for children, including Rumsey’s chocolate lollipop making, a smoothie bike, and Whizz Bang Foods from Splat Cookery.
"Thame Food Festival is set to grow and grow and is really helping to put Thame truly on the map!" Festival organiser and promotor, Sally Dorling of Marketing Foods.
“Thanks once again must go to our fantastic sponsors, headline sponsor McCormick UK, South Oxfordshire District Council, Rectory Homes, Aga, Sainsbury’s and The Thatch and The James Figg free house,” concluded Alison Isherwood.