Seaham Food Festival will makes its welcome return to the coast on Saturday 7 and Sunday, 8 August following the coronavirus pandemic, with food fans able to look forward to tasty treats from around 100 traders and producers, mouth-watering demonstrations from famous faces in the cookery world and fun for all the family to get involved in.
The free festival is a key part of Durham County Council’s festival and events programme, reflecting the local authority’s commitment to cultural-led regeneration. As well as bringing communities together, festivals will play a vital role in the region’s economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
More than 15,000 people attended the festival in 2019, with the increased footfall supporting the recovery of local businesses, especially in the hospitality and retail sector, which has been hit hard over the last year.
Cooking stalwart Rosemary will headline the festival on the Saturday. Rosemary endeared herself to the nation when she took part in ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ where she proved she could cook anything, anywhere. She has also helped to keep families entertained during lockdown, live-streaming cookery demonstrations to encourage more creativity in the kitchen. More recently, Rosemary has appeared as a fantastic judge in Netflix’s ‘Best Leftovers Ever’ and she also worked with the council on its virtual Durham Festival of Food and Drink in the run up to Christmas to support local traders.
Rosemary said: “I am delighted to be spending time on the County Durham coast this summer. It has been such a difficult year for everyone so I cannot wait to visit Seaham Food Festival and take part in some cookery demonstrations with the visitors.
“It’s also really exciting to see what the local traders and producers have on offer and to be out and about enjoying fresh fare and fine flavours from all over.”
Also joining the festival on both days is County Durham’s very own Masterchef semi-finalist Mike Bartley, from Bishop Auckland. It was a visit to Bishop Auckland Food Festival that actually inspired Mike to get involved in Masterchef 2021 and now, the 35-year-old hopes to make a career out of cooking as a result.
After appearing on the popular programme, Mike set up a food blog – Djam Kitchen – where he shares his passion about using local produce and foraged ingredients in recipes.
“I am so excited to be cooking for the people of County Durham at Seaham Food Festival,” said Mike. “It’s incredible to think that just two years ago, a visit to Bishop Auckland Food Festival gave me the courage to apply for Masterchef, and now I’m one of the chefs taking part. It’s a real honour.
“Hopefully, visiting Seaham Food Festival will also help to inspire some more future chefs and I’m really looking forward to being able to speak to people and hopefully encourage them towards using local produce in their own meals.”
In addition to the traders and cookery demonstrations, there will be children’s activities, street theatre and live music. The events will also be spread out to help keep people safe and encourage social distancing.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are thrilled that Seaham Food Festival is able to return this year and look forward to welcoming visitors to the coast once again in August. Festivals will play a crucial role in the county’s recovery from coronavirus and support many businesses which have struggled as a result of the pandemic.
“Work is already taking place to help spread the events out and ensure visitors feel confident and secure in attending and I am sure people will be looking ahead to make the most of a summer spent closer to home. We also hope the festival encourages people from slightly further afield to return to County Durham again and again throughout the year, to discover what else our county has to offer.”
To find out more about the festival and to stay up to date with the latest news, sign up to our newsletter here or follow @SeahamFoodFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.