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Foodie Fans – it’s time to save the date 28th - 30th September as the Solihull Food and Drink Festival returns for the 8th year!

This year’s food festival will be the biggest and best one yet, with not just one, but three famous faces in our demo kitchen. Last year we saw Dave Myers from the Hairy Bikers show us how to cook the best fish and chips, and this year we wanted to offer you more. There will be demonstrations from the award-winning celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, Eat Well for Less? and Britain’s Best Home Cook judge Chris Bavin and Great British Bake Off’s much loved Selasi Gbormittah. With Itailian and Indian dishes being so popular in the UK we have also got demonstrations from Italian chef Felice Tocchini and Indian chef Mani Malhi.

Our demo kitchen will be accompanied by over 60 continental food stalls and bars, children’s entertainment including Solihull’s favourite Mr Bubble, food tasters, the most loved voucher booklets for Solihull venues and the all new evening area with funky street food and bands on until later in the evening on Friday and Saturday.

After a successful launch last year, The BIG Ale Trail is also back for the second year running. Purchase your branded Ale Trail glass and enjoy a swig of Solihull’s selected local bars' finest tipples.

Tingle your taste buds with flavours from all over the globe on the high street, get tips from the best in the business, take part in the The BIG Ale Trail, enjoy evening live music and experience Solihull’s finest flavours for months after the event with your voucher booklet. Best of all the event is FREE to attend!

Look out for more information and how to purchase tickets for selected demos in the demo kitchen and The BIG Ale Trail at www.solihullbid.co.uk. See you there!

Special Guests

Jean-Christophe Novelli
Jean-Christophe Novelli is a 5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award winning chef, who is also dubbed “the nations favourite French chef”.

He began his exciting career at the tender age of 14 as a baker in his home town of Arras, Northern France, before becoming the private Head Chef to Elie de Rothschild at the age of 19.

Jean-Christophe’s life changed completely when he arrived in Great Britain in 1983. He spent a year taking care of Keith Floyd’s pub, ‘The Maltsters’, as Head Chef, whilst Keith was filming his famous TV shows. In 1996, Jean-Christophe then opened four restaurants in London, and so began the foundations for his internationally based mini empire. What is so surprising is that he only had £500 in his pocket to start this solo venture.

To launch the festival there will be a gala dinner with Jean-Christophe Novelli* at Crowne Plaza Solihull. He will also be in the demo kitchen in Mell Square on Saturday, 29th September 2018. Information on booking tickets will be released soon.

*The gala dinner is a ticketed event with limited tickets available

Chris Bavin

Chris Bavin is so full of character he was born to be on TV. After a TV production company first stumbled across him in 2011 he has gone from strength to strength and is co-presenter of BBC1’s hugely successful series Eat Well For Less? with Gregg Wallace. The show has had incredible ratings and the accompanying book is a best seller.

In addition to Eat Well for Less?, Chris has presented Tomorrow’s Food with Dara O’Briain, The Truth about Meat, and he is co-presenter of BBC1’s returning series Food: Truth or Scare with Gloria Hunniford. In 2018, Chris has presented BBC2’s series Britain in Bloom. He was also a co-judge on BBC1's new prime time competition series Britain's Best Cook with Mary Berry, chef Dan Doherty and presented by Claudia Winkleman.

Chris is the co-founder of ‘The Naked Grocer’, a retail business that was twice voted ‘National Independent Retailer of the Year’, as well as receiving ‘Best Contribution to the Community’ award.

He is passionate about educating and raising awareness in children of where food comes from and encouraging them to learn how to increase their consumption of fruit and veg. One of his ambitions is to teach others how eating healthily can be cheap and easy to achieve.

See Chris Bavin in the demo kitchen in Mell Square. Information on booking tickets will be released soon.

Selasi Gbormittah

Ghanaian Selasi comes from a culture where food plays a huge part in the community and as a child he enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with his family who taught him the basics of cooking and baking. They never worried too much if he disappeared as they always knew he would be found in the kitchen buried in a pot with ingredients all over the place!

Based in London for the last 16 years, his love of cooking continues to be a theme in his life – he regularly hosts friends and family and is a self-professed feeder. For him as for so many others, food and food preparation is a medium for bringing people together.

The Great British Bake Off 2016 introduced this charming laid back, banking, biking, baker to the Great British Public and to new friends. The journey starts here.

See Selasi in the demo kitchen in Mell Square on Sunday, 30th September 2018. Information on booking tickets will be released soon.

Felice Tocchini

Born in Tuscany, Felice got his first job in catering at the age of six. His parents took on a village bar and it was Felice’s job to make coffee which he loved.

In the 90s, Felice created the “Pasta Club” which took on a life of its own attracting some 1000 members. Felice now owns two award-winning restaurants in Worcestershire – Fusion Brasserie and Fusion too. He specialises in using fresh, local produce to create delicious food with an Italian twist.

He is passionate about local produce and spends much of his time working with growers and producers as well as schools and colleges to help promote Worcestershire food and drink.

His main love is developing recipes and any food challenges thrown at him. At present he is working at the acclaimed “Novelli Academy” one of the top 25 best cookery schools in the World alongside Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, with Scott’s Farm (sweet potato growers) creating recipes to encourage people to eat more of this unknown vegetable and Eckington Manor Cookery school plus cookery shows nationwide.

He has appeared on numerous TV programmes including The One Show, Countryfile, The Gadget Show as well as in the media worldwide for his innovative creations such as Sprout Cake (a concept to encourage children to enjoy these much-maligned vegetables) and the Worcester Dunker – a biscuit designed to hold its own when dipped in tea… or champagne.

See Felice in the demo kitchen in Mell Square on Sunday, 30th September 2018.

Manju Malhi

Drawing on her past and combining it with the realities of urban Western life, Manju has come up with her own unique style of Indian home food. She won the BBC's Food and Drink competition and has cooked with Antony Worrall Thompson on BBC2.

Manju's Simply Indian series was aired on the Taste Network. Her foray into the world of the gogglebox has also taken her to Delhi for a forty-part series entitled Cooking Isn't Rocket Science for one of India's leading broadcasters NDTV, where she was preparing British cuisine for India - a reverse of what she is generally known for in the UK.

Manju has published a number of books including Brit Spice, India with Passion and Easy Indian Cookbook which she hopes will encourage more and more people to experiment with preparing food.

Manju will demonstrate several authentic Indian dishes using a selection of spices such as cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and chilli powder. As long as you have five spices to hand in your kitchen cupboard, you're on your way to making mouthwatering meals within minutes.

See Manju in the demo kitchen in Mell Square on Friday, 28th September 2018.

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