Cooking Academy comes to Aylsham Food Festival

A state-of-the-art mobile cooking academy will be one of the main attractions at this year’s Aylsham Food Festival. Thanks to the generosity of the National Trust, the Academy will be based at Blickling Hall where ten top local chefs will be demonstrating some of their favourite dishes.

The Cooking Academy is on loan from the Festival’s principal sponsor, kitchen equipment manufacturer AEG. It comprises a 40ft trailer which opens out into a kitchen area, equipped with the latest in cookers, fridges and other essentials from the AEG catalogue. Around 30 members of the public can be seated inside the Academy while a large TV screen mounted outside will relay pictures and sound to those outside in a marquee.

The AEG Cooking Academy will be open, with free entry, all day on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October. A free minibus service will be operating between Aylsham Station, the Market Place and Blickling.

Aylsham Food Festival is organised each year by Slow Food Aylsham and Secretary Jill Willis is thrilled to get such a prestigious facility for the chefs. “I’ve worked on a similar vehicle in the past”, she says, “and I know what a fantastic resource it is. To get the AEG Academy here, I think shows how important our Festival has become. And it’s great that, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to offer for free the chance to see top local chefs in action, cooking up their best dishes.”

The Cooking Academy is open to the public from 10.30am to 4.15pm on Friday 4th October and 9.15am to 4.45pm on Saturday 5th October. The line-up of chefs is:


10.30 to 11.15: Steve Thorpe, Head of School, City College Norwich

11.45 to 12.30: Bunty, Liz and The Butler from Blickling Hall

1.00 to 1.45: Derrol Waller, Freelance Chef

2.15 to 3.00: Mark Sayers, Head Chef, The Saracen’s Head, Wolterton

3.30 to 3.45: Richard Baker, Head Chef, The Market Place Bistro, Aylsham


9.15 to 10.00: David Tortice, Head Chef, The Crown, Banningham

10.30 to 11.15 Derrol Waller with Justin Gardner (Catering Manager, Blickling Hall) in a Ready, Steady, Cook format

11.45 to 12.30: Steve Thorpe, Head of School, City College Norwich

1.00 to 1.45: Jason Baxter, Head of Hospitality & Catering faculty, Aylsham High School

2.15 to 3.00: Steve Norgate, Head Chef, The Beechwood, North Walsham

3.15 to 4.00: David Tortice, Head Chef, The Crown, Banningham

4.15 to 4.45: a final opportunity to look round the AEG Mobile Cooking Academy

Food-Fest-logo-2013-with-sponsorsHRAylsham Food Festival, now in its 8th year, runs from 4th to 6th October. As well as the Cooking Academy, it will feature the percussion duo Bang On! who will be holding workshops for all ages on 28th September at Aylsham High School and 5th October in Aylsham Market Place. Aylsham Country Market, the FARMA-accredited Farmers Market, a Gala Dinner, Kids Cooking Workshops and the Big Slow Breakfast will be enticing foodies while there’s more music on the evening of Saturday 5th with Norfolk country music band, Rig-a-Jig-Jig.

The full Aylsham Food Festival 2013 programme is at with printed copies available at Barnwells newsagents and J B Postle in Aylsham Market Place.