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Craft Guild of Chefs reveals speaker line-up for UCFF

The Craft Guild of Chefs has announced the official speakers for its 8th Universal Cookery & Food Festival (UCFF). The unique annual event will take place at Bottom Farm, home to Farrington Oils in Northamptonshire, on Tuesday 25 June 2019.

UCFF is designed by chefs for chefs, and fast becoming the most popular professional food festival in the UK.

Established in 2012, it was the brainchild of Lee Maycock, Ian Nottage and John Feeney during their time as Craft Guild of Chefs committee members. Every year the event is held at a different location, to give visitors the opportunity to experience a host of Britain’s best farmland.

Lee Maycock, Universal Cookery & Food Festival representative, said, “We have something quite unique and it grows organically each year. We have been true to our word since year one when we promised to move the festival around the country, taking it to the chefs in various geographical locations.”

Focusing on the theme ‘From the Land’, the Craft Guild of Chefs will have sustainability high on the agenda. The heavyweight speaker line-up includes a variety of industry experts eagerly wanting to share their past and current experiences. Visitors will expect to see a wide range of presentations and demonstrations by chefs and industry professionals alike.

The main stage will focus on seven main feature topics comprising of; Standing out from the crowd, Mum’s in the kitchen, Plastic population, Shooting stars, Local heroes, From the land and The b word! what next? The main stage will be hosted by BBC Radio presenter Nigel Barden.

New to 2019 is the ‘Mum’s in the kitchen’ session. As an advocate of female chefs, UCFF will feature some recognised chef talents. All chefs in this session just happen to be mums. They will be sharing their own personal journeys and exploring how well the industry treats mums returning to work.

Anjula Devi, consultant chef at Manchester United FC, and UCFF ‘Mums in the kitchen speaker, said, “The fact that the UCFF event is highlighting the vital issue of sustainability is one of the main things that initially attracted me. I am really looking forward to this important date in the calendar, which should also be a lot of fun.”

In what can sometimes be a difficult and challenging environment, the chefs will talk about how much support there is, or isn’t, available for mothers. They will also share their opinions on whether they think the industry has modernised over the years. Devi will be joined by mother and daughter Miranda and Isabella Godfrey from Westminster Kingsway College, Pervin Todiwala from Mr Todiwala's Restaurants and home economist Anne Harnan.

Devi added, “I am delighted to be taking part in the ‘Mums in the kitchen’ session. I think that the Craft Guild of Chefs is a great organisation and I love the idea of bringing chefs and farmers together!”

During the ‘Standing out from the crown’ session visitors will meet some of the brave new wave of chefs and entrepreneurs who have crowdfunded their businesses to allow them to realise their dream.

Speakers during this session include Paul Foster from Salt, Tommy Heaney Chef and owner of Heaney’s in Cardiff, Sean Cannon from Cannon and Cannon, Andrea Waters and Catherine Salway from Redemption Bar Founders, and Philip Martin from Blanco Nino.

Brexit has undoubtedly been the centre of debate within many organisations. In recent years, UCFF has actively avoided the popular subject but this year they will be tackling it head-on. During the ‘The B word! What next?’ session, the chefs originally from the EU will share their views on Brexit. Various growers, producers, and HR experts will debate the impact a ‘deal or no deal’ will have on labour, food prices, tourism and product availability.

Amongst the speakers will be Kuba Winkowski (pictured), head chef at The Feathered Nest Country Inn, Oxfordshire and winner of the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year 2019 title.

Winowsk commented “Brexit is a subject close to my heart. I wouldn’t like to see the door close for young, enthusiastic and hard-working caterers from outside the UK. The UK is an amazing place for any young person wanting to develop and grow in the hospitality industry.”

The UCFF’s theme for the event and main stage topic ‘From the Land’ will close the day. Speakers will include culinary development and innovation chef Colin Wheeler-James, Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Imogen Davies from Native, and Caroline Drummond MBE from LEAF (Linking the Environment and Farming). The core focus of this session will be on today’s local, seasonal, sustainable and natural products. Chefs will demonstrate the countries best exponents of this style of cooking.

Caroline Drummond, chief executive at LEAF, said, “Food is the very essence of life. It tells the story of our farming, our chefs, our values, our culture, our reason to be. The Craft Guild of Chefs is a great organisation raising the importance and standards of professional cooking as well as inspiring the next generation of budding chefs”

She added, “The 8th Universal Cookery & Food Festival (UCFF) is unique. Where else can you see food and farming at its very best and out in the field? What a great idea where the world of chefs and farmers combine. And a superb opportunity to see sustainability in practice. LEAF Demonstration Farmer Duncan Farrington is hosting the day which promises to be inspiring, interesting and informative.”

Farrington Oils is the UK’s first ‘seed to bottle’ producer. Following years of research, Mellow Yellow cold pressed rapeseed oil was launched in 2005 by Duncan Farrington, managing director at Farrington Oils. After university, Farrington joined his parents in the family business as a fourth-generation farmer. Visitors will have the opportunity to see first-hand a unique insight into how the award-winning oil is produced.

With the Guild’s passion in inspiring and introducing talented young chefs to the industry, they have collaborated with The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) to host one of their study tours, which will run from 24-26 June.

The unique event offers head chefs, catering managers and development chefs the opportunity to experience several established and upcoming trends, network with chefs from commercial restaurants and ultimately, take away ideas back to their institutions.

The Universal Cookery & Food Festival opens at 7:45 am with a 50-strong supplier exhibition with the festival commencing from 9am-5pm. This will be followed by a BBQ cook-off, dinner and band, closing at 10 pm.