Eat, drink… and be happy
When Woking does a food festival it goes the whole hog. Yup! We’re talking a three-day scoff fest featuring a troupe of international celebrity chefs as well as the cream of Surrey’s cheffing crop hosting live culinary demos and talks.
Add to that more than 80 pop-up restaurants and drinks stalls selling local and regional produce and dishes, cooking workshops, family activities and live entertainment – and you’ve got yourself a Food and Drink Festival to remember. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? Yes free!
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that team Muddy Surrey loves nothing more than troughing great food and wine, and this here is the foodie’s utopia. Block out the dates from Fri 31 Aug to Sun 2 Sept, dig out your stretchiest trousers and say a big hello to the Woking Food and Drink Festival.
Here’s a little taster of what you can expect (see what I did there!)…
A bevvy of brilliant chefs will be sharing their cooking secrets across all three days of the festival. We’re particularly excited about Ching He Huang, who’ll be demonstrating her style of modern Chinese cooking when she prepares a dish of spicy honey garlic prawns with water chestnuts at noon on Sat 1 Sept, and chatting about her eight – yes, eight!! – best-selling cookbooks including her latest book Stir Crazy.
Jack Sturgess, of Bake with Jack, will give us the low maintenance approach to making delicious sourdough bread – now that’s my kind of bread making. He’ll be taking the stage at 3pm on Sat 1 Sept.
The Gangotra Sisters, Lorna, Bobbi and Monika – nicknamed the Indian Spice Girls – will showcase their spiced beer battered fish, triple cooked masala chips, curried peas and beans, and coriander chutney on Sun 2 Sept at 10am. It’s curry, but not as you know it.
And for lovers of Michelin-starred fare, you’ll want be on hand when head chef at The Tudor Room at Egham’s Great Fosters, Dougie Balish serves up his Brixham crab, almonds, tomato and avocado at 3pm on Sun 2 Sept.
New on the menu this year is a celebratory business breakfast Inspiring women in food, with the key talk given by healthy eating entrepreneur Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella. It’s on Fri 31 Aug from 8.30am at the WWF-UK The Living Planet Centre.
And back again after its success last year is a tasty tapas style medley of Bite-size Talks, hosted this year by Hersha Patel, host of YouTube channel ‘Cook with a Little Indian’ and a panel of local food and drink experts.
Bringing in some family fun is Stefan Gates the popular BBC2 and CBBC presenter of The Gastronaut! who brings his energetic, funny and explosive live shows. Combining cookery and mind-blowing science, such as creating plasma in a microwave, custard-powder flame-throwing and more, the two live shows will be hosted in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre on Sat 1 Sept at 11am and 1pm. Cost is just £3 per person.
The festival takes place mostly in Woking Town Centre, including Jubilee Square, Commercial Way, Mercia Walk, Market Walk, Gloucester Walk and Gloucester Square.
The trader stalls are open from 9.30am-6pm on Fri 31 Aug and Sat 1 Sept, and from 10am-5.30pm on Sun 2 Sept.
To find your way around download a copy of the festival map.
For parking, there are plenty of options, including:
- The Shoppers’ Car Parks (next to Woking Shopping and the New Victoria Theatre), enter the following postcode into your SatNav: GU21 6GB.
- For the Victoria Way Car Park, enter the following postcode into your SatNav: GU21 8EW.
- For the Brewery Road Car Park, enter the following postcode into your SatNav: GU21 4LJ.
- For the Heathside Crescent Car Park, enter the following postcode into your SatNav: GU22 7AG.
But my best advice: skip breakfast and leave the skinny jeans at home. See you there!