We anticipate some of the highlights from this year’s Foodies Festival, taking place on the Downs from 12 – 14 May…

Feeling good

There’s a brand new healthy living zone at this year’s Foodies Festival, running in association with local yoga schools and athletic apparel brand Lululemon. With a full timetable of yoga classes, meditation and mindfulness, visitors can get inspired by cooks and nutritionists including Amanda Hamilton – TV presenter and detox coach to Kate Moss – Deliciously Ella, Clean Eating Alice, Skinny Jeans Gardeners and winner of Vegan Bake-Off, Katy Beskow. Chefs will also be demonstrating how to cater for food intolerances and how to inspire people to reconnect with ‘real’, unprocessed food – essentially, how to indulge the foodie in you and still maintain a healthy lifestyle; and have your cake and eat it!

Foodies Festival

Taking the stage

The chefs theatre line-up will showcase culinary skills and focus on culinary wellness (see point above), with farm-to-table dishes and sugar-free cooking. Expect the likes of current Bake Off champ Candice Brown, and new judge Prue Leith; Michelin-starred chefs including Adam Simmonds, Atul Kochhar and Matt Gillan, as well as TV’s Rosemary Shrager and Dean Edwards.

MasterChef will be well represented via winners Jane Devonshire and Dhruv Baker; and new Saturday Kitchen host Matt Tebutt will be putting in an appearance; while Miguel Barclay, the Brighton chef who rose to Instagram fame through his gourmet £1 meals, will be teaching audiences how to whip up quality meals on a frugal budget. Meanwhile, in the Drinks Theatre, expert mixologists and sommeliers, including Neil Phillips and Charles Metcalfe, will host wine, whisky, champagne and gin tastings and food pairing classes, while beer connoisseur Melissa Cole (known for “taking the beard out of beer”) will be on-hand with craft beer tutorials.

Foodies FestivalMasterchef winner Jane Devonshire takes to the stage


The cakes and desserts theatre is set to expand to include not only top local bakers but also local chefs renowned for their outstanding desserts. Get hands-on with practical baking masterclasses or take part in a bake-off; indulge your sweet tooth in the Chocolate, Cake and Dessert Village and learn from local experts about their fresh breads, sponges, tarts, jellies and desserts. If you fancy a spot of afternoon tea, head to the prettily decorated vintage tea room, where teas, handmade cakes and scones with clotted cream and jam will be served on fine china by the lovely tea ladies, with vintage music adding to the ultimate British summertime ambience.

Foodies Festival

Do it yourself

The festival’s 2017 edition will see the launch of a series of creative practical workshops by chef and Vogue-featured food stylist Cicely Violet, on how to create everything from ‘psychedelic pavlovas’ and ‘midsummer cupcakes’ to summer cocktails. The hands-on masterclasses will also continue the theme of healthy living with creative twists on homemade herbal cordial cocktails and fruit sorbets.

Cook with critters

“The sushi of 30 years ago is the insects of today,” says chef Dan barber of the new bug-eating trend in healthy living. So don’t recoil or shy away – with the insect food industry is booming, the festival’s Vietnamese street food stand will be demonstrating how to cook with critters and explaining the health benefits of doing so. There’s growing research that says eating insects may be the road to a more sustainable future, so stop by to learn about the benefits of chocolate-dipped and candy-coated worms, scorpions, locusts, ants, caterpillars, mealworms and crickets… For those brave enough, there’s even a daily bug-eating contest as well as the usual chilli-eating challenge.

Foodies Festival

Gastronomic Glastonbury

…That’s the term some have used over the years to describe the festival, which features local artisan producers and street food vendors from around the world, offering everything from crème brulee campervans to smoked salmon tastings. The variety is one of its strong points, and, like Glasto, it’s a really family friendly event too – with a kids’ zone and cookery school where miniature foodies can make, decorate, experiment and learn how carbon dioxide makes dough rise in bread bubble bombs, or how to make homemade sherbet. Dance to live music from local favourites including Harry and the Gondolas with a cocktail from the Rum Galleon, or bask in the sun atop the double-decker BarBus before stopping for a bite at the restaurant tents, which champion new eateries.

For more info on the Foodies Festival and tickets visit foodiesfestival.com

Featured image © Greg Macvean