Thursday, 15 August 2013

Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2013

A Pre-Festival Catch Up with James Martin

Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2013
I adore the Bolton Food and Drink Festival. I go every year, and already had this year's festival booked off work before last year's had even started. It's the amazing food on offer, the shows, meeting the stallholders, and having a good time with friends.
The Hungry Gecko
Street food heroes... The Hungry Gecko
Every year the festival attracts a good crop of celebrity chefs to bring in the crowds. Mary and Paul are back this year, as are veterans Michael Caines and James Martin, with new boy Aldo Zilli coming along for the ride.  
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
Paul and Mary
Me with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
Me with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry - hyperventilates into icing bag...
Last year I had the opportunity to interview housewives' favourite, Mr James Martin. I always thought he seemed a bit of a cocky bugger on the quiet, but I couldn't have been more wrong. He's a genuinely nice chap with a love for cooking and dining. We chatted about our favourite restaurants, and where he likes to eat in his free time.

This year I have been lucky enough to ask James a few questions prior to the festival, and I had a couple of burning questions about his new gaff, Manchester235...
James Martin
You must really like Bolton... You're back again! I take it it's nothing to do with the abundance of different pasties on offer. What makes Bolton Food and Drink Festival so attractive?
The festival has grown massively since I started going there, and this is the reason I return year on year. There's always something new, something to try and suppliers with new products for chefs and foodies to find. Plus, I enjoy the demos, as when we started the food show many years ago it used to be in what looked like an office. It's been built into what we see this year, it's great!

I remember last year you were keen to do a bit of browsing around the stalls. Did you find any gems?
It's part of going to food festivals - you have to see what's on offer, as even when you think you know the produce of the area, there's always something new on offer. Even better when we can use it in the new restaurant...

A little bird tells me you're opening your own place in Manchester - tell me about it!
Yep - it took a while to find a site, but I think it's going to be fun. Manchester's restaurant scene is a buzzing place at the moment, and I'm glad to be a part of it. Interviews are underway as we speak, so it's all set for launch.

What makes Manchester so attractive?
There is so much to see and do there, plus the people make the city, and they are the ones who make the restaurant scene what it is. There's a buzzing nightlife, and now there's a top notch restaurant scene to match.

How often will you be cooking there?
I should be there once a week, and more at the start, but these things take time to bed in, and with Christmas coming I see it hopefully being a busy place. 

What can we expect from the menu?
We are still in then planning stage at the moment, so I'm unsure, but no doubt some of the stuff I find at the Bolton Food and Drink Festival may appear on the menu.

Which are your favourite restaurants in Manchester?
I think Simon Rogan is doing wonders, and the area needs someone like that to drive it forward. 

Bolton Food and Drink Festival runs over the August Bank Holiday weekend, starting at lunch time on Friday 23rd through to Monday 26th.

For more information, visit the official website at

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