A brigade of celebrity chefs and musicians are primed to turn picturesque Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells into a feastival of food, drink and great music this summer. Top TV chef Tom Kerridge is bringing his ‘Pub in the Park’ three-day celebration to the town over the weekend of July 6th – 8th, showcasing the very best food the county and country has to offer.
Tom launched his festival in Marlow, Buckinghamshire in 2017 and now he and his merry band of foodie friends are touring the country with a stellar line up of world-class chefs, Michelin-starred pubs and a hand picked roll-call of top UK pubs and restaurants to serve their most popular dishes to an audience hungry to pick up cooking tips and taste great food. Alongside Tunbridge Wells, only three other towns were lucky enough to be included on the tour including Marlow, Knutsford in Cheshire and Bath, Somerset.
Appearing alongside internationally regarded chefs and pop stars will be brilliant local artisans, pubs, local foodie heroes and musicians celebrating the Tunbridge Wells community. A huge marquee will hold the food hall with dozens of local producers and suppliers for people to taste and buy everything from bread and cheese, beer and wine, chilli sauce and a range of citrus-based specialities from Tunbridge Wells-based The Lemon Grove.
Top billing on the cooking demonstration stage will of course be Tom, himself. Chef /Proprietor of The Hand & Flowers and The Coach in Marlow, Bucks, he will introduce friends such as Paul Ainsworth at No 6 in Padstow, Cornwall; Stephen Terry of The Hardwick in Abergavenny Wales and Candice Brown, winner of the Great British Bake Off 2016. Candice famously made a marzipan peacock as a showstopper on her way to the final Britain’s most popular TV cooking shows, and is now a food writer and author often appearing on TV. Bristol Michelin-starred Pony & Trap chef/proprietor Josh Eggleton will share his ‘field to fork’ ethos serving up food sourced as locally as possible with an eager audience.
From Tunbridge Wells and further afield across Kent the Tanner brothers, James and Chris who own The Kentish Hare gastro-pub in Bidborough, will be appearing on the main stage. Pub in the Park will also feature Stephen Harris from The Sportsman, Whitstable that recently made the top 50 list in the 2017 Good Food Guide. Other names in the stellar line up include Mark Sargeant, chef/proprietor at The Wife of Bath in Wye, near Canterbury who’ll be serving up spectacular northern Spanish inspired dishes and Rob Taylor from the Crundale-based award winning and Michelin-recommended The Compasses Inn. Two Michelin-starred chefs with an international following, Atul Kochhar with his restaurant Indian Essence and much-loved Michelin-starred and Angela Hartnet, will also before sharing their culinary tips. Famously trained by fiery chef Gordon Ramsay, Angela runs the Michelin-starred, modern Italian Murano restaurant in London
Tom says he is delighted “to be able to share the magic of Pub in the Park with such a beautiful place as Tunbridge Wells. Expect great food, brilliant music and an ace day out”. Bands already signed up for the Dunorlan stage include Tom Odell, Mel C, Scouting for Girls, Toploader and Razorlight.
The event is supporting Hospitality Action, a charity offering vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and find themselves in crisis. The festival will be supporting their work with a number of fundraising initiatives.
Music line-ups will be announced over the coming weeks, and tickets are on general sale from Friday, 2 February.
(This is a blog post I wrote for the Tunbridge Wells tourist office website, images are (c) Pub in the Park)