It’s time to plan your trip to this flavour filled culinary event.

Essex Fine Food Show 12-13 May at Chelmsford City Racecourse


Writer Neil Johnson caught up with show organiser Anne Pocock to find out what’s happening over the weekend

It’s not often we get celebrity chefs coming to Essex, Anne but I hear you have two coming to the show?

Yes, we are very excited to have James Martin and John Torode demonstrating from our main stage. Most people have watched them on TV and now it’s time to get up close and watch them cook live.

Echo: John Torode

Do you know what they are going to be cooking?

Yes, but I’d like to keep that as a surprise for our visitors – I don’t want to spoil things. What I can say is that it is likely James will include something from his latest book “James Martin’s American Adventure” and John perhaps will be cooking up something spicy with an Asian influence.

Will visitors get a chance to talk to James and John?

Yes, they will both be signing their books at the show – for James it is James Martin’s American Adventure and for John “My Kind of Food”. Both chefs are super friendly and happy to chat to people when signing their books. There might even be a chance for a cheekie selfie!

Do visitors need to book their tickets in advance to see John or James’s demonstrations?

Yes, it is advisable to book seats in advance of the weekend as they may be sold out before the weekend of the show. They can be bought from the show web site. I would like to mention that children under 6yrs are not permitted in the celebrity chef demonstrations.

Aside from the celebrities, will there be other chefs cooking too?

Yes indeed, we have another stage for local chef demonstrations and we have some really great talent cooking their favourite dishes. We also have a demonstration from a Master Butcher – if you have ever wondered where your bacon or chops come from, David Innes will be butchering half a pig and cooking it on the BBQ too. Visitors can come and have a taste. Add to that a delectable pigeon dish and a fine dining demonstration with duck and great BBQ cooking ideas from Dan Hull who owns Dan Hull Prepared Foods in Danbury. Full details of all the chefs can be found on the show web site

Can visitors buy food and drink to take home with them and can they try before they buy? And can you give us some examples of what is on offer?

Where do I start? There will be plenty of great produce on sale – a number of our traders are Great Taste Award Winners and they really are the cream of the crop. From fantastic jams, chutneys and cheeses to melt in the mouth dairy ice creams and smooth olive oils and locally grown asparagus. There really is too much to mention but they are all listed on our web site. And yes, the majority of traders offer tastings

What can visitors expect to eat and drink at the event?

They really do have a treat in store – we have created a fantastic street food avenue with lots of seating, live music and bars. We hope we have every taste covered,. Here is a small selection, sweet and savoury crepes made to order, duck wraps and chunky chips (made in goose fat), Oriental noodle bar, buttermilk chicken and wood fired pizzas. To wash it all down, draft beers from Adnams of Southwold, draft cider, prosecco, wine, freshly squeezed French lemonade, gin and tonic, artisan coffee and a beautiful vintage tea room serving afternoon tea in bone china cups!

Can visitors buy tickets on the gate?

Yes, understandably some people make last minute decisions to visit and tickets will be on sale on the gate. And if we have any tickets left for James Martin or John Torode demonstrations, they will be on sale at the venue.

Do you have a final piece of advice for visitors, Anne?

Bring sturdy shopping bags, wear comfortable shoes and if you have a freezer box or shopping bag that could come in handy to take home the lovely ice cream!

A quick round up of the show :

Dates: 12 & 13 May

Venue: Chelmsford City Racecourse. Sat Nav: CM3 1QP

Open: 10am – 5pm

James Martin Demonstrations 12 May 11am:1pm and 3pm

John Torode Demonstrations 13 May 11am: 1pm and 3pm

Free Parking

Disabled Parking

No children under 6yrs allowed in the celebrity chef demonstrations

No dogs allowed except for assistance dogs

Free 64 page event programme

Advance tickets from: