Manchester Food and Drink Festival will celebrate its 25th year in the city this September with a special roster of events, bringing together some of Manchester’s top chefs as it marks a quarter of a century in the city.
From a host of live fire pit feasts to a dedicated wine and fizz festival at NOMA, there are some exciting events on the horizon for this year’s festival, which will take place this September.
Today, the festival has announced its first wave of events as it prepares to bring its free-to-attend Festival Hub back to Cathedral Gardens.
Open from midday to 11.00pm across 15t–18 and 21–25 September, the Festival Hub will become home to an array of street food traders, bars, and artisan producers, as well as various masterclasses and takeovers.
As ever, the festival will bring together some of Manchester’s top eateries with appearances already confirmed from the likes of Michelin-trained Caroline Martins (The Sao Paulo Project), Northern Quarter favourite District, Tast, Mi and Pho, Fazenda, DGHNT and more.
Elsewhere, there will be an artisan market overflowing with local produce, and a wide selection of local street food traders showcasing the best that Manchester has to offer.
BBQ fire pit feasts
The first ever Festival Fire Pit Takeover will be coming to the Hub for both long weekends.
Sponsored by Weber, one of the world’s leading barbecue specialists, the Festival Fire Pit will invite some of the region’s best loved chefs to cook over fire for a first time festival feast.
Caroline Martins, founder of the Sao Paolo project, Robert Owen Brown and Francisco Martinez from Fazenda will all be bringing their own specialist BBQ flavours to the fire pit as part of Weber’s takeover.
The Festival Hub at Cathedral Garden will host the Octopus Cookbook Confidential demo kitchen on Saturday 24th September in collaboration with Octopus Books.
Top chefs and industry experts will be coming together to share their tips, ideas and knowledge in cookery demos, conversations and debate discussions. A full day of foodie demos and panels will include:
● Kate Humble & Lia Leendertz: The joy of the outdoors – Eating & Cooking with the Seasons
● Edd Kimber: Pudding Love! – discussing our love of puddings from childhood to becoming professionals and everything in between
● Pip Payne & Nicky Corbishley: Tips, ideas and hacks for putting dinner on the table every night without breaking the bank
● Joe Woodhouse, Josh Katz & David Bez: From the swede to the courgette – why we should all be eating more veg and all the veggie inspiration you could hope for
● Jeremy Pang: School of Wok Chinese Cooking Demo
● Rahul Mandal: The Baking Surgery
● Jaega Wise vs Joel Harrison in conversation with Neil Ridley: Beer vs Cocktails
Some of Manchester’s best-loved chefs will also be joining the Festival Hub to lead cooking masterclasses on the opening weekend of the Festival – a detailed programme will be announced soon!
Artisan food market
The much-anticipated Artisan Food Market will take place across the duration of the Festival, opening 15–18 and 22–25 September from midday to 7pm.
This free-to-attend market will showcase some of Manchester’s best food and drink producers, including New Market Dairy, The Flat Baker and DGHNT.
Beyond the Festival Hub
Away from the festival hub, an array of activities will be taking place across Manchester city centre.
MFDF will be the first event to take place at the iconic New Century in Manchester’s NOMA district to bring the Wine and Fizz Festival to town.
Opening in September, the Wine and Fizz Festival will be the first event to take place in the newly-restored space, giving wine lovers the chance to visit retailers like Cork of the North, Grape to Grain and UKiYO Republic (showcasing their wonderful range of Japanese sake). Tickets are available to buy here.
Across the city for the duration of the festival, MFDF is also curating a lineup of fantastic restaurants to take part in their £25 for 25 years menu collaboration.
Northern Quarter favourite District will be creating an exclusive £25 drinks pairing menu to compliment their amazing Thai cuisine and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival.
Embankment Kitchen is also creating an exclusive £25 menu to give diners a taste of the best of their offering at a reduced price.
Other restaurants taking part include Mi and Pho with a Vietnamese take on the exclusive menu offer, as well as Three Little Words, Shoryu Ramen, Tast and Society, with many more to be announced over the coming weeks.
Feature image – MFDF
Tributes pour in after Oldham Coliseum announces ‘heartbreaking’ death of general manager
Oldham Coliseum says it’s “heartbroken” to announce that its general manager has sadly passed away over the weekend.
Lesley Chenery served as the Oldham-based theatre’s Head of Production from 2013 – 2021, before leaving the position and then returning in January 2023 as General Manager to help the theatre through “a difficult situation”.
Sharing the heartbreaking news of her shock death on social media last night, Oldham Coliseum Theatre said in a statement: “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Coliseum General Manager Lesley Chenery this weekend.
“Lesley was head of production from 2013 to 2021, and returned this January as General Manager to help guide the company through the loss of NPO Funding. Lesley was the backbone of the Coliseum, her presence at the theatre over the past weeks has brought immeasurable relief to us all.
“She was a friend, a support and a rock to many current and previous members of Coliseum staff [and] her knowledge, experience and love for the Coliseum and the team is unmatched – we will miss her beyond words.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
Hundreds of people have been sharing their heartfelt tributes to Lesley since the announcement.
One person shared in tribute on social media: “Absolutely heartbroken to hear this news. She was such a fireball of fun, strength and fairness. Always a voice of equality & standing up for whoever wasn’t in the room, with a huge passion for theatre. Loved and admired by many.”
Another wrote in tribute: “What awful news, Lesley was always so incredibly supportive to everyone working at The Coliseum. She was also a lovely warm funny person.
“Thinking of her family, friends and everyone at The Coliseum. What a terrible loss.”
A third person wrote: “Very very sad news. Lesley will be missed by so many of us who have worked with her across the industry. I remember working with her earlier in my career at the dukes Lancaster and then years later at the coliseum.
“She was a very experienced production manager, plus a thoughtful and caring person.”
The news of Lesley’s untimely passing comes just days after Oldham Coliseum Theatre announced that it was forced into making the “incredibly difficult decision” to cancel all its upcoming events and theatre shows after its funding was cut.
The historic venue was dropped from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 1 April.
This month award-winning piemakers Great North Pie Co will officially open in Manchester city centre, bringing its high-quality goodies to Kampus for the very first time.
Serving up a modern take on traditional pie and mash dinners, a new, seasonal menu features four butter-pastry pies, stuffed to the brim using only the best ingredients from North West producers.
From 14-hour braised beef and ale pies, to roast chicken and mushroom and the company’s hero classic Lancashire cheese and onion, pie fans can expect to find classic flavour combinations done well at the cosy and intimate new space.
Each pie on the menu is served with a wide range of sides, with choices including buttery mash or proper home-style chips, cauliflower cheese, pickled red cabbage, mushy garden peas or chip shop mushy peasall served withroast onion and brown sauce gravy or the house curry sauce- the ultimate feed.
There will also be weekly comfort food specials such as lamb and pea steamed suet puddings, corned beef hash, Lancashire Hot Pot, and keema and chips.
To round off the perfect meal, puddings include school dinner-style sweet treats like chocolate sponge and custard and the classic sticky toffee pudding.
Breakfast sandwiches will be served daily between 10:30am and 2.30pm and will feature quality versions of all the breakfast classics including Cheshire Smokehouse honey-cured bacon and Stornoway black pudding.
The drinks menu, meanwhile, includes the likes of Manchester Union Lager on draught, a selection of quality wines and proseccos, plus a handful of spritz style cocktails.
With booth-style seating for 20 inside and an outdoor area seating area for up to 30 more overlooking the Kampus garden and canal, the cosy new pie cafe is the first resident to arrive on the cobbles of Kampus’s Little David Street.
Neil Broomfield, co-founder of Great North Pie Co, said: “Since we started making pies it’s always been an ambition to have a base in the city centre.
“We’d been looking for a while and as soon as we saw Kampus, Little David Street and the gardens, we knew it was the right place for us. While it’s our first city centre venue, we don’t have plans to rollout out any more, as we place our focus on keeping the quality and consistency we aim for.
“We just want to concentrate on doing one thing and doing it well. The mix of traders coming into Kampus is amazing and we’re so proud to be part of it.”
Great North Pie Co also has venues in Lake District’s Ambleside and in Altrincham Market. Its products can also be found at monthly farmers markets, where they started the business, in locations such as Urmston, Knutsford, Northwich, Altrincham, Chester, Wilmslow, Chorlton, Bakewell, Macclesfield and West Didsbury.
The pie brand supplies pubs and restaurants nationwide and also supplies to the likes of Booths, Robinsons’s brewery, Dukeshill Hams, Manchester City Football Club, Stockport County FC, and other popular pubs and restaurants across the country.