The Great Bath Feast

The Great Bath Feast opened with an opulent evening of dining in Bath Abbey

The Great Bath Feast opened with an opulent evening of dining in Bath Abbey - Credit: Archant

The Great Bath Feast from October 1 - 31 is a city-wide melting pot of flavours and personalities.

The festival, celebrating its second year, is hosting a variety of events for foodies and laymen alike across Bath. The festivities feature a variety of notable names in the world of food, including Bath-born Mary Berry, Angela Hartnett, Michael Caines, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Prue Leith. With a citywide collaboration of more than 100 businesses, the event’s culinary calendar gets locals and visitors eating and drinking with taste trails and chef demonstrations; street food and supper clubs; wine tastings and tutorials; brewery visits and baking tips; a gathering of the nation’s top cheese makers; celebrity book signings and cookery schools. The event is staged by The Bath Business Improvement District in partnership with Bath Tourism Plus.

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus said, “This is unlike any other food festival model and provides a platform for restaurants and food businesses within the city to promote their own events. By working together we have created a new type of food festival which supports the restaurants and highlights the strength of what we have on offer in Bath.”

As a grand opening, Bath Abbey was transformed into one enormous restaurant with three Michelin-starred chefs cooking a banquet for more than 100 people on October 2. The one-night-only event saw the Abbey transformed – with a long decorated table featuring flowers, vegetables and fruits of the harvest, set between the choir stalls. On arrival, guests were served canapés and Champagne Jacquart, followed by a three-course menu prepared in a temporary kitchen by Chris Staines (Head Chef, The Allium Brasserie at the Abbey Hotel), Sam Moody (Executive Chef, The Bath Priory Hotel and Restaurant) and Hywel Jones (Executive Chef, Lucknam Park). Richard Bertinet of The Bertinet Bakery donated the focaccia, and Great Western Wine selected the wines. Catering and hospitality students from City of Bath College helped with the preparation and the service and local producers ensured that the feast was kept local.

Hywel Jones, Executive Chef Lucknam Park said, “I’m delighted that [the] event was such a success. Breath taking is probably the only word I can think of to describe the venue. It was brilliant to work alongside Sam and Chris and given the logistical challenges we faced I thought the evening ran like clockwork. I was especially impressed with the students from City of Bath College and I’m sure that with youngsters like that entering our industry, we will enjoy many more ‘Great Bath Feasts’ in future years.”

The banquet was an immediate sell-out with all profits going to Bath Abbey’s nominated charities Fareshare, a national UK charity with centres in Bath and Bristol, which supports communities to relieve food and the TEAR Fund, providing food for the poorest in Zambia.

Also part of the festival, Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc will be judging a cookery competition for budding chefs from Bath’s Royal High School. On October 23, eight girls who have successfully made it through the initial stage of the competition will set out to impress Blanc as they cook at his restaurant, Brasserie Blanc. The chef said: “I am looking forward to working with the budding chefs from The Royal High School who are competing to impress me with their soufflés – good luck girls. In the evening we have a very special menu arranged in our brasserie for our wonderful guests where I will be doing my best to keep them entertained!”

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Taking pride of place in the city centre is the Great Bath Feast Pavilion from October 12-20 with a full programme of hands-on entertainment.

The pavilion features chef demonstrations from culinary stars plus tastings, tea parties, talks, cocktail classes and cake decorating.

Located on Bath Street outside the Roman Bath’s shop, the Pavilion kicks off with a two-day programme of free demonstrations by notable chefs in the AGA Rangemaster Cookery Theatre on October 12 and 13 with support from BBC Radio Bristol.


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