Businesses urged to back Sheffield Food Festival

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Business leaders are being urged to pick up their knives and forks and get stuck into backing Sheffield Food Festival, the city’s biggest crowd-puller of the year which will be dishing up a flavoursome taste of the thriving local independent food industry this month.

Sponsor cash is needed for the not-for-profit, free event being staged May 24-26 and designed to showcase all that is great about local food and drink and now in its fifth year.

A highlight of the Sheffield Food Festival 2013 was the children's cooking area in the winter Garden. Pictured: 'Daniel and Anna from Deepcar St Johns whisking pancake mix

A highlight of the Sheffield Food Festival 2013 was the children's cooking area in the winter Garden. Pictured: 'Daniel and Anna from Deepcar St Johns whisking pancake mix

“This city has a very strong, high quality independent food industry that gives us a quirkiness, variety and flavour,” said Festival champion Niki Baker, head of Eat Sheffield.

“That’s what visitors will see when they come to the festival. But we have a very small budget and no public funding; we rely heavily on the support of local businesses and we are still looking for a few big names to get involved.

“City centre security for the event costs over £10,000 and the cost of the marquees, water and lighting supplies adds up to £25,000.

“We need the big corporates to see the value of what we are doing - and the importance of the local food industry.”

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In keeping with many a canny restaurant menu, Sheffield Food Festival is doing an Early Bird - serving up its three-day, city-wide event some four months early in a bid to avoid other events in the September calendar.

The festival normally staged in September will transform the city centre into a mass foodie destination over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, May 24-26.

There’s also a new location - the region’s leading city centre festival, which attracted record crowds of 244,000 last year, will be driving footfall down the Moor to capitalise on the success of the new Moor Market, which has caused a leap in popularity of the regenerated area.

Stalls will stretch from Moorfoot towards the city centre, taking in the Peace Gardens, Winter Garden and Town Hall Square as organisers Sheffield University celebrates a new partnership with the council City Centre Management and Major Events team, plus Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Trust, owners of The Moor.

Festival highlights include a wartime kitchen and cooking masterclasses at the Moor Festival Kitchen with Howard Middleton, star of last year’s Great British Bake Off, and local chefs including Michelin-starred Max Fischer.

The perennially popular festival allotment will once again transform Town Hall Square thanks to Green Estate and Ferndale Garden Centre and the beer festival and pop-up dining in the Peace Gardens, organised by Sheffield Breweries Co-Operative, will again make an appearance.”

Visit the website www.sheffieldfoodfestival.org for a programme.