Foodies flocking to Chatsworth for the free annual Food and Drink Fair this weekend will be picking up cookery tips along with fine Peak District produce.
The popularity of food shows like Masterchef has led to the stately home staging a cookery theatre for the first time as the fair’s star attraction.
Top chefs, butchers and bakers will be sharing their skills in hourly slots from 11am to 4pm at the Lodge Hill theatre, sponsored by AGA.
The Star’s food critic Martin Dawes is compere. “I’m very pleased they’ve asked me; it’s a chance to talk about food instead of writing about it. I don’t normally run out of things to say but I’m taking some crib cards just in case. And I won’t be criticising, merely observing,” he says.
The theatre line-up includes Dan Brazill, Chatsworth’s executive chef, Alan Hill, Chef Patron for The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley and also at Beeley, plus chef Steve Smith, credited with bringing back the Michelin star to the Chatsworth empire’s Burlington Restaurant at the Devonshire Arms Hotel in Bolton Abbey after his arrival in 2008.
Also cooking are Farm Shop staff Graham Booth, a butcher for 30 years, and bakers James Brough, James Mettam, maker of over 100,000 Chatsworth mince pies, and 20-year-old Chloe Empson from Gleadless.
She joined as an apprentice in 2010 and says the highlight has been cooking for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in their private kitchen.
The former Henry Fanshawe and Chesterfield College student will be making Battenburg cake.
“It’s a simple recipe people will be able to make at home,” she says.
Richard Palmer, Head of Chatsworth Catering and Retail, said: “Our fantastic chefs, butchers and bakers will provide inspiration for visitors looking for ways to use the wonderful produce on offer.”
Peak District produce will fill stalls lining Lodge Hill. Expect to find hedgerow jellies, hand-made cakes and chocolate, award-winning cheeses, curry sauces and oils, plus local brandy liqueurs, real ales and ciders.