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Diary of food festival organiser, part 1

Diary of  food festival organiser, part 1
Ever dreamed of setting up your own food festival? That's what Anne Benson did. In the run up to Wirral Food Festival's fourth year, Anne shares her diary exclusively with Foodtripper.
 
It’s a nightmare – just trying to get three chefs together for a photocall is difficult enough, but I want the picture, the one that will wow the media and get them talking about the Wirral Food and Drink Festival.
 
This will be our fourth year and though we have gone from strength to strength,  it is increasingly hard work. The idea was simple; I had a glass of wine in my hand and my now business partner, Andrew Pimbley, had a beer. The last time I'd seen Andy was when I'd interviewed him about his farm shop near Spital on Wirral. But he was about to leave to become a cowboy in Venezuela (no, really) and I didn’t see him after that for four years.
 
When we met up again we had a couple of drinks and he told me he had an idea which so happened to be an idea I'd been hatching, too - inspired by a visit to the Abergavenny Food Festival. Why not have a Wirral Food and Drink Festival? We set about making it happen, what with Andy providing the venue at Claremont Farm and my food contacts it seemed like a no brainer.
 
Rachel Guratsky, who owned a restaurant in Wirral called Terazz, quickly came on board as did a great crowd of volunteers. That is the main thing, we are a group of volunteers, doing this for the community. Though I do sometimes wonder why!
 
The first year we were told not to expect much: "Expect to see 1,000 or if you're really lucky, 2,000 through the gate." Advised local officials. When we blocked the M53 motorway and got in trouble with the police and watched 14,000 people flooding through the gates, we knew we had done it. I don’t think I stopped shaking for days.
 
Now in our fourth year the event is growing as fast as our local fruit and veg in the North West rain. It is a lot to ask people to give up their free time to help organise it and to all my volunteers I'm extremely grateful. I hope they get the same buzz I do; it’s fun and amazing to create something like this, after last year, when 27,000 people came, we started again almost immediately on the organisation of 2009.
 
Monday, we’ll have the photocall with chefs from the Wirral as I need to get the information about this year’s festival out to the media asap. Yes, the festival is in August but I need to start telling people now. We’ll have Merseyside’s first Michelin-starred chef at the photo (unashamed plug for Merseyside’s first star but Marc at Restaurant Fraiche really deserves the plug).
 
I'm lucky I also get huge support from great chefs such as Paul Askew of The London Carriage Works, Liverpool, who lives on Wirral, and a bunch of other talented and enthusiastic chefs.
 
More from Anne's Diary soon.
 
RSS this page to get updated each time Anne updates her Diary
1 Comments | Add a comment

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David Rai
London
1
Give Anne Benson a medal

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