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Diary of a food festival organiser, part 2

Diary of a food festival organiser, part 2
Image: Eddie Jacob
This week Anne invites four celebrity chefs to a photoshoot then narrowly misses setting them on fire with the props: a pan, a match and a bottle of vodka.
 
Take four celebrity chefs, persuade them to convene in one place, (early on a Monday morning) get them to smile (as I said, it's first thing Monday morning) and hope they'll remember to bring their Whites for the photocall.
That’s what we decided to do as part of the promotional activity for the launch of the fourth Wirral Food and Drink Festival. On the day in question one chef forgot his whites, but then, I might have already mentioned, it was a Monday, the traditional day for chef’s day off - perhaps his kit was in the laundry.
 
We tried several shots until Brian Mellor, the chef at Claremont Kitchen on the farmland where the festival is held, suggested an alfresco shot of 'said' chefs gathered round a frying pan shooting up in flames (the pan not the boys). A hunt round netted us some vodka to set light to, but the day was so sunny (I know, a rare thing in the North West) the flames didn’t show up on camera, so we had to huddle back into Claremont Kitchen to try the whole thing again indoors. Several attempts and a couple of slightly shaken chefs later, we were home free, even managing not to burn the building down.
 
There was a lot of gossiping and friendly rivalry amongst the chefs. Who’s opening? Who’s closing? Who’s pants? Who rocks, etc. Put a gaggle of chefs together and they gossip like crazy  - I imagine this is because they are so often cloistered away in their own kitchens. It was nice to see them catching up and so enthusiastic about their profession, but my ears were burning, I have to confess.
 
Thanks to all their gossiping, the video footage I was making (at the same time as the photoshoot, flames and all) will undoubtedly need some careful editing, on account of all that insider info.
 
The rest of my time lately has been alas! somewhat less glamorous or gossipy. I have been hunkered down, filling in grant application forms and chasing anyone and everyone for sponsorship to boost the festival's offering. A meeting with Merseyrail has left me hopeful that they will come on board and show us some support in the form of lubrication and I'm not talking about engine fuel. 
 
Last year, bless them, they rescued us at the last minute when another potential sponsor pulled out of sponsoring the beer tent. Yes, that's right the beer tent - the central hub and huddle of the festival. But that's another story. So this year we're hoping to incentivise punters to take the train (Merseyrail, of course) and enjoy the beer tent to the max.
 
The beer tent has always been an iconic sort of centre for the festival, ever since we connected up with Papakata Tents, who provide the tepee which really adds to the festival's appeal. Each year I look forward to snatching a minute for a cold glass of real ale and a little time to look down through the fields and seeing the festival stretch out before me. It makes for a pleasant break from the work that goes on behind the scenes throughout the festival. Though it officially finishes at 4pm on the Monday we are still there, litter-picking, until the wee hours.
 
It's sometimes hard to get my head around what people leave behind in the car park: t-shirts and sandals, used nappies are surprising enough. But it was the take-away cup from a major burger chain that really had me stumped. Why bring cola from the golden arches when you can relax with a glass of the local micro brew inside a folksy tent? No idea.
 
More from Anne's Diary soon
 
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