Feast food and drink festival returns to The Castle at Taunton this September with four amazing top guest chef dinners, more than 60 exhibitors, 20 workshops, talks and demos by well-known regional chefs.
Feast is stacking up to be a major event on the Somerset calendar. Scheduled from 27 – 30 September, Taunton will welcome an even bigger line-up of top chefs, including Michael Caines (Lympstone Manor) and the legendary Phil Howard (Elystan Street) plus a selection of the south west’s finest producers and artisan food and drink makers.
Since its creation in 2017, when executive chef, Liam Finnegan and local food critic and enthusiast, Steve Ashworth, hatched their plan to create a new food festival in Taunton to attract some of the biggest named chefs in the UK, the festival has gone from strength to strength, helped in no small part by the support of sponsors such as Arthur David Foods, Vine Wine and Food Magazine.
“We have Exeter Food Festival and Bristol Food Festival, but Taunton is often overlooked,” says Liam. “We think it should be a real hub for food lovers. Most of the bigger cities are using producers that are right on our doorstep, yet locals are travelling far and wide to see them, which shouldn’t be the case.”
“When Steve and I were planning the festival, we really wanted to showcase the best of the best in terms of local producers and we were overwhelmed by the response,” says Liam. “Last year we had more than 50 exhibitors, lots of free talks and workshops, plus we were able to attract some of the region’s top talent for cooking demos.”
The end result was a festival that really highlighted Taunton’s place on the food journey. From organic growers, master brewers and artisan cheese makers to chocolatiers and herbal medicine makers, the diversity and skill far exceeded the original vision. So much so that they had to turn people away simply because they couldn’t fit any more into the first weekend schedule.
This year, they’ve expanded the festival to include 4 top guest chef dinners and over 60 local producers. Added to the free talks and workshops, there will also be ticketed masterclasses scheduled in the picturesque Castle Hotel Penthouse where you can learn about high-quality artisan food making, wine tasting and much more.
“It’s been quite a journey so far that has been met with so much support and enthusiasm from the local community,” says Liam. “Hinkley Point suppliers, Somerset Larder have joined us this year as sponsors. We’ve also partnered with local charity, Love Musgrove and are donating a portion of the ticket price from our chef dinners to help the local hospital.”
“Love Musgrove is very excited to be the selected charity for 2018’s Taunton Feast,” says community fundraiser Joanna Duncan. “This great event run by The Castle Hotel is a wonderful opportunity for us to raise awareness about the work of Love Musgrove and how members of the local community can get involved in our fundraising programmes! With the event set to host large crowds across the 3 days, we are so grateful to have been asked to be a part of it. Love Musgrove will have a stand on Castle Green handing out information about the charity with some fun games passers-by can get involved in.”
“And the lovely ladies from Go Create are returning to do food related arts and crafts with the kids,” says Liam. “This is a real family event with a strong sense of community pride and we can’t wait to see everyone again.”
“Food is so important in all of our lives so I am delighted that Feast is returning for a 2nd year on Castle Green,” says co-creator Steve Ashworth. “The program has developed and grown from last year to bring together a market, demos, workshops and fine dining events showcasing Taunton what the town and county have to offer. By bringing together the best food and best chefs we are connecting the town through food.”