Review of 'Taste Cheshire Food & Drink Festival'

The Taste Cheshire Food & Drink Festival is held every year and features various food and drink vendors from Cheshire and the rest of the UK as well as cooking classes for young and old as well as chef demonstrations. We attended on the Sunday where it was anticipated about 8,000 people would be visiting despite the wind which made it feel fairly cool.

The festival was held at the Cheshire Racecourse using the facilities inside the racetrack itself. Parking was inside the racetrack itself as well with only a short walk to the entrance. Day tickets were £12 in advance or £15 on the door while 3 day tickets were priced at £20 in advance or £24 on the door with children under 12 admitted free (we had purchased our tickets via Groupon at significant discount from these prices).

The various buildings of the racecourse were used to house the stalls many of which will be familiar to those that have previously visited any food or drink festival in the UK, which was slightly disappointing, but there were a few vendors we had not previously seen particularly street food purveyors which were concentrated in “Outside Area 1” and the “Pavilion Lawn” the later of which also featured the “Chef Demo Kitchen”. Most vendors took both cash and plastic with prices, as might be expected, generally not exactly cheap.

Cajun Kitchen - Great Gumbo! Seafood Gumbo from Cajun Kitchen

We attended two chef demos, one from Masterchef host and restaurateur, the ever flamboyant, John Torode MBE at noon (the schedule was published in advance on the festival web site) where he prepared chocolate fondants and “JFC” (John Fried Chicken - Korean) which featured his soon-to-be-released “John Number One Sauce” condiment that he amusingly shilled at every opportunity. The audience completely engaged with Torode with standing room only in the medium sized tent (with very comfortable, padded seats).

John Torode

Later in the chef demonstration tent we heard from chef Sam Griffiths of Arkle in the Chester Grosvenor hotel, a short distance from the festival site. Griffiths talked at great length of the importance of provenance and the emphasis they place on local, seasonal and exceptional quality ingredients which, with the prompting of the host, seemed at times more like an advertisement than cooking demonstration. He prepared an elaborate “lamb cooked seven ways” dish as well as “Chester pudding” - A local variation of lemon meringue pie here taken to extremes of enhancement with two types of meringue, and gin-infused cream.

Sam Griffiths

We managed to catch a few minutes of the “Proud Marys” (Chester LBTQ chorus) performing on the north side of the “Parade” area though performing outside was not kind to the sound particularly with the wind and it was often very hard to hear what they were singing. They put on a good performance in any case which was much appreciated by the several dozen people watching. The location was not great with visitors regularly having to walk in front of the group to simply pass through.

Proud Marys

The site was quite cramped and crowded despite the relatively low number of people making it awkward to get around. Many times you would have to follow a set path to a dead end then backtrack to return to the rest of the site. It seems a bit more organization would not have gone amiss.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2023-04-09

Chester Racecourse

Location: Cheshire (England)

Address: New Crane St, Chester, Cheshire CH1 4JD ENGLAND

Public Transport: NRLOGO Chester

Telephone: +44 (0)1244 304600


Founded in 1539 this is the oldest racecourse in the world that continues to hold races to this day. Located on the south-west corner of the city centre, this grass circuit has impressive facilities and plays host to various events throughout the year.