UK Food Festivals - TV Chefs, The Festival of Food & Drink

TV CHEF & AUTHOR JOHN TORODE

John Torode is best known as the straight-talking co-host and judge of MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and Junior MasterChef.

Australian by birth, John is credited as one of the main players in introducing Australasian food to the UK in the mid-1990s. In 1992 he joined the Conran Group, starting out at Pont de La Tour before becoming Sous Chef at Quaglino’s. In 1995, John became Head Chef for the launch of Mezzo in Soho.

He opened Smiths of Smithfield in 2000. The four-floor Grade-II listed restaurant, private dining room and café, located in the heart of Smithfield Market, was a roaring success under his leadership and became a firm fixture on both the restaurant and bar scenes during his tenure. John’s second restaurant venture was another popular multi-storey operation, The Luxe, which opened at Spitalfields Market in 2009.

John went back to his roots with a culinary road trip across Australia for his series John Torode’s Australia, which premiered in March 2014 on the Good Food channel. John returned to the channel in January 2016 with his 10-part Malaysian Adventure series and again in 2017 with John Torode’s Korean Food Tour and John Torode’s Asia.

Other TV projects include: A Cook Abroad: John Torode’s Argentina and The A to Z of TV Cooking, both for BBC Two. He is a frequent guest host of Saturday Kitchen, Saturday Kitchen Best Bites and ITV’s This Morning. His latest TV project sees him co-hosting John and Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen on ITV with fiancé Lisa Faulkner. 

A well-known author and food writer, John regularly contributes to Olive and BBC Good Food magazines. John’s cookbook My Kind Of Food: Recipes I Love to Cook at Home was published in 2015 followed by John Torode’s Sydney to Seoul in May 2018.

MASTERCHEF THE PROFESSIONALS WINNER LAURENCE HENRY

The MasterChef Professionals winner of 2018, Laurence Henry trained at Ashburton Chefs Academy before going on to work in the kitchens of some of the world’s finest chefs, including Sat Bains, Gordon Ramsay and Jason Atherton. He has an enormous breadth of expertise under his hat. His passion for Asian food plays an integral part in his cuisine maintaining simplicity with plenty of flavour.

Sat Bains and John Freeman spotted his talent and have mentored and pushed him to grow as a chef. His versatility in the kitchen was very evident in the 2018 MasterChef: The Professionals series where, having cooked a lamb dish that was so impressive, the Observer Critic, Jay Rayner, said: “I have nothing critical to say!” Fellow judge, Marcus Wareing added: “He is inventive, creative and he leaves nothing behind in the kitchen.  In my opinion he is the next generation.”

Laurence lives in Nottingham, where he worked for two years at Restaurant Sat Bains as his Sous Chef. Aged just 25 at the time of filming MasterChef, he is now looking to take advantage of his MasterChef win and see where this takes him.

Laurence has been interested in food from a young age. He always enjoyed cooking with his mum and dad who are both fantastic cooks. As a student his ambition was to be a Doctor like the rest of his family but whilst doing weekend work at a local restaurant, he fell in love with the idea of becoming a chef. 

Among his many engagements, Laurence is also working on a range of private dining events where he will showcase his culinary skills for a wide variety of guests. Laurence has gained a huge following on Instagram since the show transmitted in December 2018. He has over 50,000 followers and it’s rising rapidly!

Laurence plans to open his own restaurant concept in the not too distant future.

EPIVEGAN & AUTHOR BRETT COBLEY

Brett Cobley (@Epivegan on instagram and youtube) is a vegan chef and egalitarian that believes good food and open conversation can change the world. 

In early 2016 he made the decision to go vegan overnight. Having always been passionate about cooking and eating, especially with friends and family, Brett made it his mission to veganise all his favourite meals, developing creative, delicious and comforting dishes to show that a vegan lifestyle is inclusive, simple and full of flavour. 

Going vegan started Brett on a path to sell his: house, car and possessions to fund his journey to help the world go vegan. 

He launched his debut cookbook What Vegans Eat on December 27th and won UK ITV television show The Big Audition. Brett is committed to help the world go vegans one meal at a time. 

TV CHEF & FOOD CAMPAIGNER RACHEL GREEN

Chef, author, TV presenter, demonstrator and food campaigner Rachel Green has made a name for herself as a passionate ambassador of British produce. Coming from 14 generations of Lincolnshire farmers, Rachel’s message is that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be great. All you need are the best, locally sourced ingredients you can afford and to treat them with respect.

 “I am always interested in new ingredients and meeting new producers. I am passionate about the ethics and provenance of the food I use, and being from a farming background, I have huge respect for all food producers, both regionally and nationally.”

Rachel’s TV credits include CBBC Disaster Chefs, Escape to the Country, Jimmy & The Giant Supermarket, BBC Countryfile, ITV Countrywise, Market Kitchen, Street Market Chefs, The One Show, Marco’s Great British Feast, BBC Breakfast, and Tonight with Trevor McDonald to name a few. 

She has also cooked for royalty and celebrities many times including a private tea for HM The Queen along with a dinner for 800 at the Savoy, numerous times for HRH Prince Charles at St James Palace; a private dinner for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle; a private dinner for Lulu, a party for Sade, and a cook-off with the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire and Alan Titchmarsh at Chatsworth.

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