All fired up from Powderham Food Festival – by Sue Stoneman

Powderham Food Festival took place on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October this year at Powderham Castle.  I was there as one of the demo chefs in the ‘Theatre of Fire and Smoke’ tent, along with some big names on the BBQ scene: Simon Dyer – BBQ Champ, John Gower of Quiet Waters Farm, Nic Townsend, Martin Anderson – Chef of Temper in Soho, David Deadman and BBQ Ben Forte who was the compere for the weekend.

For my main demo in the teepee of fire, I brought the baking side of the BBQ along, as I think it’s not just all about the meat! I showed visitors how to cook Chocolate Brownies, (recipe on the blog here) and Cornbread and Apple cake in the Kamado Joe – a big red ceramic BBQ which uses charcoal for heat.  I was able to cook all day just outside the Teepee in my own little demo tent and also baked some cheese scones, focaccia bread, baked cauliflower, orange marmalade bread and butter pudding and more cake!

I didn’t see all of the other live fire demos put on by the BBQ gurus but the smells emitting from the packed tent were amazing and everyone seemed to be enjoying the food and the fire too, especially on the Saturday as it was quite a damp and cold day.  John Gower’s showstopper on Sunday was cooking in barrels with hot stones and seaweed which would have been great to see.

For the evening on Saturday, I assisted in cooking up a fishy feast cooked over coals for all the stall holders and people involved in organising the festival, including the main sponsors.  The feast was kindly sponsored by WBW Solicitors and Food Festival Director Bob Small gave a speech.

The Food Festival is spread throughout the castle, courtyard and gardens, overflowing onto the lower lawn and extending down onto part of the deer park.  It really is a stunning location for a food festival of this size; the magnificent castle itself and glimpses of deer and the estuary. There is so much to see you will need to spend the whole day there.  It’s geared up to cater for the whole family with plenty of activities for children including cooking with Fun Kitchen and the much enjoyed comedian Dan the Hat.  Dogs are also welcome if on a lead.

There was about 170 exhibitors, mainly food and drink based, intermingled with craft and street food sellers. Musicians were playing throughout the day and cookery demonstrations were going on in the Cookery Theatre Kitchen hosted by Judi Spiers.  On the line up were James Strawbridge, Colin Bennet, Ashley Wright – Head Chef of the Horn of Plenty, Darrin Hosegrove – Ashburton Cookery School and a few others.  On the Saturday was the UK Chilli Cook Off where teams cooked up what they thought was their best ever Chilli for the chance to qualify for the World Chilli Championships in Alabama USA.  Sunday saw the Devon Chilli Challenge where hardcore chilli eating public signed up for this hot chilli eating contest.

The weather was a bit wet and cold on the Saturday and it wasn’t as busy as it may have been, but on Sunday the sun shone and the people came.  The festival had a wonderful atmosphere and everyone was having a lovely time. Congratulations to the 10 ticket winners of the competition we ran as well, I hope you all had a brilliant time.


The Powderham Food Festival usually takes place on the first weekend in October.

Ticket prices this year were Adult – £9 (£7.50 online), Under 16’s £3, (£2.50 online) Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) – £20 (£17 online) Children under 5 free  Parking is free.

Keep an eye out for next year’s dates on their website and put them in your diary and you can follow the social media pages for the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.






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