This year was the 18th Manchester Food & Drink Festival. Although I’d heard great things I’d never been (it’s the downside of always working weekends!) That changed this year as I was delighted to be invited along to deliver a live demonstration at the final Live Cookery Theatre last Saturday.

I really love demos, and it was an honour to be closing the day as the last in a lineup of some of the North West’s best chefs. When I got down to Festival Hub in Albert Square, outside Manchester’s Town Hall, there was a great atmosphere, and it was great to see quite a few familiar faces from the Ripponden restaurant. Thanks for the support, everyone!

Most chefs only demo one dish in their slot, but I really wanted to show some of the range we’ll be featuring in the new restaurant. So I prepared an old favourite – Alejandro chorizo with roasted piquillo pepper puree and aioli – and a lighter summery dish – sardines with chimichurri dressing and almond picado. Both dishes are good as they use a range of skills and use great ingredients in a way you could cook at home. At the end of the session the plates quickly cleared as I chatted and answered questions.

Slow cooked #chorizo with #aoli and pimped up #sardines on toast by Simon Shaw @elgatonegrotapas

A photo posted by Deanna Thomas (@deannafthomas) on

Thanks to Deanna Thomas who was a great host during the demo, and everyone else from the MFDF team too. I can’t wait to visit next year!