Taste of Grampian spiced up for 2016

Taste of Grampian event organisers are announcing this year's date and line-up with a spicy twist for its award-winning popular food and drink festival as part of an official launch today.

Executive Director of the ANM Group and Taste of Grampian Chairman, John Gregor, announced the headline celebrity chef’s for this year’s event as dynamic duo, The Incredible Spice Men - Tony Singh and Cyrus Todiwala – infamous for their innovative cooking style of fusing British produce together with creative spice.  

Leith-born Tony Singh, famed for his legendary 'haggis pakora', said: “I am delighted to be part of this year’s event and fly the flag for the Grampian region.  I am passionate about enhancing fresh and local Scottish ingredients through the use of subtle spice and look forward to getting creative on the day.”

Event partners (ANM Group, Aberdeenshire Council, Grampian Food Forum, the Press & Journal and Scottish Enterprise) confirmed the date for this year – Saturday 4th June 2016 - at an Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce ‘Shire Connections’ event today at Thainstone House Hotel. 

Taste of Grampian, which recently won ‘Best Festival of the Year’ title at the Aberdeen City & Shire Tourism Awards, is now celebrating its 17th year and attracts over 14,000 visitors to its venue at Thainstone Centre, Inverurie.  The fun-packed programme of events includes indoor and outdoor cookery demonstrations and advice from celebrity chefs and local talent, stalls from regional producers, an arts and crafts marquee, competitions, beer and wine tent, the Press & Journal Motor Show and a whole host of music and entertainment.

This year’s main event sponsor was confirmed as Specially Selected Pork.  John Gregor said: “We are excited to work with Quality Meat Scotland in the coming months to profile this fantastic food brand.  The North-East of Scotland is where the majority of the Scottish pig farming takes place and home to over 60% of the Scottish sow herd.  This sponsorship announcement today reflects perfectly the worth of pig production to the North-East economy of £40-£50 million annually.”

Supporting the Specially Selected Pork brand, local Masterchef celebrity and chef proprietor of Moonfish Café in Aberdeen Brian McLeish attended the launch and is also back by popular demand to deliver cookery demonstrations at the festival.

The launch also declared the line-up of gold sponsors including Food Standards Scotland, GPH Builders Merchants Ltd, Braehead Foods and Northlink Ferries.  Silver Sponsors are Visit Scotland, The Hotel Collection, Hamlyns, the Royal Bank of Scotland, More than Kitchens, Service Point and Yorkes of Dundee.  

Brewfest, will return for its second year allowing visitors to taste, try and buy locally produced beers, wines and spirits.   Building on this success, sponsors for this attraction include Bottle Cap Brewery, Corney & Barrow and Rye and Soda.

New features in this year’s plans include a Braehead outdoor kitchen arena and a BBQ workshop sponsored by Weber – where Chris Tonner, Managing Director of Beetroot Restaurants will be delivering an outdoor cookery school.  A new area for masterclasses and demonstrations, including learning butchery skills, will also feature in the Thainstone Exchange indoor hall.

Visitors will feast on dishes from vendors at the local street market area and the Seafood Pavilion which will host a mixture of local seafood producers and fishmongers carrying out cookery demonstrations.
Young budding chefs will also have the opportunity to get involved with some friendly battles through the ‘Healthy Lunchbox Creation Competition’ – open to Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray primary school teams – and the ‘Aspiring Young Chef’ competition for young people aged 14 to 18. 
Belinda Miller, Head of Economic Development with Aberdeenshire Council, said: “These are exciting times for the food and drink sector in North-East Scotland given the renewed emphasise by both the private and public sector to invest in the industry. I know people love to taste and buy great local food and drink and that is why Taste of Grampian in 2016 will again showcase the best the region has to offer to all with this passion for quality and taste and Aberdeenshire Council is delighted to be a sponsor again this year.”