Merseyside's top telly chefs lead the charge

'DEMO and dine” they’re calling it.

Rather than being a method of political engagement favoured by champagne socialists – a placard-waving stroll to St George’s Hall followed by several delicious courses at Fraiche – it’s actually a new feature at this year’s Liverpool Food and Drink Festival in Sefton Park.

The festival itself is now a fixture in the city’s restaurant calendar, and with ten years of feasting and carousing behind it, this annual slap-up feed will be celebrating its first decade in familiar style come September.

But those who fancy getting a bit more intimate with their favourite locally-linked chefs might find the new demo and dine concept to their taste.

Taking place in a “specially created pop-up restaurant” at the festival, the event will be hosted by Simon Rimmer of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. Visitors will listen in as Rimmer and his guests – Nisha Katona from Mowgli, Paul Askew from The Art School, and Aiden Byrne from Manchester House – share “anecdotes, tips and top secrets” while also demonstrating how to whip up something delicious.

Simon Rimmer

And when the chit-chat’s over, everyone will tuck into an exclusive meal prepared by one of the chefs.

The demo and dine celebrity line-up will be familiar to those who have followed the region’s culinary twists and turns over recent years.

Since founding Greens in West Didsbury back in 1990, Wallasey-born Rimmer has run restaurants, presented a mixed bag of TV shows and is particularly remembered for his bantering telly partnership with Tim Lovejoy.

Nisha Katona is the barrister-turned-restaurateur whose three Mowgli-branded Indian street food outlets have built a passionate word-of-mouth following across both Liverpool and Manchester.

Paul Askew has been cooking round the Hope Street area for many years and is now Chef Patron at The Art School on Sugnall Street, one of The Sunday Times’ top 100 restaurants in the UK. He has taken part in every Liverpool Food and Drink Festival since it began in 2007, and doesn’t look like swerving the Sefton Park session any time soon.

And then there’s Aidan Byrne, originally from Kirkby but now leading the charge at the acclaimed Manchester House where he has taken that other city’s dining scene by storm. At just 22, at the Dorchester, he became the youngest chef ever to win a Michelin star.

Says Rimmer: “It’s a real honour to be hosting the culinary feast, which will showcase such talented local chefs as Aiden, Paul and Nisha. They are all great ambassadors for the city’s food and drink sector and I love the ‘demo and dine’ format. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”

So whether you prefer the demo side of things or you’re definitely a fan of the dining, perhaps this new Food and Drink Festival feature could be your way of celebrating a decade of doing it in the open air this September.

The Liverpool Food and Drink Festival 2017 takes place on September 16 and 17 in Sefton Park. Tickets to Simon Rimmer’s demo and dine event cost £29.50 and must be booked in advance. Sessions start at 11.30am, 2.15pm and 4.45pm.