Michelin star-studded Kantina Weekender will take place at Escape To Freight Island

Vaccines are being rolled out across the country and everybody’s hoping that better times are going to be here sooner rather than later. None are more optimistic than the folks at runaway success story (even in a pandemic) Escape To Freight Island which has just announced a massive line-up for a food and drink festival in May. 

In true team spirit, the event will see tag teams of local food stars collaborating on a unique offering

The team have put together the bill for a huge food and drink festival over the May bank holiday weekend featuring some of Manchester’s biggest names from Michelin Man(a) Simon Martin to Where The Light Gets In’s Sam Buckley (who recently picked up one of Michelin’s fully compostable Green Stars). 

Other kitchen royalty include pie queens Mary Ellen McTague (of The Creameries) and Stosie Madi (of The Parkers Arms) as well as Gary Usher (Hispi etc), and the supreme culinary teams from Tast, Higher Ground, Dishoom and more.

Drinks will come from The Jane Eyre (already residents at Freight) as well as Northern Monk, Pomona Island and more. There will be some wine experts along for the ride too including Dom the Som aka Dynamite MC with others TBC.

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Escape To Freight Island launched last year with a festival atmosphere
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The Ticket Hall was unveiled at Freight later last year but hasn't had much chance to get out of the station Jody Hartley (and main pic)

Kantina Weekender is chalked up to run from Friday, 28 May to Monday, 31 May at Freight’s home at Depot Mayfield. ICYMI, Escape To Freight Island launched early last year with a festival atmosphere and an eye-popping portfolio of food and booze stalls, some revolving, some more permanent. The Ticket Hall at Freight was unveiled later last year but hasn't had much chance to get out of the station.

In true team spirit, the event will see tag teams of local food stars collaborating on a unique offering: Mary-Ellen McTague, from The Creameries in Chorlton, will pair with Great North Pies; Gary Usher from Elite Bistros will partner with Forever Changes; Tast of King Street and Baratxuri will join grill forces and Pippy Eats with Mi+Pho for noodle heaven. 

Joining Dan Hope of Escape to Freight Island’s Plant Grill and as a key part of the Kantina Weekender will be Sam Buckley, from the applauded Stockport-based restaurant Where The Light Gets In. Look out for our interview with Sam about his new Green Star soon. 

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Mary Ellen McTague will be cooking and her Eat Well MCR project will be supported by the event

Sam Buckley said; "I'm absolutely delighted to finally be cooking at Escape to Freight Island. It’s an incredible space in the heart of the city and Kantina Weekender will be a great return for food fans across the country.”

As ever, during Kantina Weekender, Escape to Freight Island will host some impressive and eclectic live entertainment and there will be talks, tastings and more on stage over the weekend. More details on that TBC.

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The poster reads like the stuff of dreams

Dan Morris, managing director of Escape To Freight Island said: “Kantina Weekender is an opportunity to finally come back together and share in the joy of food and drink. We are very proud to be able to showcase the talents of the Escape To Freight Island residents whilst they collaborate with some of the UK's most prestigious chefs, brewers, bartenders and all round hospitality heroes. Manchester’s food and drink scene is a special one and we can’t wait to celebrate it.”

Tickets are £35 per person but can be redeemed against food and booze at the event which is in association with lockdown heroes Eat Well MCR. A percentage will be added onto bills with the choice to opt-out of the donation.

We really, really hope this can go ahead. 

Kantina Weekender, Escape To Freight Island, Depot Mayfield, 11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PY

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