Markets, masterclasses and more as food festival returns to Manchester

Celebrating its 25th year (me too babe, me too), Manchester Food and Drink Festival has announced the first events of its 2022 programme.

Think of this year's programme as the foodie equivalent of Take That’s Greatest Hits. It Only Takes a Minute to book tickets to this year's events. Never Forget that the festival team has been doing this for a quarter of a century and will be celebrating the best bits of that legacy this year. And of course, Everything Changes so expect lots of exciting new stuff too.

Some of the city’s restaurants will do you a great deal meal or drinks package to celebrate MFDF’s big birthday.

Taking place from 15-26 September 2022, Cathedral Gardens will be at the heart of the action as per. Expect top-notch street food traders, bars and artisan producers as well as masterclasses and takeovers. The free-to-enter Hub will be open over two weekends:15-18 and 21-25 September from noon to 11pm - and we’ll be propping up the bar til the bitter end as usual.

This year's food fest is so fire

The hottest trend in Manchester at the mo is cooking with fire (geddit?) and this year sees the festival’s first-ever “Festival Fire Pit Takeover” (cue pyrotechnics). Sponsored by BBQ-wizards Weber, some of Manchester’s top chefs will be going all Arthur Brown on our asses by throwing all manner of edible delights into a crazy world of flames. 

Brazilian brainbox Caroline Martins and her fellow countryman Francisco Martinez will be setting more things on fire than Jair Bolsonaro and the offaly brilliant Robert Owen Brown will join in the fun and flames too. Get in the BB-queue early for that one.

Chef Caroline Martins On Great British Menu
Chef Caroline Martins will set things on fire in a delicious way Image: Great British Menu

We love a good artisan food market as much as the next middle-aged, middle-class kohlrabi botherer, and MFDF always comes up with the goods. This year you can expect New Market Dairy, The Flat Baker and Dghnt amongst others so don’t forget to bring a tote bag or two. Stalls for this are open both weekends from noon til 7pm. We do NOT advise you to buy loads of lovely stuff and then get so drunk that you leave your packed tote under a picnic table as some kind soul bundles you into a taxi.

Get booking those cookery demonstrations 

The Hub will also host the Octopus Cookbook Confidential (no relation) demo kitchen on Saturday 24 September with top chefs and “industry experts” getting stuck into cookery demos, conversations and debates (see feature box).  Tickets are free but limited so booking is advised. 

The line up for the Octopus Cookbook Confidential

  • Kate Humble & Lia Leendertz: The joy of the outdoors - Eating & Cooking with the Seasons
  • Edd Kimber: Pudding Love! - discussing our love of puddings from childhood to becoming professionals and everything in between
  • Pip Payne & Nicky Corbishley: Tips, ideas and hacks for putting dinner on the table every night without breaking the bank
  • Joe Woodhouse, Josh Katz & David Bez: From the swede to the courgette - why we should all be eating more veg and all the veggie inspiration you could hope for
  • Jeremy Pang: School of Wok Chinese Cooking Demo
  • Rahul Mandal: The Baking Surgery
  • Jaega Wise vs Joel Harrison in conversation with Neil Ridley: Beer vs Cocktails

More exciting names TBA

New Century launches with a cork pop

New Century Hall Refurbishment Manchester 3
Where better to knock back some champers than New Century? Image: New Century

But there's more outside the hub. If you’ve been paying close attention to the development of the exciting new music venue and food hall New Century in Manchester’s NOMA district, you’ll be glad to hear one of its first events will be an MFDF piss up, ahem, we mean, civilised wine and fizz tasting

Expect seasoned swirl, sniff and slurpers like Heaton Moor’s Cork of the North, Prestwich’s Grape to Grain and sake specialists UKiYO Republic to help you to detect notes of plum, oyster shell and sweaty horse saddle. 

2020 02 05 Tast Beetroot Copy
A £25 dinner at Tast? Where do we sign up? Image: Confidentials

Meal deals with a difference

An exciting addition for 2022, given even more of our money will be going on utility bills in Autumn, is the £25 for 25 years menu collaboration where some of the city’s restaurants will do you a great deal meal or drinks package to celebrate MFDF’s big birthday. Space age Northern Quarter Thai BBQ District will be creating a £25 drinks pairing menu to complement its tasting menus while Mi and Pho, Embankment Kitchen, Three Little Words, Shoryu Ramen, Tast, Society and more will be creating special £25 menus for the event.

Of course, this is just the beginning, with more MFDF fun to be announced soon. Download the MFDF app (Apple | Android) to keep up to date with new, book events and plan your weekend with precision. 

Main image: Josh Katz courtesy of MFDF

Read next: Our picks from Manchester's gig calendar for August 2022

Read again: 'It sure fits the post-apocalypse pandemic mood' - District, Oldham Street, reviewed

Get the latest news to your inbox

Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!