Chefs including Adam Reid, Lisa Allen and Andrew Nutter will take on the likes of Hawksmoor, Hispi and Manchester House
The origins of this sweet Lancashire treat (or ‘dead fly pie’) are as murky as its dried currant innards. Though what everyone does seem to agree on is that the Eccles Cake was almost certainly born in Eccles, that a bloke called James Birch was shifting them from his corner shop on Vicarage Road as early as 1793, and that to taste are endlessly more enjoyable than anything ever conjured up in Yorkshire.
The word ‘Eccles’ is in fact a definitive of the Greek word ‘Ecclesia’, meaning assembly, which is apt, given that some of the finest cooking talent from across the North are currently being assembled for what organisers are billing as the ‘Ultimate Eccles Cake Off’.
Chefs including Adam Reid of The French, Lisa Allen of Michelin-starred Northcote, Stosie Madi of The Parker’s Arms and Andrew ‘Rochdale Man of the Year’ Nutter will go up against the likes of Hawksmoor, Manchester House and Hispi (pictured below) as each puts forward their version of the famous ‘currant sandwich’ to a panel of judges including chef Marc Wilkinson of Fraiche in the Wirral, and Guardian food columnist Tony Naylor.
Tickets for the live event, to be held in Didsbury on Monday 24 April, cost £25 and include a welcome drink, three courses and the chance, we assume, to tuck into a fair few Eccles Cakes (more here).
Proceeds from the ticket sales will be put towards Not Just Soup, a charity dedicated to feeding Manchester’s homeless, and another charity of the winning chef’s choice.
Event organiser, food blogger and current Eccles Cake eating world champion, Hungry Hoss, said: “The rules are pretty simple: the Eccles Cake creations can be traditional or inventive but need to be 'recognisable' in some way as Eccles Cakes… and I get to keep the leftovers.”
Participants so far include: Adam Reid - Adam Reid at The French / Chef Richard Sharples - Hispi Bistro / Chef Mary-Ellen McTague – Aumbry / Chef Lisa Allen – Northcote / Chef Andrew Nutter - Nutters Restaurant / Chef Steven Smith - Freemasons at Wiswell / Chef Stosie Madi - The Parkers Arms / Chef Rob Owen Brown / Hare & Hounds / Hawksmoor / Manchester Doughnut Co. / Manchester House / T & Cake Café / The Fat Loaf / The Rat Inn.
The event is sponsored by Bookers, R. Noone & Son, Boutinot Wines, Amato Products and Cave Direct Beer.