Harrogate Convention Centre set to host Great White Food Festival with Marco Pierre White

Harrogate Convention Centre is set to host The Great White Food Festival with Marco Pierre White and his family and friends this October.

By Lucy Chappell
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 2:33 pm

Up to 15,000 people are expected to attend the three-day festival, which takes place from October 28 to 30, with a variety of interactive foodie experiences and delights on offer.

The festival is inspired by and centred around the celebrity chef who began his career in Harrogate.

Dubbed the godfather of modern cooking, Marco Pierre White is a renowned chef, restaurateur and TV personality.

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Marco Pierre White is set to host the Great White Food Festival this October at the Harrogate Convention Centre

He has led the country's restaurant scene for 25 years and helped kick-start the careers of chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, both of whom trained under him.

Steve Moncrieff, Organiser of the festival, said: “The Great White Food Festival offers something very different.

"It’s a consumer show that really showcases and celebrates the food and drink sector in our region, as well as being a platform for the national brands.”

Meeting Marco resulted in the idea to mark the chef’s heritage in Harrogate, where he began his chef career at the St George Hotel 45 years ago.

Paula Lorimer, Director of Harrogate Convention Centre, said: “It’s fantastic to add new exciting events to our annual calendar.

"Exhibitions are key drivers of serious footfall, so are vital to the district’s future as the economy continues to recover from Covid.”

Harrogate Convention Centre has bounced back strongly after it had to close off as an events venue as it was redeployed by the NHS as a Nightingale Hospital.

A typical year of events sees more than 150,000 visitors to Harrogate Convention Centre, with an economic impact of £35m, which supports many local businesses and thousands of jobs, particularly in the hospitality trade.

Marco left Allerton High School in Leeds with no qualifications and trained as a chef at the Hotel St George in Harrogate, before moving to the Box Tree in Ilkley and on to London.

By the age of 33, he became the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.

Steve added: “Marco is passionate about Yorkshire, and what it does from a food perspective.

"We want food to be the hero of the show, along with Marco, and to showcase the provenance of Yorkshire, because we believe Yorkshire is the food capital of the UK.

"We are expecting to attract foodies from all over the United Kingdom to Harrogate, but there’s also a strong synergy already with Harrogate audiences.”

The hope is to make The Great White Food Festival an annual event at Harrogate Convention Centre.

The festival will also feature Marco's children, Luciano and Mirabelle, who have followed their father into cooking.

It will take over three halls of the Harrogate Convention Centre as well as the iconic Royal Hall.

Programme highlights include the White Heat Theatre, with live cooking demos from Marco, an artisan market, a bespoke Deliciously Yorkshire market showcasing local produce, Yorkshire chefs’ theatre, mixology masterclasses, book signings, a plant and organic kitchen, and VIP experience with access to meet and greet the chefs, including Marco himself.

Steve hopes the festival will be aspirational and inspiring for future chefs too, and plans to engage local education and charitable organisations with the event.

Gemma Rio, Head of Destination Harrogate, said: “Food and drink is a lynch pin of Harrogate’s tourism offer.

"Our spa town is famed for its quality brands with national profile such as Harrogate Spring Water, Yorkshire Tea, Bettys, Slingsby Gin and a host of independent craft beers and food producers.

"What’s more, we have an unrivalled restaurants and café scene, so the Great White Food Festival fits perfectly.

"We are excited to welcome this innovative and fitting event to Harrogate District’s event calendar.”

For more information about The Great White Food Festival and to book tickets, head to www.greatwhitefestival.com