Saturday, 23rd May 2015, 09:00 AM - Sunday, 24th May 2015, 17:00 PM

Top chefs appear at North's top foodie event

Thousands of people descended on Malton Food Lovers Festival to enjoy a weekend which organisers hailed as the biggest and best in its seven-year history.Headline act Levi Roots was joined by a host of culinary stars including Prue Leith and Valentine Warner on a sun-soaked Saturday and Sunday with more than 20,000 visitors coming from Ryedale, the rest of the UK and overseas, including foodies from Holland and America.

The event, which continues to grow every year, is now established as the North of England’s biggest food festival – also cementing Malton’s reputation as the “Food Capital of Yorkshire”.

Food producers, retailers and the general public all agreed that they had never seen the town so busy, giving the district’s tourism industry another welcome shot in the arm following the success of the recent Tour de Yorkshire.

MALTON FOOD LOVERS --- The Malton Food Lovers Festival 2015 is held in the market town of Malton. // At Groovy Moo; (l-r) Valentine Warner, Michelle Walker and Tom Naylor-Leyland. Saturday 23rd May 2015. HARRY ATKINSONAlongside the raft of stalls around Malton’s Market Place, there were culinary masterclasses led by Prue Leith as well as Question Time sessions with Valentine Warner, Stephanie Moon and Levi Roots, who also headlined the festival’s inaugural Saturday night party with his 12-piece band.

“I love being back in Yorkshire celebrating food and music, ” said Levi. “I was here in the early stages of Reggae Reggae Sauce and I’m honoured to return as part of a line-up of some of our best food talent in the UK. The vibe in Malton is electric and among market stalls and music, it’s full of smiling faces.”

Prue Leith added: “What is happening in Malton should be a model for every small market town in England. The Malton Food Lovers Festival is a focus for all the North’s artisans and a great celebration of a reviving market town.”

MALTON FOOD LOVERS --- The Malton Food Lovers Festival 2015 is held in the market town of Malton. // The market place is packed with stalls and visitors, including; (front l-r) Hayley Davies and Lucy Davies. Saturday 23rd May 2015. HARRY ATKINSON

There was also praise for Tom Naylor-Leyland, organiser of the Malton Food Lovers Festival, from TV chef Valentine Warner.

“We are very aware that there is something more long term going on here, ” he said. “I think extraordinary things could happen in this town, led by someone who cares for it and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.”

Speaking after the festival, Mr Naylor-Leyland said: “Malton is an amazing town, and the region is packed full of talented food producers and creative individuals who work hard to make Malton the food capital of Yorkshire. This year’s festival was the biggest and the best yet, with new formats for the chefs and a festival party on the Saturday. The two days of food lovers’ paradise really gave us something to celebrate and enjoy. I believe we have the best food festival of the North.”

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