Sorry for the mega late-night posting – I have not long been ‘home’ from a very fun, but fairly surreal night!
I don’t know about the rest of the country, but today the north has been positively awash with non-stop rain and as my date for the day had to cancel at the last minute, I decided to have a bit of a break from Festival shenanigans and instead do a little exploring of the local area.
Unfortunately, this did mean that I was going to miss today’s headline star – none-other than Mr Ainsley Harriott himself – which was a real shame, but it has been a fairly full on few days, so I figured a bit of a rest was in order.
Well, that was until I heard from my buddy Rosie Cake-Diva that tonight’s evening entertainment was set to be an absolute riot and we had to be there. The Sunday Club, with Simon Wood of WOOD Manchester and Andrew Nutter of Nutters Restaurant, would be featuring a live Comedy Cook Off! Well, clearly this wasn’t an event to be missed, but more on that later!
In the meantime, I decided to head into Bury town centre, where I was hoping I would discover a handy Wetherspoon’s – I have a bit of a weakness for a Wetherspoon’s veggie breakfast you see. The town didn’t disappoint on that front, but unfortunately, the only parking I could find close enough to the pub to avoid drowning was cash only and I wasn’t prepared to park further away. You see, I’d made the mistake of coming away without either a coat OR an umbrella. Not my brightest moment, I’m sure you’ll agree.
I figured I’d head to somewhere under cover instead and remembered visiting the Trafford Centre when we had come up to Cake International Manchester in the past. Yeah, that was a good idea on a Bank Holiday weekend…
When we’d come up for the Cake International shows, we stayed in a Premier Inn, just across the car park from the Trafford Centre itself – meaning that we had never actually had to contend with the Trafford Centre car parks. Oh, my word! I did manage to find a space eventually, but I don’t think I could have been any further from the entrance if I tried – cue a mad, sodden dash across the car park.
I did have fun exploring the centre though, in spite of how busy it was and may have picked up a couple of new books (I’m hoping you don’t remember what I said about not buying any more books while I am away) – oh, and an umbrella! Hooray!
After that, it was back to the hotel for a chill, before it was time to meet up with my gorgeous date for the evening.
I have to be honest, it has been really fantastic to be able to spend some of my time at the Bolton Food & Drink Festival with Rose, because she has been involved with the event for so long now that she knows absolutely everyone. Which means that I have been able to meet some truly amazing people – and I don’t mean the special guests either, but rather the staff of Bolton City Council. It is clear that this event is so incredibly important to council employees at all levels and it has been a pleasure to share it with them this weekend.
But anyway, I digress… On to the evening’s festivities!
As I explained earlier, the Sunday Club event was an adult-only event, during which the two celebrity chefs would be taking part in almost a Ready Steady Cook-style cook off, while hilarious comedian Steve Royle compered the night. We were promised laughs a-plenty and a sumptuous burger with a variety of garnishes to create our own masterpieces – basically building our own burgers at our tables!
As the boys were presented with their bags of goodies, we were presented with our burgers (including a thoroughly tasty veggie option for me – although there was a moment there when I thought I would be sent packing with a flea in my ear!).
There were so many options on the table to help us be as creative as possible with our burger-building and we were encouraged to tweet our results using the hashtag #boltonfoodfestival as there would be a prize for the best one. Luckily Rose hadn’t listened to my advice to leave her Mary Poppins-esque handbag in the car and we realised that she had a random packet of black sugarpaste in her bag! Clearly this was going to be a chance for her to play to her strengths and get creative (although black is a fairly limiting colour on its own).
I convinced Rose to create a follow up to last year’s Big Ben and this year’s Little Ben, by creating Benny Burger. I’m sure you’ll agree that he’s absolutely adorable (including his cheese eyes and real bacon)!
In the meantime, Simon and Nutter were hard at work on the stage, with Simon creating a pigeon dish and, in the same amount of time, Nutter creating so many dishes, I couldn’t really keep track of them!
Some volunteers were called up to judge the results of their endeavours and Nutter was declared champion, for the second year running. It was ok though, because Simon won MasterChef after all. 😉
After that, we were into the serious comedy part of the evening. The chefs were next faced with a three-egg omelette challenge (think Saturday Kitchen), not realising that Mike Harrison of Chef to Go (the lovely chap who had been hard at work cooking our burgers) had screwed Nutter over by hard-boiling his eggs! Things instead descended into a round of egg roulette, with a poor member of the audience falling foul of the raw egg!
As the evening began to wind up, the results of the Build Your Own Burger Challenge were announced and we were delighted that Rosie came in in third place – winning a bottle of champagne – while second and first went to these creative individuals.
For those of us who stayed on, the event was followed up with a live Q&A with Simon and Nutter and, if you have ever heard Andrew Nutter share any of his anecdotes, you’ll know that I literally cannot publish any of them here at all. They are strictly NSFW!
I’d love to be able to say more, but we all agreed that what is said in the tent, stays in the tent – well, unless you happened to be walking past! Oops!
Our brilliant evening was brought to a close with comedian Steve showing off his incredible juggling skills, inspiring Rosie to show off her own party piece, which I may have caught on video. If you want to see it, I could probably be persuaded to post it in the Mr Baker’s Blog Facebook group if enough people ask – I guess you’ll have to let me know in the comments… 😉
All in all, it was a really fun night and I had a great time – a massive thank you to Rose for inviting me along and to the wonderful Bolton Team for having us.
Tomorrow is the final day of the festival and I’m hoping to spend the day running around after another of my gorgeous northern lovelies – Kay Gajra of Kaykes. To find out what we get up to, hit the subscribe button to the right (or at the bottom of the page if on mobile) and don’t forget to hit confirm in the email I send you.
Until then, I’d best get to bed! Sweet dreams… x