The Big Cookery Stage

A myriad of demonstrations will be taking place throughout the weekend with some top chefs and bakers. Located within the Festival Village.

The schedule may be subject to change.

Simon Brown


I’m a passionate foodie, TV cook, Cookery Theatre Compere and AGA demonstrator who just loves having fun in the kitchen.

I trained as a Home Economist in Manchester and began cooking professionally as a member of the Home Economics team at Miele, the German domestic appliance manufacturer, based just outside Oxford. I spent seven very happy years there, but got itchy feet and decided that I wanted to cook with and inspire a wider audience, so I began giving cookery demonstrations in the UK and Europe and met loads of fellow foodies along the way at exhibitions and food shows.

At the same time I was asked to cook on QVC for the first time and was immediately smitten by the shopping TV bug. So began a long and exciting career on a number of shopping channels, including Granada Shop!, eeZee TV and The Jewellery Channel.

In 2009 I returned to QVC as the regular guest presenter for their exclusive kitchenwares range, Cook’s Essentials. Since then I’ve spent many happy hours on air, explaining the great products I’m using and, hopefully, passing on my knowledge to inspire you to get cooking too. For a backstage insight into QVC and QVC recipes I’ve cooked on air plus a link to the QVC website, click on my QVC page.

As an Event Compere, I host cookery theatre stages at food festivals and events throughout the UK, from a marquee in a field to The Royal Geographical Institute in London. Corporate clients have included Tesco, Gaggenau, Kenwood, Kuhn Rikon and Magimix. For more information, go to my Cookery Stage Compere page.

I live in the West Country with my husband and my classic 1959 Armstrong Siddeley saloon.

Gennaro Contaldo

Born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast, Gennaro is widely known as one of the UK’s most loved chefs and the Italian legend who taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking.

Gennaro’s credits include the fabulous series ‘Jamie Cooks Italy’ for C4, two series of ‘Two Greedy Italians’ for BBC2 plus he has a channel on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube called ‘Gennaro’ as well as his own YouTube channel. Gennaro also regularly appears as the Italian food expert and as a top chef on ‘Saturday Kitchen’.

Gennaro has written over twelve cookery books, some of which have sold over 100,000 copies and been translated into a number of different languages. His most recent book ‘Gennaro’s Cucina: Hearty money-saving meals from an Italian Kitchen’ will be published in February 2023 and is a must have cookery book for all foodies.

Over the last few years, Gennaro has partnered with brands like Parmigiano Reggiano, Birra Moretti and Napolina and works with Italian holiday company Citalia, helping promote the best of Italian food and travel to his beloved Italy.

When he’s not working, he spends time relaxing and cooking with his family at their cottage in Norfolk and scouring Italy for new delights to share with his followers.

Photography credit:

John Whaite

John Whaite is a British Cook, Cookery Author, content creator and TV presenter. John appeared as the first all-male couple on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 and danced his way into the final alongside his professional partner Johannes Radebe. John also won the third series of The Great British Bake Off, and is a co-presenter on Channel 4’s hit primetime food investigation programme Food Unwrapped.

Since June 2020, John can be seen twice weekly as a presenter and cooking inspirational and achievable recipes on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch. In 2016 & 17 John co-presented 40 episodes of ITV’s food programme, Chopping Block with Rosemary Shrager.

His fifth book, A Flash in The Pan was published in August 2019, others books include Comfort: Food to Soothe the Soul which was chosen as a Book of the Year by BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme and Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients – his first non-baking cookery book. John is also known for his beautiful food photography and design which is displayed throughout all his work in publishing and on his very popular Instagram feed.

John’s love of and dedication to food, is closely matched by his hugely creative nature that is expressed through his food writing, photography and content creation. John has created hugely popular social media platforms with his Instagram, often showcasing beautiful photography and recipes. John has also written regularly for The Daily Telegraph and Delicious Magazine, and has been a recipe creator and presenter for the Waitrose online platforms.

John studied a 9-month diploma in patisserie at the revered Le Cordon Bleu in London. Prior to that, he gained a first-class Law degree from the University of Manchester after declining a place to study at Oxford University. John decided to hang up the gown and don the apron, a decision spurred on after he won The Great British Bake Off.

John is a popular brand ambassador and has worked with a number of leading blue chip food businesses. John also enjoys demonstrating his latest recipes, regularly appearing at some of the nation’s best food festivals and shows including BBC Good Food, The Cake & Bake Show and various regional food festivals across the country.

Charity is a huge part of John’s working life. He has raised over £40,000 for various charities including AKT and Mind by creating downloadable recipe books. In 2022 he completed a solo trek of the 100-mile West Highland Way in Scotland, raising funds for Red Cross Humanitarian Appeal for those displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. He is vocal ambassador for the subjects of inclusion, mental health and eating disorders

Giuseppe Dell’Anno

Born and bred in Italy, Giuseppe grew up in a family of passionate bakers, where food was the prime topic of conversation. He has inherited from his dad, a professional chef, the love for everythingcooked or baked. Winning the “Great British Bake Off” in 2021 sparked off his ambition to share hisfamily gastronomic knowledge far and wide.

After contributing to the show’s cookbook “A Bake For All Seasons” in 2021, he published his own, “Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes” in 2022. This went on to become the fastest selling new release on Amazon in December 2022, featured in Waterstones’ The Best Books of 2022: Food & Drink, and waslisted in Diana Henry’s Autumn 2022 Best Cookbooks in The Telegraph. His second book “Giuseppe’s Easy Bakes” has just been published!

Since becoming a full-time baker, Giuseppe has been dipping his toes in a variety of exciting activities, from writing weekly columns for Radio Times to hosting on-line baking classes on global platforms, from baking live on “Steph’s Packed Lunch” (Channel 4) to guest appearances on British and Italian TV.

Giuseppe has over 300k affectionate followers on social media, predominantly UK and US; his food-related posts never fail to capture thousands of views and his live events regularly sell out.

Syabira Yusoff

The Great British Bake Off Winner 2022

Syabira surprised and delighted the judges with her unusual flavour combinations and imaginative bakes. During the competition, she was awarded three consecutive Star Baker accolades and also a ‘Hollywood handshake’ during Halloween week.

Paul described her six-layered red velvet cake as ‘perfect’ and ‘better than his’.

Prue Leith said of her win: ‘She is creative… she practices like anything and she is imaginative; she just has the lot. She is a very skilful baker.’

Syabira was born and raised in Malacca in southern Malaysia. After studying for a BSc in Agriculture at Putra University, she worked as an Agronomist in a commercial breeding company. In 2013 she moved to the UK to pursue a PhD in Genetics and Genome Biology at the University of Leicester.

Although Syabira has been cooking since she was 12, she only started baking in 2017, making a red velvet cake to remind her of friends she missed in Malaysia (this was the last cake they had enjoyed together before she moved to the UK). She soon discovered she had a talent for baking and began giving a Malaysian twist to British classics, devising recipes such as Chicken rendang Cornish pasties.

Syabira’s experience as a researcher and her scientific knowledge helps her to understand the physics and chemistry of baking. She loves to experiment in the kitchen, working out the most exciting flavour combinations and compiling her discovery on essential tips and tricks in baking.

Janusz Domagala

Janusz Domagala or simply “Janusz” as he’s most commonly known, became the instant stand-outstar on 2022’s “Great British Bake Off” when he rightfully declared himself the ‘Star Caker in the Bake week” in episode one.

Having moved to the UK from Poland 11 years ago, the 34 year old baker not only achieved his dream of appearing on the show but also went through to the semi-finals and his popularity with the British (and international) public has only grown along with this journey.

Janusz has a fun, open, colourful view of the world and takes pride in all that he does in his professional and personal life.

A keen LGBT+ activist, Janusz currently lives in Brighton with his partner and their sausage dog, Nigel.

Since Bake Off, Janusz has featured on CBBC’s ‘Saturday Mashup’, was a guest on the Christmas special episode of ‘The Last Leg’ and has appeared in multiple publications including being named one of Heat magazines 2022 ‘Stars of the Year’.

Janusz is a natural in front of the camera and is keen to pursue more media work in television. 

His first book, “Baking With Pride” hits our shelves in May 2024!

David Atherton

David is a baker, food writer and podcaster from Yorkshire, and came to fame winning the 10th series of the Great British Bake Off in 2019.

As a nurse and public health specialist David likes to consider healthy eating when writing recipes. He has written 5 cookbooks aimed at getting people to love being in the kitchen. His“My First” children’s cookbook series features cooking and baking, but especially having fun. The books are fully illustrated so that the child can take ownership of the recipe – My First Cook Book, My First Green Cook Book, My First Baking Book, My First Christmas Cook Book. In 2019 David also published Good to Eat, a healthy eating cookbook for adults.

David is a regular judge for the Great British Food Awards and the World Marmalade Awards.

He currently lives in London with husband and rescue dog & cat, but takes every excuse to travel round the UK to sample the amazing local produce.

Dave Mooney

Food….where did the affair start?

Yeah, I’d love to tell you it was the truffle we foraged for as kids, the leafy vines that straddled our garden, the stunning markets bursting with local produce….in truth we didn’t have such things in downtown Ramsbottom in the 60’s! (how things have changed there NOW btw!)

So, I hear you say, did you learn at your Grandmothers knee, I bet your Mother was a wonderful cook ? Nope….all too busy working! Although I didn’t realise it at the time it was the glorious produce of the North that stirred my soul – we ate black pudding boiled in cauldron like pans on Bury market, fresh Lancashire cheese so crumbly we picked up bits for hours. And Tripe …the stench from hell but with a taste of heaven. Eccles cakes still warm from the bakery ….weird all this shizzle is the done thing now!!

Convinced that all our local food was surely rubbish I first set off for France. A static caravan in Frejus since you ask! Being English we naturally took loads of food with us; I mean what could the French Riviera give us that Ramsbottom couldn’t?! Truth was I was mesmerised, not by the masses of stunning fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and herbs, but you could buy an Emmental frappe…….!! A love had begun, La Belle France!

So, off to boarding school in Yorkshire – I loved it! The trips out to eat with my parents when they came to visit My Father, a printer in Colne, knew all the decent places….things were brewing!

Three hours after my last GCE ‘O’Level, I was heading back to France, working in restaurants, market gardens and markets, I inhaled the near obsession with provenance, the quality of the cooking and something just clicked……we had ALL of this in the Northwest of England – albeit not quite so sunny – but the fire inside me started!

Back to the Motherland, spells with Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White stoked the fire to another level and I then went to the restaurant my parents had acquired and off we went on the classic ‘posh’ French route. It worked for a while …..

La Belle Epoque, Knutsford, was fabulous – big, bold, busy, frequented by celebrities, yet recessions are no respecters of history – the sh*t ran deep – a solution was needed and my love of the Northwest had come full circle … on trend (it was the early 90’s remember!) was bury black pudding, salty Cheshire cheese, sandy local asparagus – sitting alongside classic dover sole, lobster and guinea fowl. The Belle Epoque ‘Brasserie’ was born and will always be a very special offspring!

Media offers started to come in from Regional and National TV, cooking with the Hairy Bikers, Simon Rimmer, and Matt Tebbutt are just a few of the amazing chefs I’ve been privileged to cook alongside, but my affair with the kitchen stove will always be my first love.

As the culinary and hospitality scene moves on and is ever changing, gastro pub chains come and go I am very happy to be involved in a variety of exciting new projects, offering my (coughs) XX years of experience as a consultant and enjoying demonstrating at some of the best food festivals in the country.

Steven Carter Bailey

Steven Carter-Bailey was a finalist on the 2017 series of The Great British Bakeoff and went on to win the 2019 New Years’ Day special. Friend and regular guest at the Thame Food Festival, Steven has taken his Bakeoff experience and forged his career in food. As a celebrity cake designer, Steven has made some incredible cakes for the likes of Sir Ian McKellan, Jade Thirlwall, and most recently was invited to the BAFTAs with a cake for Rebel Wilson.

Alongside his cakes and bakes, he is a regular contributor to TV and radio, and in 2021 he launched his chart topping podcast, Feed my Curiosity; where he interviews celebrity guests about their food loves and hates.

You can follow Steven and his antics over on Instagram – @spongecakesquaretin

Alex Hollywood

Alex Hollywood is a passionate home cook and family food writer with two popular cookery books, My Busy Kitchen and Cooking Tonight, under her belt as well as a devoted following on social media.

Alex’s food is quick simple and delicious. She incorporates flavours from her Scandinavian and French heritage and her ‘waste not want not’ attitude resonates with busy mums across the globe. Her no fuss approach to cooking has garnered her a loyal following on both Twitter and Instagram where she posts videos and recipes on a weekly basis. Her infectious humour and relatability were noticed by TV producers, resulting in her featuring on numerous programmes including ITV’s This Morning, Nadia’s Family Feasts and Ainsley’s Food We Love. Alex has also captivated audiences whilst hosting live cooking demos at the BBC Good Food Show, Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre, Thame Food Festival and Bradford Upon Avon Food Festival.

Jürgen Krauss

Jürgen was born and grew up in a village near Freiburg in the Black Forest. During his childhood he enjoyed playing with the plentiful tools that were around – his grandpa was a miner, and his father is a master locksmith. At 12 years old he managed to make a noise on his father’s trombone, and he has been playing ever since, in the town band, in specialist ensembles for renaissance music, and more recently in a community big band.

His love of baking started as soon as he could stand, helping his mother when she made Linzer Torte or the many varieties of biscuits for Christmas.

His love of science also started early, he sporadically read a children’s encyclopaedia he had been given for Christmas, dipping in and out at random when he had the leisure. Later he also had a chemistry set, and Physics seemed to come to him naturally at school.

After Abitur and military service, he studied Physics in Freiburg.

He re-oriented and for a while split his time between early music gigs and kitchen fitting, before settling into IT and computer programming around 1999.

His musical development brought him in contact with The Feldenkrais Method (body work), which he studied, and he graduated as a practitioner in 2002.

The Feldenkrais Method brought him to a course in Lewes, where he met his wife, and he moved to Brighton soon after, where he lives with his wife and son.

Jürgen works as a database administrator and analyst programmer for a job agency.

Apart from baking and music Jürgen enjoys outdoor activities (hiking, running, swimming), engineering, architecture, and anything that tickles his interest.

Jürgen started making bread in earnest from about 2010, when he was longing for German style bread, and it is his strongest baking skill.

Making bread has taught him to work systematically and with precision, and he used this successfully in the Great British Bake Off. He also applied his sense for flavour combinations, architecture, and engineering to create his memorable bakes.

Val Stones

Val was born in Yorkshire and began baking with her Nana and Aunts who all loved baking and passed on the love to her. As Val grew she practiced her baking skills with her Mum and whilst holidaying with Aunts.

Whilst at Teacher Training College she continued to bake for her fellow students often foraging for ingredients and “ borrowing “ apples from the college orchard to make blackberry and apple jam. Val’s house on campus was the only one to be scented with scones, cakes and pies which often drew in a crowd.
Val met her husband whilst they were still at school aged sweet sixteen and so her family extended to include her to be Mum in law and her mother. From them she learned the skills of cooking on a coal Yorkshire range, how to milk a cow and make her own butter.

After over 50 years of baking with love for friends and family, Val Stones presents her first cookbook, The Cake Whisperer. Whether you are a seasoned cook looking for new ideas or a total beginner, this collection of tried and tested recipes is perfect for anyone who wants to put a smile on the face of their loved ones.

Named after Val’s technique of listening to her bakes, the recipes in The Cake Whisperer have been chosen by Val to provide the fundamental skills and basic recipes that any home cook should have – including how to listen to your cakes! Val doesn’t want you to follow her recipes to the letter, but hopes that people will get creative, make changes and end up with something they love.

At its heart The Cake Whisperer is a family cookbook. Val grew up in multi-generational home, baking with her Nana, her mum and her aunts. Her recipes have been taste tested by countless sticky-fingered children at the buffet tables that marked generations of birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. They are her husband’s favourites and the things that her siblings Suse, Steve and Denise request every time she visits. Each one has received a seal of approval from the only critics that Val cares about – her family.

Independently minded as ever, Val chose to self-publish, packing this book with her unique personality and charm. Each recipe is accompanied by anecdotes, notes and comments which tell you the inspiration that lies behind her bakes. As well as irresistible sausage rolls, cakes and biscuits The Cake Whisperer also contains Val’s secret recipe for friendship, which she demonstrates using hand-picked photos of her friends from across the globe.

A retired Headteacher, Val of course knows the value of a little group work and has enjoyed sharing the drafts of this book with her fellow Great British BakeOff contestants. Andrew Smyth, 2016 finalist and also the person setting up Val’s online shop said, “Val’s voice is on every page. Working through these recipes is like being back in the tent, Val in front of me chatting away and dancing as she bakes. I’ve even started listening to my own baking!”

Every detail of this book shows the way that thinking of others is at the centre of who Val is. The fonts and page colours have been chosen to make it easier for person with dyslexia to read, something which Val herself has struggled with. Val is also proud that every image is glossy, “…so you can wipe it when you spill”, something else she knows every baker has experiences. Most of all though, every story, picture and recipe has been carefully selected because Val thinks it will make someone happy.

The Cake Whisperer is available for purchase at RRP £12.95.

For all press enquiries please contact,

Lucie Ellis

“My long career in food began in my early teens living in a flat above my parent’s café in Thame and cooking with my Dad in the kitchen on weekends. There followed 20 years in the hospitality industry working in restaurants, cooking on yachts in the Caribbean, and a long stint in the world of event catering. I finally opened my own restaurant, The Milk Shed, near Oxford in 2013, which I sold after an amazing 10 years and since then have been working on new projects from home in Cornwall. In August 2023, along with my husband I took on a small space in Padstow where we are spending time turning it into a multipurpose kitchen to bring to life the next chapter – a work in progress but I’m very excited to get my apron back on!”



Paula McIntyre

Paula is currently on our tv screens in her warm and delightful BBC series – Paula McIntyre’s Hamley Kitchen. Where she looks to the past and her own Ulster-Scots heritage to serve up mouthwatering recipes crafted from the finest local ingredients.

Having trained in Culinary Arts at the prestigious Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, USA, Paula McIntyre returned to the UK in 1993 to open her own restaurant in Manchester. A busy and thriving eatery, The Undrie picked up several awards for fine dining including Manchester Evening News newcomer of the year and was featured in several guidebooks and magazines including City Life and Caterer and Hotelkeeper.

Returning to Northern Ireland in 1998, Paula worked as Head Chef in several establishments including Ghan House in Carlingford and Fontana in Holywood.

In 2000 Paula appeared as a guest chef on “Ready, Steady, Cook” beating Paul Rankin in her second appearance. She has been a guest chef on BBC Northern Ireland’s television coverage of the Balmoral Show and featured as a chef on the fly on the wall documentary on the catering industry in Northern Ireland, “A La Carte”. In Autumn 2001 Paula was given her own TV series on BBC 2 NI called “Taste for Adventure”. She appeared as a guest chef with Eamonn Holmes on BBC 1 NI’s “Summer Season” programme and was a reporter on food issues for BBC 1 NI’s “Inside Out” programme. She has also been a guest chef twice on RTE 1’s “Afternoon Show”.

A regular contributor to Radio Ulster, Paula was asked to develop her own series. The result “McIntyre Magic” was broadcast on Saturday Mornings and commissioned 3 times. Since 2004 has been hosting the cooking slot on Radio Ulster’s weekly “Saturday Magazine” show with John Toal. She has also presented the whole 2 hour show in John’s absence. She also contributes regularly to BBC NI news, “Talkback”, “ The Book Programme”, “On your Behalf”, and the “Nolan Show”. She also did live cooking into “Carton and Boomer’s” live breakfast show on New York radio from the Bushmills distillery. She appeared on BBC Radio 4’s “Kitchen Cabinet” Programme, hosted by Jay Rayner, as a local expert. She featured on a special Radio 4 Food Programme broadcast from Northern Ireland and also as part of a special “Terra Madre” programme. She has also guested on William Caulfield’s comedy show for Radio Ulster and has appeared in his panto!

Paula lectures in catering on the Professional Cookery programme in Northern Regional College.

Additionally she specialises in fine dining and catering for a variety of events and was chef for singer Brian Kennedy’s TV series “Kennedy on Song”. Guests on the programme included Lulu, Barry McGuigan, Michael Ball and Maire Brennan. She guest chefs at special events in Montalto House, both hosting lifestyle days and cooking for special guests like the President of Ireland and Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

She has worked as chef demonstrator and live cookery theatre host for the past few years with FoodNI at events like Balmoral Show, Glenarm Castle Festival, Flavours of Foyle Seafood Festival and Clogher Valley Show. She attended the House of Commons this year to cook food for members of both houses to showcase food from Northern Ireland.

As part of the Slow Food Terra Madre Festival, Paula represented the United Kingdom Chef Alliance and cooked a dish representative of Northern Irish produce ( consisting eels, apples, traditional bread and salt ling) in the Terra Madre Kitchen at the event.

She works for different food companies ( including White’s Oats, Kerry Foods, Allied Bakeries, Spar, Kerry Foods, Cloughbane Farm and Dromona) developing recipes, food styling and hosting events. She recently cooked breakfast, using local produce, for the launch of the Balmoral Show.

She is judge in the BBC Radio Four Food and Farming Awards, judging the streetfood and takeaway category with Giorgio Locatelli.

She had a regular cooking column in Sunday Life newspaper for 2 years. Paula contributes to various papers in Northern Ireland including the Irish News, Newsletter and Belfast Telegraph. She currently writes a weekly column in Farming Life.

Ben Ebbrell

Ben Ebbrell is Founder and Chef of Sorted Food… on a mission turn more people into awesome home cooks. With a passion for knocking down barriers and getting people into the kitchen it’s all about entertaining and inspiring with food and friendship at its core.
the best food festival in england

Suzy Pelta

Stage Compere

Suzy Pelta is the winner of ITV1’s Lorraine Cake Club Competition and is a recipe writer, food judge, demonstration chef and lover of leopard print and pink lipstick!

As well as food blogging for The Metro, judging for The Great Taste Awards and writing ‘Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes’ for Ryland Peters and Small, Suzy is Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party Queen & each year creates the signature cake for the campaign.

For more information and the latest news from Suzy, visit her blog or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.