Steyne Gardens was packed with culinary delights this weekend as Worthing Food and Drink Festival returned for its seventh year.
The free event, run by the Town Centre Initiative in partnership with Proto Restaurant Group, which runs Fish Factory, Food and the Fat Greek Taverna has become ‘one of the biggest’ of its kind on the south coast.
Town centre manager Sharon Clarke estimated around 40,000 people visited over what she called a ‘phenomenal weekend’.
“It was so busy over both days,” she said.
“There was a great variety of food on offer and it was lovely to see people picnicking in the park with smiles on their faces.
“There was a real village green atmosphere.”
Demonstrations began on Saturday at 11am with Blast Science, followed by Northbrook College, Warwick Street Kitchen, Proto Restaurant Group, Giuseppes Lite, an ice cream competition and We are Food Pioneers Community Interest Company, concluding with a wine tasting and talk.
Blast Science returned on Sunday alongside Northbrook College, Giuseppes Lite, and Warwick Street Kitchen.
They were joined by Vice Puddings and the Dining Room and Jah Jyot Punjabi Street Food.
Sharon said 2,000 people turned out at 2pm for Worthing’s own BBC Masterchef 2018 champion Kenny Tutt giving a ‘wonderful’ demonstration.
Kenny has high hopes for Worthing as a gastro-destination. He said: “Worthing has some great restaurants and is in a beautiful location.
“I would like to see it established as the destination of choice for people to enjoy food of the highest quality.”
He was joined by The Singing Chef, Jean de Rien, the alter-ego of Jonathan Nulty and owner of The Dining Room in Worthing who sings as he cooks.
Jean said his ambition is to get the town recognised as a gastronomic hotspot – by offering fine dining to foodies who traditionally flock to Brighton.
During the show, Jean cooked up a storm by showing budding chefs how to turn liquid into ‘pearls’ a process called ‘spherification’.
His dishes of gin-cured salmon with lemon pearls and gin and tonic sorbet featured Slake Gin, which is distilled in Shoreham.
He said: “The festival grows each year and is a fantastic celebration of the best local food and drink.
“Myself, Kenny and other local chefs hope that by supporting events such as Worthing Food and Drink Festival, we can show people what the town has to offer and what calibre of top-quality, local food is available.
“Many people are moving out of Brighton to Worthing and the town is becoming more vibrant and diverse with the addition of new events, such as Worthing Pride. It’s exciting to see the heart of the town being regenerated and developing a real buzz.”