Saturday, 27 August 2011

I chat to Michael Caines at Bolton Food & Drink Festival

On Friday I had the pleasure of visiting Bolton Food and Drink Festival.

My excitement has been building for weeks as organisers set out to make it the biggest event ever.
And big it is, with extra stalls, cookery demos, and even more goodies to sample.
(I tasted chicken and pepper paella from the traditional market stall, and a Manchester Tart chocolate bar from The Ramsbottom Chocolate Café.)

Now in its sixth year, it’s a four-day event showcasing the best in food and drink.
Celebrity chefs are making appearances over the weekend, including star of I’m A Celebrity... Gino D’Acampo; the Hairy Bikers, aka David Myers and Simon King; and Saturday Kitchen presenter and top chef James Martin.

Yesterday, I spoke to two Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines, of Abode in Manchester, about where his love of food came from and how he copes with cooking under pressure.

“I was one of six children,” he said, “and my passion grew from growing up in a large family, sitting around the table at meal times and eating and drinking together, that’s what it’s all about. We used to grow our own vegetables and get involved with food and cooking.
“A lot of people say they don’t have time to cook, but if you prepare things the day before it can be a joy to cook, I find it very therapeutic.
“But when you do live TV, like Saturday Kitchen, you only have eight minutes, it’s live so you can’t swear and you can’t go over time.”

The chef cooked three dishes at the festival: vegetable and herb soup; roasted curried monkfish with mussel and saffron sauce; and honey-glazed duck with mushroom sauce.

He added: “The demos are a bit hectic but I want to make them fun and engaging, and hopefully people will go away and buy some ingredients and have a go at the recipes themselves.

“I’m so impressed with the festival this year, it’s just phenomenal. There are lots of regional producers and it’s a great location in the heart of the town. And as always you get a warm welcome when you come to Bolton and I haven’t stopped smiling since I got here.

“These events are important because they support the local economy and keep producers and farmers in business and they provide an event in the community for everybody to engage.

“At a time when some communities have been questioning the social fabric of society and times are tough, events like this give people the chance to celebrate life through food and drink.”

For details of events, visit


  1. Thought I'd join in the cooking fun! Two weeks off so time to create some proper food. Made a tea loaf - throw loads of dried fruit (I used sultanas, cranberries, apricots, figs and chopped pecans nuts) into 1/2pt of tea with some brown sugar. Leave to soak. Add some flour and an egg and pop it into the oven. Result - delicious with butter.
    Also made some fruit and nut cookies - very simple. Beat brown sugar and butter until fluffy, add flour, oats, egg, glace cherries and mixed nuts. Put blobs on a baking tray, stick in oven, voila - no more Tesco digestives. Even hubby says he is "partial" - that means they will be gone by Wednesday!

  2. Thanks Lynn! These both sound amazing!
    I really want to have a go, especially at the biscuits, although I will have to hide them from Paul, he's terrible for biscuits when he's got a brew in his hand.
    Could you let us know the quantities please? Or is just a case of guess-work? I'm not as experienced a baker as you...

  3. Interesting interview, nice one Sarah. Gutted I missed the food and drink festival, its always fab, next time.

  4. Those both sound great Lynn, must try them too.