10 & 11 October 2020 wellsfoodfestival.bighams.com
Charlie Bigham’s is collaborating with the Wells Food Festival to hold the country’s largest online festival and market, with a virtual cook-along supper club, hosted by top chefs, at the heart of its food programme.
Wells Food Festival with Charlie Bigham’s will showcase over 150 artisans from across the South of England, inviting foodies nationwide to discover the finest produce and buy direct from makers – open for business now.
The Bigham’s Banquet – a live streamed ‘cook-along’ will invite ticketholders to cook alongside top chefs Mark Hix, Thomasina Miers, Henry Harris and Merlin Labron-Johnson, as well as Bigham’s head chef Rupert Willday. The Bigham’s Banquet will be hosted by food critic William Sitwell and Charlie Bigham himself.
Limited to 1,000 places, tickets for the banquet on 10 October (6pm – 9pm) cost £20, with all proceeds going to Chefs in Schools – a charity working to transform food in primary schools across the country. In advance of the cook-along, participants will receive a Bigham’s goodie bag containing an apron, a Wells Food Festival tea towel, a banquet recipe booklet, plus a voucher for a free Bigham’s dish of their choice.
At-home festivalgoers can also sign-up to further cookery masterclasses and talks by Bigham’s founder Charlie and his team of master chefs, flower arranging with Georgie Newby, artisan florist and flower farmer at Common Farm Flowers, ‘no dig’ gardening tips by Charles Dowding, as well as music by the Harlem Rhythm Cats and a photography competition.
Bigham’s Quarry Kitchen, where most of its delicious meals are made, is located on the edge of the City of Wells, with the brand partnering with the festival and local producers in recent years. The aim of this collaboration is to support small food businesses and help them thrive after a challenging year of sales.
Charlie Bigham began his business nearly 25 years ago, cooking up his first dishes in his kitchen at home in west London. These artisan roots connect Bigham’s with today’s small and independent food and drink producers, many of whom have been adversely affected by the events of recent months.
“South of England is home to a wealth of fantastic independent producers, who have nurtured their businesses by investing time, resource and passion over many years. Our aim is to help this artisan community by bringing the Wells Food Festival to a virtual national audience, giving foodies across the country the chance to support and buy from the finest artisan producers.”
“Our top priority has always been to support artisan producers and traders and put them at the heart of the festival. This year it seems more important than ever. Thanks to the support of Charlie Bigham’s, we firmly believe 2020 will be remembered as the year Wells Food Festival went above and beyond to champion small producers and amazing food.”
Inspired by his travels and love of cooking, Charlie Bigham set up shop back in 1996 with the sole aim of creating really delicious dishes for foodies – putting in all the care and attention that you would if you were to cook them yourself. Using top quality ingredients, his goal was to help people steal back some quality time by doing all the dinner prep for them. Charlie Bigham’s selection of dishes now has over 60 delicious meals, made and sold exclusively in the UK, including bestsellers such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Lasagne and Fish Pie. So far in 2020, Charlie Bigham’s has launched its first range of sweet ready-to-bake dishes – Proper Puds – and been named by YouGov as the UK food and drink brand most recommended by its customers.
In 2017, the brand expanded into Somerset with a purpose-built food production campus in Dulcote, built into a disused quarry and named Quarry Kitchen. Charlie Bigham’s employs more than 300 people in the Somerset area and actively contributes to a number of local initiatives, including the Wells Food Festival, Wells Carnival, Cheddar Valley Food Bank and Mid-Somerset Show.
So far in 2020, Charlie Bigham’s has launched its first range of sweet ready-to-bake dishes – Proper Puds – and been named by YouGov as the UK food and drink brand most recommended by its customers.
Wells Food Festival celebrates Somerset’s rich farming and artisan food and drink producers as an annual food event, now in its eighth year. Historically, 15,000 visitors have enjoyed the free one-day event spanning the medieval Market Place, the Palace Green and Moat and the Recreation Ground of England’s smallest city. For 2020, a virtual Wells Food Festival running over the weekend of 10 and 11 October will provide a regional voyage of food discovery in-lieu of the live event which has had to be postponed until 2021. Run by volunteers, Wells Food Festival is a Community Interest Company, a limited company set up for the benefit of the local community.