Marco Pierre White joins line up of Norfolk Food Festival patrons

Top chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White says he is looking forward to visiting this year's Norfolk Food Festival after being named as the event's fourth high-profile patron.

The Bernard Matthews ambassador is the latest star to back this September's month-long spectacular.

Already signed up are Delia Smith and Morston Hall's Galton Blackiston, who return as patrons having given their support in previous years, and Antonio Carluccio, who has got involved for the first time in 2011.

Marco, who is soon to open up his first businesses in this county after recently buying the Norfolk-based hotel and pub company Maypole Group, said: 'I think when you join a community you have to support that community in every sense – whether it's buying your duck eggs from the local farm or your bacon and sausages from the local butcher down the road.

'Food festivals are very important because what they do is ignite passion within people to eat better and to cook more at home, and you have people sharing their knowledge and stories, which can be life-changing. It's also key to exposing the young to good local food.

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'I'm looking forward to visiting it.'

Festival chairman Richard Woolliams said the latest addition to the line-up of festival patrons gave the event yet another boost. He said: 'We're delighted to receive the support of Marco Pierre White for this year's EDP Bidwells Norfolk Food Festival.

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'For 2011, we want to build a national profile for the month-long event and make it a destination festival for visitors from across the country. With four top class patrons – with their own strong national profiles – all giving it their backing, we're confident we can make this the best one yet.'

In 2010, festival goers enjoyed more than 1,000 events, promotions and offers as part of the event which expanded to cover an entire month for the first time.

And this year, organisers want to take it a step further with the festival focused around five key weekends of events which will encourage food lovers to make the most of the top-quality producers, restaurants and pubs found in every corner of the county.

The committee hopes events like the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival on September 3 and 4, and the Brecks and Fens weekend on September 24 and 25, as well as festival favourites like the Moveable Feast on September 20 and the Battle of the Bangers on September 10, will show off the best the county has to offer.

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