Norfolk’s Local Food Challenge starts at Creake Abbey at North Creake

On your marks, get set, cook!

The first heat of the Local Food Challenge - which is part of the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival - was held on Saturday as the growing quality of chefs in the county was shown off.

Andrew Chapman from Strattons in Swaffham and Craig Wadsworth from the Hunny Bell at Hunworth were the first to compete at Creake Abbey farmers' market.

The challenge aims to give chefs the chance to show off their skills and knowledge of local produce and ingredients.

Heats are being held at the market on the first Saturday of each month until August and then the final will be staged at the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival at Holkham Hall on September 1 and 2.

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Each chef is given �40 to spend when they arrive at the market and then they have an hour to prepare two courses in a fully equipped mobile cookery theatre and watched by people at the market,

The competition is being hosted by Mary Kemp said: 'We had a brilliant first heat and it was great to start with two really inspirational chefs.'

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She said she has been delighted by the quality of entries.

'The bar has been raised. Young people are coming in to the industry and realising that their knowledge and understanding of local produced is as important as their skills.'

Mrs Kemp said the chefs were showing flexibility and improvisation.

'We are incredibly spolit in Norfolk and we have got an amazing breed of new young chefs coming in to the county.'

The North Norfolk festival is part of the countywide Eastern Daily Press Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival in association with Norfolk County Council.

It will encompass six weekends of delicious events and activities and will aim to be the biggest and best showcase of what the land, sea, restaurants, pubs and shops in this area have to offer. The Norwich weekend, featuring the Battle of the Bangers, has been extended to include a day at the Norfolk showground to coincide with the end of the Norfolk Tour of Britain leg. City College Norwich is also organising a series of new events which aim to link production with the food that appears on diners' plates.

To get involved call 01603 881939.

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