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Celebrity chefs join in at food and drink festival

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 22, 2012

  • Fresh produce on show at Abbfest. Below: Oliver Saunders, from Ipplepen Primary School, learns all about healthy eating at a preview for local pupils

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A celebration of Westcountry food and drink got under way with more than a hundred locally brewed beers and ciders on tap.

Abbfest, a Devon festival which has raised more than £90,000 for charity since it began in 2004, opened its doors last night.

Celebrity chefs, including the Michelin-starred, Exeter-born Michael Caines, will today line up at the Abbotskerswell show at Ipplepen, near Newton Abbot.

Masterchef winner James Nathan, Ian Nixon of Vanilla Pod, Richard Hunt from Torquay's Grand Hotel and Lori Reich from Shute Farm will also show off their cooking skills in a series of demonstrations against a backdrop of around 60 stalls showcasing the very best of local produce and a selection of wine, cheese, cider and Calvados from its twin village in Normandy.

Organiser John Whitehead, said he hoped to match the 7,000 visitors who came last year and was keeping his fingers crossed that the weather will be fine on Sunday.

"We started out as a small beer festival at the cricket club and have grown each year into a three-day event," he added.

"It has got to the point where we are wondering if we can get any bigger – but we have great support from around 100 volunteers.

"I just hope the weather holds.

The event centres around the beer festival – offering 140 beers and 30 ciders all from Devon – with an extensive food and crafts marque as well as live music.

Alongside the local produce will be West Indian cuisine, a pizza oven, hog roast, barbecue and a wine bar.

Entry is £5 today and £3 tomorrow or £6 for the weekend ticket, but the price includes a commemorative glass and a free drink – proceeds go to local groups and schools.

A free bus service operates from Newton Abbot station.

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