Just back from the first day (of two) of the annual Malton Food Lovers Festival and what a delight. The market square was full of stalls selling Yorkshire produce: Whitby crabs and whole lobster (at a giveaway £6.50), organic vegetables from smallholders, towers of cup cakes and sour dough loaves, prime cheeses from Lowna Dairy and the Lincolnshire Poacher, handmade chocolatiers like Sophie Jewett of Little Pretty Things.
It was like a French country market. Sand Hutton asparagus was doing a roaring trade and there were long queues for the hog roast sandwiches. The Fitzwilliam Estate sold me Pimms and a £1.50 bag of walnuts. The beer tasting in the Milton Rooms was swiftly under way and with 100 plus ales for enthusiasts to sample it probably needed an early start.
Two food theatres were in full swing with chefs’ demonstrations. The only panic seemed to be the organisers trying to find Rosemary Shrager who seemed to have temporarily mislaid Malton.
A new slimline Richard Allen was demonstrating a spring spelt risotto. A dish that will be on the menu at Create the new Social Enterprise venue that is Richard’s latest and surprising venture. It’s a bold move on his part: from top class, high profile restaurant (he was executive head chef at Harvey Nix) to back-to-work charity.
Until now Create has run an outside catering business but in August they are opening their own restaurant in St Paul’s Street, Leeds where the homeless and long term unemployed will be trained and will be able to work – on the lines of Jamie O’s 15. Richard says he’s loving it and I believe him. It sounds a brilliant and worthwhile enterprise and with him in the kitchen it promises to be a success. We’ll be there to report on it so watch this space.
In the meantime, there’s still another day of the Festival and, happy to report, the vehicle edging its way gingerly through the crowds of Market Place, belonged to Rosemary Shrager.