Marketing Lancashire’s Taste Lancashire Conference 2019, held at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe on Tuesday 5 March, was the perfect opportunity to name the county’s new Taste Lancashire Ambassadors; this group of the country’s best chefs from Michelin star venues to the leading gastro pubs, each celebrated for excellence in their field, have offered their support to help Marketing Lancashire raise Lancashire’s food and drink profile to attract more visitors and greater recognition to the county.
Mark Birchall chef patron of two Michelin star Moor Hall, Aughton; Lisa Goodwin-Allen executive head chef at Northcote a long-term recipient of a Michelin star and Tom Parker, head chef at Lancashire’s newest Michelin star venue The White Swan were named on the list. They were awarded the accolade alongside chefs from the county’s leading gastro pubs including Freemasons at Wiswell chef owner, Steven Smith; Parkers Arms head chef Stosie Madi; The Cartford Inn’s head chef Chris Bury and Mark Taft, head of kitchen operations at Seafood Pub Company for The Assheton Arms, who all listed in the UK Top 50 Gastro Pubs 2019. Steven Smith also holds the current title of Gastropub Chef of the Year.
Rachel McQueen, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “We could have no better champions of Lancashire food and drink and of the county and we’re delighted to add them to our roll call of leading Lancastrians.
“From our Michelin star chefs to those heading up fantastic foodie pubs that are leading the field in the UK, they are wonderful role models not only for those currently working in the food and drink industry but also to those young budding hospitality stars of the future.
“Their Lancashire roots, passion for the county and their position at the forefront of the dining scene make this wonderful group of chefs the ideal Taste Lancashire Ambassadors. We are thrilled they have agreed to support our ambition and drive to raise Lancashire’s profile.”
Taste Lancashire 2019 was another successful showcase for the county’s food and drink, with headline speakers including food obsessed ethnobotanist James Wong and Mowgli founder Ormskirk-born Nisha Katona MBE. Over 150 delegates from the hospitality industry signed up to the event with 15 expert speakers and 12 exhibiting Lancashire producers, the event was sponsored by Headline Sponsor Visit Britain/Visit England, Holmes Mill, Hotfoot Design, National Farmers Union (NFU) and University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). The conference sparked much debate on topics ranging from the benefits of plant-based eating to organic meat production, skills and staff recruitment to Brexit. Twitter chat around the event using the hashtag #TasteLancashire19 has already had a potential reach of over 5.5 million.
The audience also included representatives from leading food & drink outlets including The Westmorland Family, Lancashire flagship supermarket Booths as well as journalists, food writers and bloggers. Food and drink producers who attended on the day are already reporting new contracts, appointments and opportunities as a result of Taste Lancashire 2019.
New Taste Lancashire Ambassador Steven Smith of the Freemasons at Wiswell, who was also a expert speaker at the event said: “I’m honoured to have been named a Taste Lancashire Ambassador and looking forward to helping spread the word about this fantastic county. We are lucky to have an incredible range of food and drink operators across Lancashire, who have really put the region on the foodie map in recent years. A continued supportive, collaborative approach will ensure the spotlight continues to shine on us, driving both national and international tourism to this wonderful part of the country.”
Lisa Goodwin-Allen, Head Chef of Michelin starred Northcote in Langho said: “I’m thrilled to have been named an Ambassador for Taste Lancashire; as a born-and-bred Lancastrian I am so proud of our county, even more so of the fantastic produce we have on offer to us. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of the conference on topics like sustainability, something that is so close to my heart, and using the event as a great opportunity to chat to some of the most exciting names in our industry”
Mark Birchall of 2 Michelin star Moor Hall in Aughton, expert speaker at Taste Lancashire 2019 and new Taste Lancashire Ambassador commented: “I’m extremely proud to be chosen as an ambassador for Lancashire. I was delighted to open a restaurant in my home county and now having 2 Michelin stars it’s great to be able to help fly the flag for Lancashire.”
The announcement of the new Taste Lancashire Ambassadors follows the launch of the Lancashire Ambassador programme in September 2018 with Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, the first Lancashire Ambassador, featured in a new short film We Are Lancashire. This rousing call to action was created to encourage business leaders across the county to work together to increase the national and international profile of Lancashire. Journalist and TV presenter Ranvir Singh was named a Lancashire Ambassador on Lancashire Day, 27 November 2018.