Pub in the Park: Food glorious food - and some great grooves...
7th July 2019
Over the weekend of July 12-14 Dunorlan Park will once again be transformed into a ‘gastro and grooves’ wonderland courtesy of Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park festival. Eileen Leahy caught up with the Michelin star chef to see what’s cooking for 2019
After the huge success of last year’s Pub in the Park at Dunorlan, its mastermind Tom Kerridge clearly can’t wait to come back. The Michelin star chef, TV personality and successful author is positively brimming with excitement as he reminisces about last year’s inaugural event.
“Last year you guys in Tunbridge Wells were just the best,” he smiles. “The people and weather were amazing! Everyone was such great fun and there was a great vibe at Dunorlan.
"The fantastic weather made it special – and the fact it was the first year there. But what I also liked was that everyone knew what Pub in the Park was going to be all about. Everyone grabbed it, got and loved it!”
And that is precisely why Tom and his team are really looking forward to returning again this summer over the weekend of July 12 to 14 for lots more servings of gastro food, good grooves and everything else in between.
Like last year the set-up will be the same: visitors can expect a raft of famous foodie faces including Angela Hartnett, Atul Kochhar and the Tanner brothers – who run The Kentish Hare in Bidborough – all cooking up a storm at their individual pop-up restaurants.
There will also be a variety of local artisan food and drink producers present as well as a stellar music line-up over the weekend including the likes of Rick Astley, Soul II Soul Sound System, Basement Jaxx, Will Young and Gabrielle.
Pub in the Park began in 2017 in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where Tom Kerridge runs his two Michelin star pubs, The Hand and Flowers and The Coach. Last year it successfully branched out to three other locations: Knutsford, Bath and Tunbridge Wells, and this year Pub in the Park has also added Chiswick, St Albans, Warwick and Leeds to its touring schedule.
But Tom says that although it’s doubled the number of Pub in the Park venues it will not be doubling the size of each event or compromising on its quality food and music offering.
“Each one will still be the same size because we don’t want it to be packed, we want it to be personal. That was how we found the vibe at each venue last year and that was amazing. I was wandering around seeing people eating loads of food, enjoying the sunshine, having a couple of drinks then watching a band. Now, it really doesn’t get better than that does it?”
Will there be any different elements to this year or will it be a case of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? “Well it’s going to still be the same sort of vibe,” explains Tom. “But there will be different dishes and a different slant to things. Think of it like going to your favourite restaurant and ordering something different from the menu this time.
And anyone who went to last year’s events will know that Tom is totally involved in proceedings. If he’s not cooking up some amazing gastronomic fare from his pubs’ pop-ups he’s doing cookery demos, talking to stall holders or donning a high vis jacket to help keep the traffic flowing.
“Yes I am not averse to putting on a high vis if it means I can help out with something,” he chuckles. “Every time we do Pub in the Park we learn from it and ask ourselves how we can do things better. But ultimately if the chefs are all happy then sowill everyone else be!”
For further information on the Pub in the Park bands playing at Tunbridge Wells visit www.pubintheparkuk.com/tunbridge-wells
And there's more...
Pub in the Park isn’t just about gourmet food and seeing bands. Visitors to Dunorlan Park over the weekend of July 12-14 will also have the opportunity to see the award-winning Trinity Youth Theatre perform a number of productions including their version of Sweeney Todd before they take it on tour to the Edinburgh Fringe in August.
They’ll be doing lots of family inspired workshops too, as well as story sessions and singing to visitors on arrival at the gate. They will also be running a number of circus skills classes so there really is something for everyone. “We are delighted to have Trinity Theatre joining us at Pub in the Park as they play such a key part of the Tunbridge Wells community,” says Tom.
The line-up for the Tunbridge Wells Pub in the Park will include chefs from the following:
The Kentish Hare, Bidborough
Indian Essence, Petts Wood
The Compasses Inn, Canterbury
The Sportsman, Seasalter
The Hand & Flowers, Marlow
Berners Tavern, Fitzrovia
The Half Moon, Kidford
Café Murano, Covent Garden
The people and
weather were amazing! Everyone was such great fun
and there was a great vibe at Dunorlan