A food festival with real market value

Co-founder of Pickering - Polly Taylor

Over the weekend of May 14 and 15 there’ll be a feast for the senses – and of course one’s tastebuds – down on the town’s famous promenade thanks to The Pantiles Food Festival taking place.

The event, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary, is hugely popular with lots of specialist producers selling their artisan gourmet goods and live cooking demos going on with local chefs.

With plenty to eat and drink and entertainment to keep the kids happy, this is a perfect way to spend the weekend with family and friends as there truly is something for everyone.

Its founder and promoter Julian Leefe-Griffiths says he is very much looking forward to hosting it once again this year.

“We are really pleased to announce the fantastic Pantiles Food Festival is back for 2022 and will be serving up another delicious offering this coming weekend.

“I’m sure I don’t need to tell Times readers what the event is all about because we are now in our 10th year! But for those of you new to the town or who haven’t been to the food festival before it’s a lovely way to spend a weekend.

“The arrival of The Pantiles Food Festival and Jazz on The Pantiles are a real sign that summer is fully underway down on Tunbridge Wells’ famous promenade.”



Julian went on to say there will be lots of ‘lovely food stalls’ selling everything from Moroccan tagine to artisan gins, gourmet conserves, homemade ice creams and French pastries, but the logistics of putting such an impressive smorgasbord of epicurean delights together is often pretty time consuming.

“It’s a great labour of love putting on The Pantiles Food Festival and it does take a lot of organising,” admits Julian who also runs the Tunbridge Wells Hotel.

“We do our best to find great local producers selling fun and interesting stuff. We also ask the best local chefs from the most well-known and fashionable restaurants to come and join us and share their knowledge on the bandstand demonstration kitchen.

“Despite the hard work we always end up with a great line-up of talented and committed local producers and chefs and we’re really excited to see what they’ll be serving up this year.”

Julian says that those doing live cooking demos this coming weekend include Will Devlin from the Michelin accredited The Smallholding in Kilndown, Scott Gross from The Beacon, Pat Hill from Thackery’s and main sponsors Matthew Sankey and local butcher Steve Fuller.

“Our sponsors have been an incredible help this year especially after the pandemic. Matthew Sankey is a real asset to the festival and always

does a great spot on the demo kitchen. But if fish isn’t your thing then the event’s other main sponsor Steve Fuller, is your man as he knows all there is to know about meat.”

The Pantiles Food Festival will once again be working with Royal Tunbridge Wells Together (RTW) who back the event financially.

“RTW Together is very pleased to support events organised by The Pantiles traders, such as the upcoming Food Festival, via our grant scheme for events which benefit the town centre,” added Sarah-Jane Adams who is the Business Improvement Director for RTW.

“This is always a highlight of the calendar, rightly attracting tourists and residents alike to enjoy a wide range of cuisine and meet foodies and local suppliers, amongst the beautiful setting of this historic part of town.”

The Pantiles Food Festival starts at 10 am on both Saturday and Sunday and runs until 5pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday. For more details visit www.thepantiles.com


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