The festival, which is the brainchild of celebrity chef and TV presenter Tom Kerridge, kicked off on Friday, July 8, with household names such as Supergrass, Professor Green, Melanie C, The Feeling, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, ASWAD, Luck & Neat entertaining the crowds with live music over the three-day event.
Attendance was down though on previous years as the foodie festival has attracted more than 17,000 festival goers since it launched here in Tunbridge Wells in 2018.
This year a new giant ferris wheel gave riders a spectacular view over the grounds and proved to be very popular.
Food remained the anchor of Pub in the Park, with Michelin starred chef Mr Kerridge – who founded the event in his home town of Marlow in 2017 – being a constant presence on site.
Tom’s co-host was Sunday Brunch star Simon Rimmer who joined Tom on the demo stages. Other culinary highlights across the weekend included Josh Moroney and Mursal Saiq who showed off Cue Point’s British-Afghan fusion barbecue cooking, while Karan Gokani brought Hoppers’ Sri Lankan and South Indian inspiration to the event. Indian-born British chef Atul Kochhar, whose restaurant Riwaz is set to soon open in The Pantiles, also appeared.
Closer to home were the Tanner Brothers from The Kentish Hare in Bidborough and Will Devlin of The Small Holding in Kilndown offering food alongside Sankey’s.
The park-based festival attracted a number of star turns from outdoors-inspired chefs like Balkan restauranteur Alexander Taralezhkov, while ‘Shropshire Lad’ and outdoor cooking enthusiast Adam Purnell cooked up a storm with journalist and food writer Melissa Thompson.
The festival also showcased new talent, including 15-year-old chef Aston Prideaux and Dominique Woolf, who won the Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver earlier this year. Celebrity chef Thom Bateman, who made it to the status of head chef aged 17, also appeared at Pub in the Park Tunbridge Wells.
“The foodie festival has attracted more than 17,000 festival goers since it launched here in Tunbridge Wells in 2018.”
Appropriately for a food-inspired festival, Pub in the Park even had its own ‘fusion’ celebrities making the crossover.
Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who performed on the main stage on Friday night, also appeared in the demo kitchen with her husband, Richard Jones of The Feeling.
The couple were there as part of the launch of the couple’s cookbook ‘Love. Food. Family: Recipes from the Kitchen Disco’.
Former Eastenders actor Adam Woodyatt, who played soap character Ian Beale since the show started in 1985, did a few popular turns cooking in The Firepit and was also spotted out and about enjoying himself.
Afterwards, Tom Kerridge said: “Wow, Tunbridge Wells, you were amazing! Thank you to everyone who came this weekend.”
The Pub in the Park festival runs from May to September and will play at nine different towns and cities around the UK this year.
“We’ve had a fantastic time on our first leg of the tour and can’t wait for you all to join us again in September,.” added Tom.