A TRIO of Wales’ top chefs have signed up as the stars of a popular food festival.
Graham Tinsley, the star of ITV’s Taste the Nation and a former captain of the Welsh Culinary Team, will be joined in the Hamper Llangollen show kitchen by S4C favourite Dudley Newbery.
Completing the hat-trick will be the ever popular Dai Chef, who is returning to the event after an absence of several years.
Hamper Llangollen 2012 on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and is firmly established as a major highlight in the UK’s culinary calendar.
It is estimated the event, which will be held at Llangollen Royal Pavilion, pumps almost £500,000 into the local economy.
News that the festival is returning this year is music to the ears of award-winning Llangollen butcher Gwyn Davies.
Mr Davies said: “The festival is good for the whole town because it brings people in to spend their money.
“People come from as far as the other side of Birmingham.”
One of the main driving forces behind the reborn festival is businessman Colin Loughlin, chairman of the local committee that runs the event, supported by the rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd.
Mr Loughlin said: “Many of the 8,000 people who came to the festival last year also ventured into the town, so all the local businesses were delighted.
“People come from far and wide, across North Wales and from the North West of England and the Midlands.
“We have a wonderful array of fantastic food producers clustered in the area. The majority of the stallholders, perhaps 90 per cent of them, rely on food festivals like Llangollen to sell their wares.
“A food festival is so much better and more interesting than going to the supermarket because here you can sample the food and talk to the producers.”
Robert Price, Cadwyn Clwyd’s agri-food project officer, said: “In addition to many favourites, we have lots of new food producers wanting to come this year.
“We’ll also have a children’s area, live music and a bar so we will have something to suit every taste.
“The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular – I can’t imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting.
“It’s also brilliant news for the local economy. If you buy from a local producer, all that money is recycled through the local economy and that sustains employment in our rural areas."