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First celebrity chefs revealed for this year’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival

A duo billed as “the world’s biggest vegan and plant-based chefs” are among the headliners at this year’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival, organisers have revealed.

Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, better known as BOSH!, will take to the cookery stage as part of the festival’s Saturday line-up.

The festival, run by Durham County Council, pulled in an estimated 28,000 visitors last year and returns to the town on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 April.

A weekend of delicious food and fantastic entertainment is in store, with some well-known faces giving cookery demonstrations throughout.

Hailing from Sheffield, childhood friends Henry and Ian have established BOSH! as one of the culinary landscape’s most influential brands.

Their remarkable journey started in June 2016, when they made it their mission to bring more plants to people’s plates.

They’re now the world’s biggest vegan social media brand, with more than three million followers and pulling in 26 million views a month.

Their six bestselling cookbooks have sold more than a million copies worldwide, with one going on to become the UK’s bestselling vegan cookbook ever.

Henry and Ian have also graced the small screen as stars of ITV’s inaugural vegan cookery series, ‘Living on the Veg.’

They will share Saturday’s stage with Marcus Bean, a winner of Channel 4’s Iron Chef and regular on ITV’s This Morning.

A self-taught chef, Marcus has enjoyed a meteoric rise of his own founded on a childhood spent living in pubs in and around Oxfordshire.

He was 16 years old and working as a pig farmer when his parents decided to up sticks and buy a pub in Shropshire, which he helped renovate and run.

After studying sound engineering in pursuit of a career in the music industry, Marcus returned to something more familiar when he and his wife took on their first pub in 2005.

It was the repeated let downs by the chefs they employed that prompted Marcus to get in the kitchen and teach himself how to cook.

And having run the pub successfully for five years, he was selected as a contestant for Iron Chef, in which he beat the Michelin-starred Martin Blunos in the final.

Marcus is now a regular host of the super theatre at BBC Good Food shows around the country, working on stage with the likes of James Martin, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.

Saturday’s cookery demonstrations will continue with 2023 Great British Bake Off finalist, Dan Hunter.

Dan’s interest in cooking began when he went travelling in South America in 2007 and his particular loves are pies and desserts.

He credits his mother-in-law for teaching him how to make shortcrust pastry.

A perfectionist, Dan loves a baking challenge and will often find the hardest bake in one of the hundreds of cookbooks he owns and start there, throwing everything he’s got at creating a masterpiece.

All four celebrity chefs will be wowing visitors with their mouth-watering food demonstrations on Saturday 20 April.

They’ll be joined by crowd favourite and TV presenter Chris Bavin, who returns as host.

Chris co-presents BBC One’s popular series Eat Well for Less? alongside Jordan Banjo and is a regular on The One Show.

He’s also presented Tomorrow’s Food with Dara O’Brian, Food: Truth or Scare with Gloria Hunniford, and was a judge on Britain’s Best Home Cook with Mary Berry.

Sunday’s celebrity guests are set to be announced very soon, along with details of all of the food traders, family entertainment, and cookery workshops.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We’re already counting down to this year’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival.

“It’s one of the most popular food festivals in the region, showing off Bishop at its very best and drawing tens of thousands of people into the town.

“The celebrity chefs are always a big attraction and we’ve got another brilliant line-up to look forward to this year.

“But this is just the start, we’ll be announcing more big names in the near future.

“Of course, it’s not all about the big names – we’ve got all kinds of food traders, workshops and entertainment to tell people about in the coming weeks and months too.

“For now it’s a case of getting the dates in your diary!”

Bishop Auckland Food Festival is just one of the many cultural events taking place in County Durham this year, cementing Durham’s position as the ‘culture county’ and demonstrating the county council’s ongoing commitment to culture-led regeneration.

This includes delivering key projects within County Durham’s shortlisted UK City of Culture bid; progressing major capital projects and raising the county’s profile as a fantastic place to live, work, visit and invest.

Bishop Auckland Food Festival is supported by Bishop Auckland Town Council and Durham County Council’s Towns & Villages programme.

To keep updated on all the latest Bishop Auckland Food Festival news visit the event’s website www.bishopaucklandfoodfestival.co.uk and follow its social media channels.

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