WEST DORSET: Top chef Michael Caines wowed the crowds when he opened the Eat Dorset food extravaganza at Parnham House in Beaminster at the weekend.

Not only did he open the two-day event and chose the winning best autumn recipe, he gave an impromptu cooking demonstration choosing local produce on offer at the food fair.

He was not the only popular chef to pass on skills – Lesley Waters, Mat Follas, Mark Hix and MitchTonks, among others, also inspired their audiences.

Eat Dorset spokesman Annette Smallwood said all the cooks’ demos had been popular.

She said: “We had the two chefs from the Pig on the Beach at Studland which has only been open for four months and won The Times hotel of the year.

“At the moment you can’t get a table there for love nor money I gather.”


Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Lesley Waters and an appreciative audience


Aidan Chapman, formerly the Leakers baker from Bridport drew the crowds, as did Paul Archard from Black Cow vodka, Tim Edwards from Somerset Cider Brandy and David Smith, the barman from Mark Hix’s Lyme restaurant, who gave a cocktail demo to round off the weekend.

Ms Smallwood added: “We had a great turnout out, there was a really good buzz and it was fantastic that Michael Caines gave an impromptu demo. He went round the marquee and collected different produce from different people and made a delicious minestrone and pan fried beef.

“It was a lovely way to start the weekend. Everybody loved him and he was so generous with his time.

“And he is patron on the charity Families for Children who were at the event all weekend, hopefully raising their profile across Dorset.”

Mr Caines chose the winning recipe – an apple pudding developed by amateur Dorset cook Sue Norris – and recipe Mr Caines said he’d be putting on his lunch menu.

Ms Smallwood said there were some great recipes entered – including an historical one unlikely to be much cooked these days – a rook pie.

There were more than 60 stalls showcasing local produce.