The Craft Guild of Chefs is inviting all those involved in the food industry to come together to explore Britain’s ‘outdoor larder’ with the launch of the first Universal Cookery & Food Festival. And for Early Birds booking before 4th June, there’s a special 20% discount too. 


By taking a closer look at seasonal produce and wild food, the event at Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey, on Wednesday, September 12th aims to enhance the culinary knowledge and skills of everyone from chefs and caterers to farmers and growers.

The programme is taking shape nicely now with Nick Sandler, creative chef at Pret A Manger and Jack Stein, development chef at Steins, Padstow, amongst others now confirmed as speakers at the festival.

Committed to broadening culinary expertise, the idea has been an aspiration of the Craft Guild of Chefs for a number of years, an enlightening way to get stuck in to food opportunities.

Driving the initiative are Craft Guild committee members Lee Maycock, John Feeney and Ian Nottage. “John has been keen to do a conference,” said Lee. “However, we looked at what chefs would really want to see at the moment, and, rather than a stuffy conference, we’ve gone for a wild food study trip.”

Very much an outdoor event – wellies are a good idea, he added. “We plan to stage foraging tours, workshops and even a suppliers / farmers market to give those who attend an insight into what can be achieved from local and regional produce to deliver great food solutions,” he said.

Painshill Park was chosen as the venue for the event as it offers everything to provide a taste of the ‘outdoor larder’. The programme includes a chance to forage for edible plants and fruit including wild mushrooms, herbs and berries of every description and to sample and experiment with satellite cooking stations. A visit to a vineyard is planned where experts will be on hand to show grape varietals and explain the science behind crop management.

At a trout lake, the on-site team will help net fresh crayfish and trout, which will be cooked off and served as tasters, and local apiarists will be showing how honey is produced by Painshill’s bees and providing everyone with a chance to taste it.

Workshops will focus on all elements of the food chain from field to plate – from celebrating the harvest festival and seasonality to a ‘meet the grower’ session to share knowledge and latest farming know how. Skills such as hanging, skinning and butchery of British deer and game will be showcased in a ‘feather and fur’ demo by Lee as a speciality close to his heart.

A flavour house will demonstrate sensory science skills, with a talk on food, fashion and fragrance trends, while a futuristic kitchen will look at how science is helping move boundaries.

Lee said the event was not just for Craft Guild members, although members do receive a discount.

“It’s early days, but we see this as the beginning of something big – even possibly to a retail and consumer level,” he said.

Universal Cookery & Food Festival
Where: Painshill Park, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1JE
When: 7am – 7pm
Tel: 01293 851869 / 0208 948 3870

For further information on becoming a member of the Guild, visit


The Early Bird Grabs the Discount

Book your place before 4th June and you’ll bag yourself an extra 20% discount off the members’ price! So, as a CGOC member, it will cost just £116 +VAT, saving you up to £83.

Put on your wellies and get involved – book now by calling 01293 854403 or online at