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Manchester Food and Drink Festival reveals 2021 programme

Special events include Manchester's biggest chippy tea, kitchen takeovers and a host of street food vendors

The 24th Manchester Food and Drink Festival will take place this year from 16th – 27th September and today the next wave of the festival programme events are announced with bookings now open. 

Following its postponement last year, The Festival is back with a bang taking place at Cathedral Gardens and across the city and promising to bring a much needed celebration of the city’s famous food and drink scene.

For the very first time the entire programme of what’s happening and when will be available via a brand new MFDF app.

App users will be able to browse the full festival programme, reserve a table at the Festival Hub and vote in the MFDF awards too.

Bars and street food

The free to enter Festival Hub in Cathedral Gardens will be at the heart of the MFDF action. It will be home to an eclectic array of bars and street food vendors for the duration of the festival.

The Festival Hub will be open from Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th September and then again from Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th September.

Some tables within The Hub will be available to book over these two long weekends, and there will also be plenty of opportunities for walk-ins as large areas will not require reservations. 

Special MFDF events and pop-ups

The Hub will be host to a programme of events happening in partnership with the city’s restaurants, bars, cafes and chefs running throughout the Festival.

Even on Monday and Tuesday when it is not open to the public, the Hub will be opened up for special Festival events and pop-ups.

Monday 20th September: The Bull & Bear takeoverTom Kerridge’s The Bull and Bear will be taking over the Cathedral Gardens Festival Hub for one night only to create their own very special take on street food with the ultimate pub grub feast and a live music soundtrack to provide the perfect ‘pub at the hub’ atmosphere.

Wednesday 22nd September: Manchester’s biggest chippy teaThe city’s best loved restaurants, chefs, chip shops and food traders, including The Hip Hop Chip Shop and Street Urchin, are coming together to create a mammoth chippy tea feast in homage to one of the region’s best-loved meals.

Thursday 23rd September: SchlosstoberfestIt may not be quite October but on Thursday 23rd  Albert’s Schloss will be getting in the mood with Schlosstoberfest at the Hub. Expect an Oktoberfest Takeover bringing brats, pretzels and lederhosen. Free to attend and no need to book – Schloss will be taking over the MFDF street kitchen serving up Bavarian street food throughout the evening and programming a lively night of Schloss-style entertainment.

Thursday 16th –  Sunday 19th Sept: MFDF street kitchen takeovers – MFDF has its own street food kitchen trailer on site at the Hub which will be taken over by some of the city’s best loved restaurants and chefs over the four days including Evuna, Jackie Kearney and Tast Catala.

Friday 24th – Sunday 26th Sept: Eat Well KitchenEat Well Mcr is the inspiring social enterprise born out of the COVID-19 crisis. Founded by food and drink star Mary-Ellen McTague, Kathleen O’Connor and Gemma Saunders,  Eat Well Mcr provide meals made by chefs and hospitality professionals to people sidelined by poverty. The team will be taking over their very own street food kitchen at the Hub with a different restaurant partner from the fabulous Eat Well Collective taking over the kitchen daily, serving up their own special MFDF menu for festival goers with all profits raised from the kitchen going to Eat Well Mcr, including a £1 voluntary donation added to orders.  

Plus, an array of street food vendors will be at the Hub over the two long weekends.

Celebrating hospitality

Photo: Jody Hartley

“We are absolutely delighted to be bringing the Festival back this year,” said Alexa Stratton-Powell, director of MFDF.

“Postponing in 2020 was hugely disappointing – a tough decision but the right one of course.

“We set up the Festival,  a small group of people, to champion independent food and drink businesses.

“We’re still a very small team but we are just as committed as ever, particularly now as we face a whole new chapter for hospitality, to showcasing the very best that our amazing city has to offer.

“This year we’re looking forward to celebrating our brilliant hospitality industry and bringing people together for some cracking food and drink!” 

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