In the middle of the pandemic and between lockdowns in 2020, Chester Food & Drink Week was staged as a week-long celebration of the city’s hugely resilient and innovative hospitality sector. The initiative was also created to support one of the city’s most important annual family-friendly events, The Taste Cheshire Food & Drink Festival, now in its 20th year.
From very humble beginnings in 2000, Chester’s Food and Drink Festival has grown significantly year-on-year, and now attracts around 30,000 visitors who not only attend the three-day event at Chester racecourse, but also help boost the local economy by filling hotel rooms and thousands of seats in local cafés, bars, restaurants and dining pubs throughout the city.
Chester Food and Drink Week has been upgraded to a full month-long campaign for 2021, to run for the entire month of September. It will feature eight major campaigns including Food Sustainability, British Food Fortnight, Vegan Chester, Oktoberfest and so much more – plus the team will be shining a spotlight on those restaurants with a Michelin status, including one which was awarded the much-coveted Michelin Green Star earlier this year.
Chester Food and Drink Month has attracted major sponsorship from local businesses. The Townhouse Hotel and Secret Garden on Lower Bridge Street made a significant investment into the campaign, as has local tech start-up Qbunk, a table-ordering platform which has been created to help venues reduce staff costs and operate more efficiently, under these still-challenging circumstances.
Steven Hesketh, owner of The Townhouse Chester said, ‘We are thrilled to be supporting Chester Food and Drink Month, as we see this as a very worthwhile initiative, which has been created to encourage positive and meaningful city partnerships within our growing hospitality sector. The entire team at The Townhouse is so excited about launching our Oktoberfest campaign very soon, followed by our Christmas campaign, in collaboration with the team at Chester Food and Drink Month. The more collaboration we have in and around the city, the better, and this is such a positive step in that all-important direction.’
Paul Wilson, founder of Qbunk added ‘Qbunk is delighted to be a part of Chester Food & Drink Month as we are committed to supporting the local hospitality industry in as many ways as we can and build relationships with the sector as a whole. We are looking forward to introducing Qbunk to locals and visitors alike, who can download our app for a seamless, contactless table ordering experience. It’s a real win-win for customers and local business owners, which we are thrilled to share.’
Chester Food and Drink Month 2021 is being delivered by Izzy Grey of We Love Good Times, and Briony Wilson and Tori Hayes of Taste Cheshire. Together they have created a dedicated newspaper with a print run of 25,000 copies to be distributed to 20,000 local homes and 5,000 local businesses, as well as a social media platform and website.
Izzy Grey says ‘To be able to shine a spotlight on our entire food and drink sector is an honour for me. I have dedicated my whole career to supporting our independent bars and restaurants, and Chester Food & Drink Month will enable me to do so much more for the industry and city I love so much. All of our local businesses have proven to be so dynamic, resilient and innovative throughout the pandemic, and now the city can show its support with a dedicated and focused initiative, which is open to everyone.’
Briony Wilson of Taste Cheshire added ‘Our city has become one of the most important food destinations of the North, even after such a challenging time. Taste Cheshire is so pleased to finally be staging our event, and we are delighted to be kicking the celebration off with our beloved festival, where everyone is welcome.’
In readiness for September, Chester Food & Drink Month will launch this weekend when the newspaper will hit the streets and the social media campaign will begin across all channels @chesterfoodanddrinkmonth. The new website will also launch this weekend at www.chesterfoodanddrinkmonth.co.uk.