With only a week to go until UCFF17 in Padstow team Feeney just wanted to step back and take a few moments to remember why he along with his fellow “amigos” Lee Maycock chairman of The Craft Guild of Chefs and Ian Nottage chef director from Reynolds created Universal Cookery & Food Festival and what it means to them.

It’s probably not a widely known fact that this trio of chefs give up their time to put this event together every year totally free! This is no mean feat and takes a huge amount of input from all of them to ensure Billie and her events team at McCullough Moore has all the vital information to be able to put this fantastic event together. The phrase “like getting blood out of a stone” springs to mind! We couldn’t do it without you! Chefs are a funny breed to work with – the passion, drive & dedication doesn’t always leave the time or even the inclination to respond to vital emails or calls so hats off to everyone at the events team for pulling another amazing line up together.

The three amigos – are all chefs but as most of you will know don’t slave away behind a restaurant pass 6 days a week like some of you. They all have extremely busy high profile positions as chefs and mentors in very different areas in the crazy but amazing world of food they absorb theirselves in, innovating and inspiring others every single day!

One thing Feeney and his fellow amigos have in common is their passion, dedication and skills they want to share with their peers and inspire young people maybe just starting their career in catering & hospitality who need careful encouragement and direction.

This year chefs are travelling from all over the globe to attend what has become one of the most successful chefs events in the UK. Padstow will play host to #UCFF17 with the help and support of Padstow Farm Shop who will have their farm taken over for this event.

Jean Paul Gauci will be hot footing from Hong Kong to defend his golden pig award in the Dingley Dell BBQ competition taking part during the day supporting Teenage Cancer Trust charity.

Executive chef Maurice McGeehan from Air B n B HQ in Dublin will be flying in with executive sous chef Steve Holland from Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland to take inspiration from UCFF for their event in 2018 to help share skills in the industry to both well seasoned chefs and young people just starting their careers.

In our brand new “Surf & Turf” zone Kate Burns from Islander Kelp from the UK’s only organic kelp farm will be giving an inspiring talk on the future of food and how looking at food sourced from the sea as well as the land can bring another dimension to the plate. From Padstow Islander Kelp will be hot footing straight to Bristol to the BBC Food & Farming Awards where they are shortlisted in the “Future of Food” category – good luck Kate! 

Matt Stone from Australia will be on the line up bringing us kangaroo cooking to tackling waste and sustainability.

This area will also play host to meat scientists, dieticians, chefs and food producers showcasing skills and innovation.

The team is already working on next year’s event at WestlandsWow HQ in Evesham – they have even been challenged with the feat of growing a living stage for the 2018 – watch this space!

So when you are trying to juggle time in your schedule to get away from the kitchen to attend UCFF spare a thought for the three amigos and dozens of other people who give up their family time out of hours totally free of charge to bring together their vision of sharing their skills, passion and friendship to others in the industry of catering and hospitality – Giving Back – we can all do it!

Innovate – Inspire – Educate

Now if you haven’t booked your bloody ticket by now chefs– what are you waiting for?


UCFF 2017 – Conference Programme 

This content & imagery was provided by Wendy Preston – Freelance Food & Travel Photographer & Writer – check out more of her creative photos on Instagram