It’s a first to hold UCFF on a farm where buffalo roam! For 2016 the buffalo very kindly allowed us to use their barn to host our event. JF was one of the first on site to watch them being milked before over 500 chefs from all over the UK arrived for an action packed day of food at it’s best.

Ex-formula one racing driver Jody Scheckter started Laverstoke – a biodynamic, organic farm with the aim of producing healthy, nutritious food without compromise to the environment or his family’s health. Jody made the opening address to the delegates, not just hungry for food but knowledge from their peers and food heroes who rear the animals and produce the ingredients used to create wonderful dishes.

UCFF is not your average trade show – there are no clipboards, stuffy reps in suits & ties or “zappers” to scan your name badge! Yes there were exhibitor’s stands, equipment and industry networking but it’s not unusual to see a sign on a producer’s stand saying “Gone foraging back in 45 minutes!” This festival is where chefs swap whites for wellies and don’t mind the mud one bit!

Along with industry legends like Eric Chavot, Angela Hartnett and Daniel Clifford demonstrating, debating, sharing their skills and views on everything from organic meat to the national shortage of chefs came newer lesser known chefs with passion and vision to share. Dougie McMaster – a talented young chef from the first UK zero waste restaurant – Silo. They compost anything that can’t be reused or recycled. Nothing is allowed to be delivered to the restaurant in Brighton unless it’s in a reusable packaging – in fact every supplier delivering gets given a bag of composted waste in exchange of their goods.

Chef and bee-keeper Colin Wheeler-James with his “Queen” and army of 10,000 bees made it safely all the way from Devon and had folks mesmerised with his see through hive. Game butchery with freshly shot deer by Mike Robinson from the Pot Kiln and Brett Graham from The Ledbury showed how to make short work of a full carcass in no time at all. The innovation zone and Great Taste market filled the barn for a fantastic day out for everyone. What a great success for the three amigos – John Feeney, Lee Maycock and Ian Nottage all a credit to the Craft Guild of Chefs – giving back to the industry they love.

This festival wouldn’t happen without the support of it’s sponsors and supporters. With special thanks to CCS, Reynold’s, Essential Cuisine, Sous Vide Tools, Barbers1889, Jestic, WestlandsWow, Gram and Coupe de Pates.