Wots Cooking Stage

Learn new techniques, meet some of the UK's best chefs and food writers and get hands-on with our interactive workshops.

Our Cookery Stages are run by Katie and Glyn Johnson of 'Wots Cooking' based in Ludlow. Both former BBC Presenters, who now promote local Food and Drink Producers, Chefs and Demonstrators around the Country. We are proud to have them as sponsors of the stages and thank them for their ongoing support. 

Friday 9th September

11.30am - Mark & Sue Stinchcombe - Head Chef's Eckington Manor, Worcestershire
12.30pm - Jo Hampson - Smoky Jo's Cooking School, Cumbria
1.30pm - Demonstrator TBC
2.30pm - Ian Swainson - Head Chef, The Pass at South Lodge Hotel, Sussex
3.30pm - Award Winning Student Chef's

Saturday 10th September

11.30am - John Brereton - Butchery Manager, Ludlow Food Centre, Shropshire
12.30pm - Howard Middleton - Gluten Free Baker/Great British Bake Off
1.30pm - Jenny Chandler - Food Writer, showcasing International Year Pulses
2.30pm - Marcus Bean - Chef/Owner Brompton Cookery School, Shropshire
3.30pm - Henry Mackley - Chef/Owner Harp Lane Deli, Ludlow, Shropshire

Sunday 11th September

11.30am - Anthony Murphy - 'The Beefy Boys', Hereford, Herefordshire
12.30pm - Richard Bainbridge - Chef/Owner of Benedicts, Norwich, Norfolk
1.30pm - Dean Cole - Head Pastry Chef, The Belfry Hotel & Resort, West Midlands
2.30pm - Tom Court - Chef/Owner, Sticky Fig Catering, West Midlands
3.30pm - Wayne Smith - Chef/Patron, Mortimers, Ludlow, Shropshire

Details of the Demonstrators

Mark Stinchcombe

For fans of Masterchef – the Professionals, you'll instantly recognise Mark who is the reigning champion and one half of the culinary couple behind the extraordinary Eckington Manor Dining Experience, alongside wife Sue.

Mark’s love of food began at school, and first entered the kitchens of the acclaimed Royal Crescent in Bath on work experience at 16 years old.

From there he moved on to 'Ston Easton Park' in Somerset, where he served for two years and began to learn how to create menus by using local and seasonal produce. At Michelin starred 'Driftwood' in Cornwall, and under the tutelage of Chef Chris Eden, Mark began to hone his fine dining chef skills before departing to ski slopes for a season of well-deserved youthful fun!

On returning to the UK, Mark undertook training starges in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world, including 'The Fat Duck' and 'Le Manoir' which then lead to 'Lucknam Park' under Chef Hywell Jones.

It was whilst at 'Le Champignon Sauvage' in Cheltenham, that Mark added classic French cuisine to his craft and also where he met his future wife and co-chef Sue before travelling to Australia, Thailand and New Zealand on a gastronomic culinary adventure together.

Now, Mark and Sue excite guests and visitors with their seasonal menus and recipes developed using produce from Eckington Manor’s award winning farm, orchard, vegetable and herb gardens.


Sue Stinchcombe

Sue and her husband Mark are the couple behind the Farm to Fork food philosophy at the heart of 'Eckington Manor.'

Sue trained at Worcester College and 'Wood Norton Hall' before heading to the illustrious training ground of Gordon Ramsay’s 'Royal Hospital Road Restaurant.' From there she went on to 'Belle House' in Pershore, continuing her journey to perfect fine dining cuisine.

Sue met her husband to be at 'Le Champignon Sauvage,' and they took a long over-due gap year to begin a culinary adventure which led them to explore the top kitchens and menus in Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. Their journey allowed them to better understand the food and sunshine flavours of this region.

Sue’s talents have gained her many awards including Worcestershire Chef of the Year, M.A.R.C.H Young Chef of the Year and Overall Winner, Acorn Award, MAC Awards – Chef of the Year. She has also appeared on 'The Great British Menu,' 'Britain’s Best Dish' and as part of 'The Hairy Bikers' television series.

Sue became Head Chef at 'Eckington Manor' having known Judy, founder and owner for many years. Together they share a vision for food: to favour local ingredients, honour seasonality and create an experience of relaxed fine dining where natural flavour and the integrity of ingredients are paramount.

The menus at Eckington Manor are developed using produce from Eckington Manor’s award winning farm, orchard, vegetable and herb gardens.


Jo Hampson

Jo and Georgina Perkins began life running a great little artisan smokehouse in Penrith where they smoked food for establishments such as 'Fortnum and Mason,' 'Selfridges' and 'Harvey Nichols' as well as smoking privately for HRH Prince of Wales.

Selling the business in 2004, they then started smoking their own food at home, using smokers such as a converted filing cabinet, biscuit tin, an old wardrobe and even a cardboard box!

'Smoky Jo's' Cookery School opened in 2007 - the first food smoking course available in the UK, and now considered the home of the countries leading experts in smoking food.
The school caters for all, be it leisure courses for people wanting to try their hand once back at home,  working as consultants for commercial smokehouses,  TV productions and with Environmental Health Officers (EHOs). They run commercial food smoking and start up courses and have helped a large number of smokehouses set up, not only in the UK, but Europe, Africa and South America.
The Cookery School has been featured as one of the 'Top 9 Courses to do in Europe' by the Lonely Planet Guide, in the 'Top 10 Cookery Courses in the UK' by The Telegraph and in the 'Top 10 Days out for Men' by The Times and more.
Based south of Penrith at Shap where they run the courses in the summer months, and at the Wild Boar Inn, Windermere in the winter.

This year sees the 2nd edition of the book "Smoking Food at Home with Smoky Jo." It has been picked up by a publishing house and is now being distributed to the
US, South Africa and Australia.


Demonstrator tbc

Ian Swainson

Ian is Head Chef at the Michelin-starred 'The Pass' at South Lodge hotel in Sussex. Cooking Michelin-starred cuisine for over 15 years in award-winning restaurants throughout the UK, it's a welcome return to Ludlow having spent many happy years with Will Holland at 'La Becasse' in the town.

Ian first became interested in cooking during a work placement in a local hotel kitchen during his last year at school. Work experience led to a summer job which in turn led to catering college. Encouraged by a lecture to travel to France for his practical course work, Ian found himself working in the kitchen of a 1 Michelin star restaurant and never looked back.

Returning to gain further cookery qualifications, Ian soon returned to France on another placement, this time working in a 2 star kitchen. Having decided to aim for and develop his career at the highest level in the industry, Ian’s first full time job was at 3 star 'Chez Nico,' 90 Park Lane. Striving for excellence became a theme throughout his career development.

A position at the world renowned hotel 'Chewton Glen' then followed where Ian met Chef Alan Murchison whose restaurants he continued to work at over the next few years. During his years working at 'L’ortolan' and 'La Becasse' Ian met Will (Holland) who became a significant influence over his learning, proving a welcomed mentor. They worked together for over 7 years as Ian moved up through the brigade to become Will’s Sous chef.

Looking to take the next step Ian moved to 'Seaham Hall' as Head Chef, gaining valuable experience. He returned to 'L’ortolan' as Head Chef working alongside Chef Nic Chappelle. The opportunity arose to move once more when he took a role at 'The Samling' gaining his own Michelin star at this time. After 3 years, new pastures were calling and Ian joined South Lodge heading up 'The Pass.'


John Brereton

With over 20 years experience, John is Butchery Manager at Ludlow Food Centre and has been part of the winning formula since it opened in 2007, moving to Shropshire from Chatsworth Estate.

The Butchery department is very much at the heart of the Centre with John and the team in complete control of all the meat they sell, only butchering whole carcass meat reared on the estate. The animals are cared for by a small dedicated team who will then transport their stock the 6 miles for slaughter at 'Griffiths' of Leintwardine. The meat is then matured and prepared in the Food Centre with John's speciality being cured meats, using Gloucester Old Spot pork.

The Estate also provides a seasonal selection of game and all poultry is sourced locally, only using and selling free range chicken.

Don’t think there’s an award John hasn’t won and he is more than happy to pass on his skills, training young apprentices and already his number two, Andrew Brassington won Britain’s Best Young Butcher in 2012. More recently, Ludlow Food Centre were awarded Farm Shop and Deli Show's 'Best Butchery in Britain' so congratulations all round.


Howard Middleton

As a contestant on the fourth series of 'The Great British Bake Off,' Howard immediately caught our attention with his first offering - a gluten free passion fruit and coconut sandwich cake, then came missing custard and the infamous Hemp Loaf!

His engaging personality and quirky sense of humour made him a popular guest panellist on Bake Off's spin-off show 'An Extra Slice,' so no doubt he'll be returning to our screens this year too.

He's a regular writer for the Great British Chefs website, along with demonstrating his creative approach to gluten-free baking at various Shows and Festivals, and he also teaches at Hartingtons Artisan Food School in Bakewell, Derbyshire.

His first book, 'Delicious Gluten-Free Baking' was published in September 2015.


Jenny Chandler

Jenny is a Teacher, Cook book Author, Consultant and food blogger – passionate about inspiring others to source, prepare and eat great food.

Her experience and knowledge has been gleaned over years of eating, researching, travelling and working as a Cook.

After training at 'Leith’s School of Food and Wine' in London, Jenny spent a couple of years in America and Australia before joining an Italian yacht as the Chef. Her love of Mediterranean cooking stems from the years spent onboard as the boat was based in Italy, Spain and France for long periods before two years sailing around the world.

Nowadays, Jenny uses her teaching and writing to introduce people to the delicious benefits of eating wholefoods such as grains and pulses, so integral to the Mediterranean diet.

She runs her tailor made workshops as part of her 'The Plum Cooking Company' in Bristol and she will be showcasing both 'The International Year of The Pulse' with her book 'Pulse' published by Pavilion and chatting with youngsters as part of 'Cool Kids Cook' book, again by Pavilion.


Marcus Bean

Marcus is Chef/Owner of Brompton Cookery School, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

This self-taught chef, whose passion for cooking drove him to win 'Iron chef UK' in 2010 on Channel 4 is also a regular on television, including cooking for Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on 'This Morning.' His recipes feature online for 'Tesco Real food' and in print for magazines such as 'Delicious,' and his first book 'Chicken – The new classics' is seen on many a kitchen bookshelf.

Growing up in a foodie environment with Mum and Dad running pubs, it was inevitable Marcus would follow in their footsteps, although via the scenic route as he began his career as a pig farmer!

Since December 2012, Marcus with his wife and business partner Jenny and their young family have run 'Brompton cookery school' and farmhouse Bed and Breakfast. It's part of the National Trust Attingham Park estate and attracts people from all over the country with its range of courses. Marcus and Jenny also run their successful catering business from Brompton, with weddings on location, and catering for dinner parties and events around the country.

Away from the stove, he's the founder of 'Eat Street Shrewsbury.' He likes gardening, enjoys keeping fit, is a keen runner and has run the London Marathon for both Motor Neurone Disease and NSPCC.



Henry Mackley

Henry is co owner of the independent 'Harp Lane Deli' in Ludlow. The name taken from the medieval alleyway that runs along one side of the shop, once a street entirely populated by Butchers!

Brought up in a foodie family - Henry’s parents co-founded Ludlow Food Festival – he has trained as a Chef, sold cheese at 'Harvey Nichols,' worked in property marketing for a bit, before moving back to Shropshire from London in 2006.

He appeared on BBC’s 'Masterchef' but apparently it’s a sore subject! Latterly Henry spent three years managing the delicatessen at Ludlow Food Centre before venturing into his own business alongside wife and business partner Hannah.

Henry writes a weekly food column for the local newspaper and has 2 young daughters.


Anthony Murphy

The Beefy Boys started as a group of 4 amateur Barbequers cooking in their back gardens for friends and families around 5 years ago. Trying to recreate classic american dinner and BBQ food using local ingredients and Hereford Beef, The Beefy Boys entered themselves into the UKs top BBQ competition 'Grillstock' and won the coveted title of 'UKs Best Burger.' This led to the boys representing the UK at the World Burger Championships in Las Vegas and being crowned 2nd Best Burger team in the world!

The Boys turned their hobby into a pop up business and after winning further accolades (Uk Burger Battle, World Food Championships Finalist Orlando 2015) and a series of media appearances on The One Show and BBC Ones “Life on a Plate,” the business exploded, leading to their first permanent premises in Hereford 'The Beefy Boys Meat Boutique' located on the Old Market Development Hereford.


Richard Bainbridge

It's a welcome return to Ludlow for Richard, who is now Chef Owner of 'Benedicts' in Norwich - his first solo venture alongside wife Katya.

Working in professional kitchens since the age of 16, Richard gained experience at 'The Waterside Inn' with the Roux brothers where he worked for three years, making his way from commis chef to junior sous, describing Michel Roux as an ‘absolute genius’ and gobsmacked with him and the food he produced.

Spending nearly eight years travelling the world, working in London, America, New Zealand (where he trained as a sommelier) and Dublin, it was Michelin starred 'Morston Hall' he first came to our attention, whilst working as Head Chef under Galton Blackiston and appearing in 'The Great British Menu.'

Having failed to reach the National finals three times in the programme, we were all thrilled when last year’s competition finally saw him get to the banquet on his fourth attempt, and became one of the most successful contestants, cooking both starter and dessert in honour of the Womens Institute and the marking of their centenary. His menu was inspired by the women in Richard's family, including his gorgeous daughter.


Dean Cole

Dean has been Head Pastry Chef at the world famous Belfry for 5 years. Once a house of note in Edward the Confessor's mediaeval time, this Hotel, set in over 500 acres is renowned as a golfing Mecca, playing host to more Ryder Cup matches than any other venue in the world.

Dean trained at Birmingham College of Food before heading to London to work for legendary chef Michel Bourdin at the Michelin-starred 'Connaught Hotel.'
After London, came the Lake District, followed by several years in Canada before heading home to the Midlands to teach at Eckington Manor.


Tom Court

Tom is an Award winning Former Head Chef of many years standing with 2 AA Rosettes to his name, but now doing it for himself - running his own catering company 'Sticky Fig Catering' based in the West Midlands.

Trained by Swiss chefs, with a French influence, Tom also worked with an Italian chef for five years so his style is truly European but he loves his traditional British flavours. It's fish though that he loves to demonstrate with, and not always the ones you'd think of! He makes weekly visits to the Birmingham fish market to discuss catches, the species,  seasons – down to the boats the fish were caught on.

When not cooking, Tom likes to walk the dogs or fish! He loves icecream, his guilty pleasure is crisps and if he wasn't a Chef, he would have liked to have been a rally driver.


Wayne Smith

Wayne is Chef and co owner of 'Mortimers' in Ludlow.

A huge supporter of the town, Wayne has worked under some of the UK’s leading chefs, such as David Cavalier at 'Chapter One,' Tom Aikens at 'Pied a Terre' and worked alongside Claude Bosi at 'Overton Grange Hotel' on the outskirts of the town.

Much respected in the industry, this former Head Chef at Ludlow's 'Dinham Hall' has held 3 AA rosettes, cooked at the highest level with his dishes having a strong influence on high quality local and seasonal produce wherever possible.

Away from the stove, Wayne enjoys football, swimming and walking his dogs.


Taste Workshops

Taste Workshops are led by expert producers or chefs who will guide you through a tutored tasting of selected food and drink.  Booking is essential!

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Coffee Masterclasses

Danielle's Coffee will ensure you experience great coffee and learn all about those different flavours.

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Marcus's All Star Friday lineup

Marcus Bean brings together an amazing selection of chefs in an entertaining and interactive day which as always promises to bring fantastic food and the best chefs from across the UK.

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For 2016 we have the very popular Pork Pie Making, Sushi classes, Butchery and Thai Green Curry. Book early places are limited.

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The Sausage Trail; Ale Trail and Bread Trail take place on the Saturday + the Window Dressing Competition all weekend.

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Other Events We Do...

We want you to be able to enjoy the great food and drink the region has to offer all year around and so we try to make this possible with our other events!

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2015 Programme

The 2015 programme is being pulled together right now and new areas within the castle are being used in 2015, we have a new talks & tasting area, more hands on activities for all ages and much much more!

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Phone App TiCL

Our phone app TiCL will help you navigate the town, the trails and the festival. You'll be able to use the handy compass anywhere in town to find highlights of the festival. It's FREE to download and will act as a handy guide to the event too... 

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Kids Cookery

Getting hands on and dirty is the best way to learn, especially when you get to eat what you've made - this is what we're planning on doing with our NEW kids sessions each day. Education and fun, don't miss them!

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