Thursday night saw the kick off of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2015 at Albert Square in the City Centre. 11 days of epic street food, great music and LOTS of drink in the heart of Manchester.
There’s a variety of different offerings, from a six-course ice cream banquet from Gingers Comfort Emporium to a dinner under a whale skeleton at the Manchester Museum. And of course, a Bake Off.
For the first round, I submitted this garish pink rainbow cake in honour of Gay Pride. Shockingly, the judges weren’t put off by the e-numbers and put me through to the final.
In this round, we had to create a bake inspired by Manchester. Being a lover of all things 90’s (and incapable of creating a life-size head of Noel Gallagher) I came up with ‘The Hacienda Dancefloor’ a cheeky hidden-checkerboard cake.
Not gonna lie, the whole process was pretty stressful. I might have had another cake meltdown. Maybe.
But I was actually quite chuffed with the end result. Felt pretty confident actually…
UNTIL I GOT TO THE TENT.
Where I was swiftly reminded of my place on the ametuer-baker ladder by these jaw dropping entries.
Naturally my first instinct was to run away and hide, but the boy made me stay. At least long enough to see Bake Off’s very own Richard Burr demonstrate how to make Challah Bread.
He lobbed a few into the crowd later and they were delish.
Before I knew it, it was time for judging. Doing the honours was Richard, my idol Bakeorama, the Head Pastry Chef from Harvey Nics, a lady from the MEN and a Adam from my new fave haunt, Foundation Coffee Shop.
AND THE WINNER IS…
This UNREAL Stone Roses Lemon layer cake by Francine Conway.
You can’t get much more Manchester than that!
To be honest, I was just relieved it was all over. The whole experience proved to me I was NOT cut out for being judged in a tent. But I did meet some amazing like-minded peeps and Richard signed my copy of his book, BIY.
Incidentally, Francine’s lovely Husband has just produced a film about the Hacienda called Do You Own the Dancefloor? It’s out soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival continues until the 20th Sept, with more great grub and tunes to come.