About York Food Festival

York Food Festival run events throughout the year celebrating local and regional food and drink, with the main 10 day festival held at the end of September. It is a not-for-profit organisation and any money generated from ticket sales goes back in to the festival to improve it year after year!

Our Aims

  • To promote local food producers, independent restaurants and retailers in York.
  • To provide educational and fun workshops and cookery demonstrations to encourage people to eat healthy, homemade and locally sourced food.
  • To establish York as a culinary hotspot and a place to visit all year round (not just for the festival), building on: York’s history as a chocolate city and historic market; the city’s talented food specialists and the qualities of Yorkshire food.
  • To transform the city streets throughout the days and in the evenings during the festival with a wealth of activities for all ages to enjoy.

The Festival Directors

  • Michael Hjort – Artistic Director - trained with Roux Restaurants. In 1990’s, he returned to his native York to open Melton’s restaurant with his wife Lucy. In 2001, they opened Melton’s Too in the centre of York. Both restaurants are known for using local, seasonal produce cooked to order. Michael has been a part of York Food Festival since it began in 1997.
  • Kim Robbins
  • Sarah True
  • Andrew Waller

History of the Festival

York Food Festival began in 1997 and was run by the local tourism partnership. Initially, the festival aimed to bring celebrity chefs to York and to run a food market around them. In 2004 Michael Hjort became the creative director of the festival and in 2007, the festival changed hands to be run by a not-for-profit organisation in partnership with York City Council. Subsequently, the festival changed its aims. Now, the festival focuses on Yorkshire produce and chefs. Its aim is to educate and provide cookery lessons and demonstrations as well as events to celebrate Yorkshire food and drink.

Some of the features of the festival include:

Schools Programme – The Schools Programme invites York primary schools to attend workshops and demonstrations from local producers and chefs. Over 1000 students attend each year to learn about cooking local, healthy meals. To register your interest in the Programme, please email us.

Young Chefs Competition – The Young Chefs Competition allows young food enthusiasts to show off their cooking skills and one is ultimately awarded the accolade of Young Chef of the Year. To sign up for the competition, please click here.

Evening Programme – In 2010, York Food Festival launched its evening programme. The aim was to attract people to stay in Parliament Street after 5pm in a vibrant and entertaining setting. Evenings including live music, theatre performances and cat walk fashion shows have previously taken place. To be a part of the evening programme, please click here.

Ale Trail – The ale trail first started in 2003, and celebrated York’s real ale and beer. Since then, it has grown to include more pubs and is still going strong. To find out more about this year’s Ale Trail please click here.

Dine At My Table – Dine At My Table was launched by York Food Festival in 2011 and has been popular ever since. It gives local chefs/supper clubs/cookery enthusiasts the chance to host an intimate dinner party, with a set menu, for up to eight people. Highlights of previous events include Sara@St John (Sara Danisen Medio).

Taste Trail – The Taste Trail began in 2012 and aims to provide visitors with an all round experience of Food in York. Around 20 different restaurants/delis/cafes take part so that visitors can sample the delights of York’s food. Tickets for 2013 are £5 for one or £8 for two, and can be bought here.

Around 400,000 visitors are expected throughout the ten days in September, as well as 1000 school children.

Images and Press Releases can be seen on http://www.yorkfoodfestival.co.uk/media.php