Welcome from Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth

A Warm Welcome From Rick Stein

I remember at the last festival walking into The Seafood Restaurant at around 8.00pm on a Saturday night and feeling incredibly proud to see a large number of the British chefs who I esteem most highly crowded around the bar engaged in animated conversation. To think that all these stars would want to come down to little old Padstow to do cookery demonstrations and be here for the whole weekend. It’s a lot to ask of them in their busy lives but I think it’s the complete enjoyment of doing a bit of work but mainly having a lot of fun eating and drinking in a little fishing port nestled in the shelter of the Camel Estuary on some cold winter days. It’s cheerful with Christmas lights, there’s lots of lovely pubs and restaurants; it’s the place you’d really want to be in a weekend in December. For us chefs it’s actually all about talking shop, who’s opened what, who’s got off with who, which restaurants have closed, what’s the latest craze in London, who prefers a Martin Dry and who prefers a Negroni and where’s the best burger in the world.

Last year the buzz in the back of the demonstration kitchen was electrifying, there’s something intensely exciting but nerve-wracking about waiting to go on stage and hearing the applause of someone very talented who’s on before you like Angela Hartnett, Brian Turner or Nieves and hoping you can do as well.

Every year it seems a little larger this time we’ve got over 50,000 visitors but don’t worry it’s never going to get too big it’s the small scale of it which makes it so special.

Rick Stein

A Warm Welcome From Paul Ainsworth

Padstow is a very special place and Christmas is a very special time; I think that is why the festival is so popular and just grows every year. The two combine so well to really make you feel cocooned in this North Cornish winter wonderland. I urge everyone to add this to their ‘one of life’s experiences’ list as it’s something that I promise you will fall in love with, and give you the Christmas spirit that little bit earlier.

Paul Ainsworth