Manchester Food and Drink Festival

As part of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival (10-21 September), the Mustard Tree kitchen will be welcoming four of Manchester’s most respected chefs for a series of special takeover events.

David Gale, from The Lawn Club in Spinningfields, former Mark Addy chef Robert Owen Brown, Tampopo’s Sandra Banks and Turtle Bay’s Quamar Sohail will be serving up lunch at our Manchester headquarters in Ancoats. But there’s a catch…

Much like the invention test in MasterChef, each chef will have the tricky task of creating a menu using only a limited set of ingredients; only food that has been donated that day. It’s the same challenge faced by our participants in the charity’s Freedom Project, who run the kitchen on a daily basis. We’re looking forward to seeing what they can rustle up!

The Freedom project is an integral part of Mustard Tree’s work, helping people facing problems such as homelessness, addiction, mental health issues or with criminal records to turn their lives around through training courses, ready for work clubs, creative courses, counselling and mentoring.

Adrian Nottingham, CEO of Mustard Tree, said of the takeovers: “We’re excited to be partnering with MFDF this year. We look forward to connecting with local chefs and raising awareness of our work and daily challenges.

Our kitchen team work tirelessly to create wholesome and great tasting dishes with little time for pre-planning due to them not knowing what will be donated until the last minute.

It will be a pleasure to give the team a well deserved break and to watch some of Manchester’s finest chefs take over the Mustard Tree kitchen for the week.”

We will also be running a pop-up food drive, The Empty Pantry, at the Festival Hub on Albert Square from September 18 to 20.

In a concept that’s similar to the Empty Shop project, which we were involved in this year and last at Manchester Arndale, we are asking festival visitors to donate food items – as opposed to clothing – that will go directly to helping Mustard Tree clients.

The plan is to collect two tonnes of food over the three days, the same weight as the clothes collected by the Empty Shop back in January. So please come down at show your support! You can find a full list of items we are collecting by clicking here

Written by Jamie Faulkner, FireCask