TV chef adds spice to tourism conference

Popular television presenter and chef Simon Rimmer will be helping to showcase some of the Peak District’s premier food to tempt delegates to attend the official tourist board’s forthcoming annual conference in Buxton.

Simon – currently presenter and resident chef on the Channel 4 programme Sunday Brunch – will add his star appeal to an afternoon cook-in at the Visit Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Conference at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, on Wednesday May 9.

His appearance will be just one element in a delicious menu of ideas designed to help tourism businesses boost their performance and profits throughout 2012 and beyond.

Presenter of a mouthwatering range of food programmes, including series on BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV and Channel 5, Simon will be joined by two high-profile Derbyshire chefs, including Simon Bradley, head chef at multi award-winning East Lodge Hotel & Restaurant, Rowsley.

He will introduce the chefs, who will then both have half-an-hour to prepare a two-course meal ‘fit for a Duke’ – in this case, the Duke of Devonshire, who will address the conference in the morning - using as much local and seasonal food as possible. Throughout the demonstration, he will quiz them about the importance of local produce, especially Peak District specialities they use or prepare.

Simon’s appearance at the conference underlines this year’s theme – Inspired by You – which aims to celebrate the many hundreds of people, organisations and specialities, including food and drink, which makes the Peak District such a unique and special place to visit.

Around 60 stalls in The Octagon will feature the area’s best providers and producers, in the Showcase Exhibition – free to conference delegates, local businesses and the general public from 9am to 3pm. The exhibition will also include a Leaflet Zone, where local businesses will have the opportunity to display promotional literature to both other businesses and visitors.

“We are delighted to welcome Simon, who will be joining us to celebrate the very best of what the Peak District can offer at this year’s conference,” said David James, Chief Executive at the tourist board.

“We’re also extremely pleased that the Duke of Devonshire is able to join us, to offer his own personal take on the importance of tourism to the local and regional economy, during the morning session.

“Food and drink produced in the Peak District is among the very best on offer in the UK, and we’re well aware that quality local produce is one of the key ingredients of an enjoyable holiday here.

“I’m sure our chefs will relish the challenge of producing a meal fit for a Duke, and that the audience will be inspired by their meticulous approach and dedication to their craft.

“I’d advise anyone keen to attend to book as soon as possible, as places are already in great demand. As well as highlighting the huge range of premium products and experiences the Peak District has to offer, it’s the perfect forum for local businesses to explore ways of maximising their potential throughout a key year for British tourism and beyond.

“It’s also the ideal opportunity to get up to speed with what the tourist board is doing to promote the area’s unique assets, both at home and abroad, and to do some valuable networking with other businesses.”

Main sponsor of this year’s conference is Buxton Water. Tickets cost £20 excluding VAT for tourist board members or £25 excluding VAT for non-members, including hot lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Exhibiting in the Showcase Exhibition costs £50 plus VAT per stand, £75 plus VAT for non-members, including refreshments throughout the day. Organisations can display their brochures in the Leaflet Zone for just £10 (free of charge to tourist board members).