Cyrus Todiwala, Lisa Faulkner and Hugless Douglas creator, David Melling are confirmed among the many authors appearing at the UK’s first food literary festival, which takes place in Oxfordshire on 30th April and 1st May.

Kicking off the festival is MasterChef favourite John Torode, with a discussion around his hit collection of family focused recipes, My Kind of Food: Recipes I Love to Cook at Home. Continuing the theme, John’s partner Lisa Faulkner will share some family favourites, drawing on recipes from her three popular books: Tea & Cake, Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter and The Way I Cook.

Flying the flag for health conscious cookery are blogging sensations Madeleine Shaw, with her second book Ready Steady Glow, and ‘The Naturalista’, Xochi Balfour, whose collection of food and beauty recipes teaches how to feel happy and healthy both inside and out. Celebrity caterer Sophie Wright brings Blooming Delicious, a selection of recipes for every stage of pregnancy, while stylish Pip McCormac (Lifestyle Director at Red Magazine) brings The Herb and Flower Cookbook: Plant, Grow, Eat – a modern grow-your-own guide with fresh and flavoursome recipes that will get even the smallest garden blooming.

Challenging preconceptions are David Bez – or ‘the man who sexed up salad’ – who appears for a special Saturday morning event with Breakfast Love and shows that the first bite of the day can be easy and exciting, seven days a week. Nicole Pisani and Kate Adams – one former head chef at Yottam Ottolenghi’s award-winning NOPI and the other author of the celebrated Flat Tummy Club Diet – have penned Magic Soup, an imaginative combination of recipes which prove that a steaming bowl of broth can be as versatile and delicious as any dish.

Frances Quinn, whose impressive skills and quirky imagination wowed the judges and the public as she became the fourth winner of the Great British Bake Off will delight aspiring star bakers with treats from Quinntessential Baking. Cutting into the history of cake, social historian Alysa Levene prompts us to question the significance of the tasty treat in Cake: A Slice of History.

Some of the capital’s best restaurants are represented by renowned chefs including ‘the Godfather of Spanish cooking’, José Pizarro with his new tapas collection, Basque; Ben Tish, chef director of London’s award-winning Ember Yard who’ll be firing up the coals with Grill Smoke Bbq; and Claire Lattin and Tom Hill, from Soho eatery Ducksoup, which is championed for its simple approach to natural, fresh and local food.

Decorated celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE joins the line-up to launch Mr Todiwala’s Spice Box – a daring book of 120 dishes based on just ten core recipes – while dynamic husband-and-wife duo, Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi (who have seven books, three acclaimed restaurants, a top cookery school and regular TV appearances under their belts) bring Rome, the latest release in their exploration of Italian cuisine.

Devised in celebration of the festival’s first year are two very special events. Saturday night sees a six-course pop-up Supper Club presented by ‘Britain’s most fashionable foodies’ (The Times), Terry Edwards and George Craig. One having trained in the kitchens of Michel Roux, Paul Heathcote and Mark Hix, the other a Burberry model and front-man of indie band One Night Only, the duo head to Henley with a menu designed around standout dishes from their new book, Feeding Friends. A Saturday afternoon panel event combines top chefs and food writers including local restauranteur, Paul Clerehugh and serial cookbook writer, Kay Plunkett Hogge, for an exploration into the culinary experiences of people with access to the best kitchens in the world. In My Most Memorable Meal, we’ll hear all about the dishes that are etched into the memories of these foodies – and discover what ‘good food’ really means.

Alongside book events are free cookery demonstrations from top local talent including Heston Blumenthal’s head chef at Michelin-starred pub The Hinds Head, Spaniard Jânos Veres; Raymond Blanc’s talented protégé, Shaun Dickens, whose Henley restaurant has been awarded a host of prestigious accolades since being opened by the nation’s favourite Frenchman just three years ago; and sustainability focused, Michelin chef Ryan Simpson of Orwells at Shiplake, who’ll show how to get the best out of fresh, local produce with the least amount of fuss.

A pop-up from riverside farm shop, The Local Larder gives festival-goers the chance to see and hear how some favourite local delicacies make it from field to fork, with a series of free ‘Meet the Maker’ sessions. Speakers’ Corner is set to educate and entertain with regular daily appearances from some of the best and most intriguing brands represented in the festival’s Marketplace and Feast Street areas, which both house a handpicked selection of stallholders with something special to share – from take-away treats prepared by the likes of Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi’s Bray restaurant, Caldesi in Campagna and Cyrus Todiwala’s Cafe Spice Namaste, to handmade Japanese knives, a vintage crockery and kitchenware shop in aid of local charity, Sue Ryder and natural fruit juice (or booze-spiked) ice lollies from London’s Lickalix.

For budding young chefs and wannabe writers, the chance to get up close and personal with top authors including David Melling – who heads to the festival with the latest in his illustrated series, Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake and Steve Antony with I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda, a sure-fire hit for little doughnut lovers. Henley’s famed River and Rowing Museum present ‘Mr Toad’s Picnic’, a free activity zone themed around the much-loved Wind in the Willows, and local cookery school, Smart Raspberry are setting up shop to teach children and teens how to cook nutritious food from scratch.


Henley on Food takes place on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May 2016 at Shiplake College, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

Tickets go on sale on Monday 7th March at