Bolton foodies flocked to the Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2013 launch yesterday in the hope of catching a glimpse of celebrity chef Michael Caines.
MM managed to fend off dozens off the chef’s devotees, and a couple of Bolton dignitaries, for just long enough to chat to him about his favourite Manchester food hangouts, passion for F1 and bringing the Michelin star back to the city.
Used to the sumptuous surroundings of Gidleigh Park in Dorset and his highly-successful restaurant chain Michael Caines at Abode some may ask why the two Michelin-starred chef has decided to patronise a regional food and drink festival.
“First of all the quality of the event grows every year, and I love the fact that Bolton Council has the vision to bring quality to the centre of the town,” he said.
“Now we don’t really see that relationship all that much between local providers and the sellers.
“I love the focus on regional food and educating young people in the local community – it’s a fun event that’s very warm and friendly.”
Bringing locally-sourced produce into the community instead of relying solely on supermarkets is something that the restaurateur and hotelier is keen to promote.
He explained: “Community lasts forever – local food can create an economic cycle that keeps local people in business, and use can use local products in all kinds of dishes.
“It’s a great privilege for me to be here and people clearly have a real appetite for this kind of thing.”
And it’s not just locally-sourced grub that’s got food enthusiasts’ mouths watering, but the prospect of bringing the elusive fine dining honour back to the city.
He added: “I would love to see a star in Manchester. I think we have got some real competition with The French’s Simon Rogan and also Aiden Byrne.
“We don’t want to be distracted – Manchester has consistently great food and the chefs have the vision – it’s about having the vision but not at any cost.”
And when Michael has a rare day off he hangs up his chef whites and heads out to sample what delights other Manchester eateries have to offer.
He revealed: “I love Australasia and The Grill – there are some great places to eat in the city.”
But food isn’t the only thing on Michael’s mind as in his free time he loves the high-octane thrill of Formula 1.
He said: “I work with the Williams F1 team and help with their hospitality; it’s a real guilty pleasure.
“I just wanted to be a good cook – I’m just a chef able to use my skills and evolve my career.
“I’ve got my first book coming out in October which is quite an exciting time for me – it’s lovely to be in such a position.”
Michael Caines at Home will be released on October 3.