Chilli festival will spice things up

The 2015 North East Chilli Festival at Seaton Delaval Hall. Picture by Callum Thompson.
The 2015 North East Chilli Festival at Seaton Delaval Hall. Picture by Callum Thompson.
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Festival organisers are promising to spice things up as they return for their 2016 event.

More than 80 independent food producers will be at the North East Chilli Fest, taking place at Seaton Delaval Hall on July 2 and 3.

Visitors to last year's North East Chilli Festival at Seaton Delaval Hall. Picture by Callum Thompson.

Visitors to last year's North East Chilli Festival at Seaton Delaval Hall. Picture by Callum Thompson.

It is the last time it will be held at the hall before moving to a new location in the North East, so organisers are promising it will be bigger and better than ever.

There will also be entertainment, including performances from Brit nominee Kenny Thomas, Newcastle funk band Smoove and Turrell, eight-piece North East soul band SouLutions and The Din from London.

There is also a cabaret tent – where magician Chris Cross will perform alongside Burlesque dancer Suzie Sequin, daredevil Charlie Burns and Elvis impersonator Mike Memphis – and real ale and cocktail bars.

And one of the highlights of the weekend will be the 2016 North East Chilli Eating Competition.

Mark Deakin, who, with his wife Shelley, is organising the event, said: “But it’s not all about chilli.

“There’s food and fun for everybody.

“It’s a festival in all senses of the word – a real family event – and as it’s the last one at Delaval Hall, we want to make it a real celebration before we take it to an even higher level.”

Shelley aded: “We’ll be sad to leave Seaton Delaval Hall but the festival’s outgrown it.

“We’re determined to go out with a bang.”

For more details and to buy tickets, visit its website www.chillifest-ne.co.uk/

The event attracts food producers from all over the UK, including Mr Vikki’s from Cumbria. It was set up by chef Adam Marks ten years ago.

He said: “I just love hot food. I’ve got a chilli addiction. I can’t eat a meal without it.”

Nurse Suzanne Cannon, Mark’s sister, and her husband Gary will be preparing their special brand of Hot Stuff Chilli Company sauces in their kitchen in Sheffield before travelling to the north east.

“It’s a bit of a man thing – people come up and say what’s the hottest you’ve got,” said Suzanne.

The Deakins, who live in New Hartley, have had a busy summer organising and running a series of Proper Food and Drink Festivals in South Shields and Whitley Bay, with more to come in Cramlington and North Shields.