We’re lucky enough to host many famous faces in the culinary world, they give you the hands on and up-close experience you won’t get anywhere else. Want to know a little more about who’s at Formby Festival this year? See below!

Want to know when each chef is on? Click here!

James Holden

James trained at Southport College, in Merseyside before heading to London to work at the world famous Savoy Hotel, working under several leading chefs such as Silvano Trompetto and Anton Edelmann.

Continuing to climb the career ladder having spells with Trust House Forte hotels and then Gleneagles in Scotland, James then spent time at a private hospital in Windsor to gain dietary knowledge which would later be beneficial in his more senior roles.

Gaining his first senior Head Chef role in 1986, James gained a reputation as one of the North West notable chefs, leading his brigade to achieve recognition from AA and Michelin guides. James has experienced working in Michelin starred restaurants both at home and abroad, always looking to enhance his knowledge.

James has always found time to develop his brigade of chefs from a young age, and decided upon a spell as chef lecturer with several colleges across the North West, and is proud of the number of past students who continue to climb the career ladder within prestigious establishments around the UK.

James was accepted into the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Association in the year 2009, and is proud to have been invited to be a member of such an illustrious collection of the UK’s leading chefs. Heston Blumenthal, Brian Turner, Albert Roux, Michel Roux, Gary Rhodes, Raymond Blanc, Stephen Docherty, to name just a few.

Since 2007, James has been an active Chef in the North West delivering the “Chefs Adopt a School” food education programme to over 40000 children in over 800 different schools. In 2012, he was the proud recipient of the  Springboard Annual Award for Excellence for “Best Regional Initiative”, an award that recognised his initiative to unite primary schools, secondary schools and local catering colleges into his “PYRAMID” of food education. This introduced children across all ages to recognising healthier choices in food, as well as considering the wonderful hospitality industry as a career choice! A career James has truly stamped his identity on!


Aazam Ahmed

Born and bred in Manchester, Aazam has a passion for his city and world cuisine; recently arriving home from the Far East, including Mainland China and Hong Kong, where he has been cooking regional delicacies with the local people.

With his natural talent and ability, Aazam fuses English with Far Eastern styles, the result of which includes one of his signature dishes Swordfish with Mango and Paw Paw. It is this flair that contributed to the enigmatic chef being named BBC Fusion Chef of The Year.

Originally completing his City and Guilds training in English and French cuisine, Aazam has gone on to win a number of accolades and along the way discovered a passion for bringing Asian Fusion cooking to the masses. This has led to numerous appearances on television programmes such as ‘Grub’s Up’ and BBC Greater Manchester radio. He has also appeared at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, the Mela Festival in London and alongside Kevin Woodford and the Isle of Man tourist board promoting their produce.

With his generosity of spirit and big heart, Aazam is actively involved in charity work both locally and nationally. This has included raising over £100,000 for Children in Need and taking part in charity auctions, offering his time and skills, to raise money for Cancer Research and Christies Hospital.

Strong links with numerous school projects have seen Aazam undertaking a variety of challenges over the years. These have included making over 1200 cakes with children from a primary school for Comic Relief, and in October of last year, donating his fee from BMW Motors to the Robin Wood Project enabling underprivileged children to attend a residential trip.


Anthony Wright

Anthony Wright is one of the rising talents in the Northwest with over 15 years’ experience. Anthony is currently the Head Chef at The L20 Hotel School based at Hugh Baird College in Bootle. The Hotel School is where Anthony and his team train future chefs in basic culinary skills to modern cooking techniques throughout the college’s commercial operations, including the L20 Restaurant, L20 Internal Catering and L20’s external corporate and events catering.


Bryan Townson

Bryan Townson, originally from Blackburn, has worked as a chef at top venues across the county for several years. He has also lectured Professional Catering at local colleges. He has always enjoyed making chocolates but it was after he made the favours at his wedding that he started to consider it more seriously. Since then, he has made more and more, teaching himself the skills he needs as well as undertaking specialist courses.

The 42-year-old, from Lower Darwen, launched BE Chocolate a little over a year ago with wife and Great British Menu chef Eve Townson. He creates a range of beautiful designs in striking colours as well as different and unusual shapes. He has carved everything from chocolate boots and shoes, flower pots and geckos to huge scale designs including an entire garden made out of chocolate to a cast of a man’s hands wrapped around his partner’s pregnant stomach.

Bryan also heads up the Bakery and Patisserie at the new development Holmes Mill in Clitheroe, part of the James’s Places/Bowland Brewery group.

His chocolates have put smiles on the faces of brides and grooms as well as their guests as well as at a host of other special occasions. He also supplied chocolates for Lancashire business awards, The BIBAs and has also been awarded two stars from the Great Taste Awards for his Kalamansi Caramel, a chocolate that uses green Kalamansi limes, which originate from Asia.


Eve Townson

Starting her career as a pastry commis, Eve has been cooking ever since she left university eighteen years ago and she gained experience working for Michelin starred chef Paul Heathcote.

Formerly Executive Chef at a gastro pub in Ramsbottom, she was awarded the Best Food Pub at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and Best Food Pub at the Lancashire Life awards. Eve also got the pub listed in the Good Food Guide 2015 along with gaining the Observer Food Award for Best Sunday Lunch in 2014.

Passionate about Lancashire, Eve draws on her local surroundings and heritage for many of her dishes.

Eve appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu 2015 cooking her way to the judge’s chamber for her chance to represent the North West.

After undertaking various consultancy roles including Selfridges, Eve took a move out of the kitchen full time this year, to take a position as Catering Development Manager for Hydes Brewery.


David Kehoe

David started cooking in Preston, after gaining a scholarship at Preston College, He went on to work for a number of restaurants, establishing himself as a pastry chef at Thyme @ The Sirloin in Hoghton. It is from there that he took himself to University in Liverpool to study Food Development and Technology. After studying, he worked solidly in restaurants around Liverpool, gaining a feel for the city and its’ emerging food scene. When Signature Living approached David in 2015 to open the Shankly Hotel as the Senior Sous Chef, he jumped at the opportunity to head up such an exciting project. In the last two years with the company, David has moved across the group of properties that they operate, encompassing all matters relating to food production and development, be it at 30 James Street and Eden running weddings and events, or launching new menus at Bastion, Carpathia and Alma de Cuba. David currently works alongside the group Executive Head chef Matt Cox and the Director of Food and Beverage, Mike Mounfield, in driving forward the research, development and implementation of new menus throughout the properties within the company.

2018 Opening Times
Friday 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
The countdown is on…