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.


Anton Piotrowski

Anton began his career at 14 working under some of the South West’ best chefs before moving to London where he spent the next 7 years working with some of the greatest culinary chefs at the time.

In 2012 he entered Masterchef: The Professionals and become joint champion.
A year later he won his very own Michelin star.

Anton’s culinary focus is on great British produce cooked with modern techniques to the highest level.

Now relocated to the North West of England where him and his partner, Rose have embarked on their dream journey and opened Röski restaurant in Liverpool city centre.


James Connolly

James was born and raised in Liverpool, and worked with great chefs like Aiden Byrne, Marcus Wareing and Simon Rimmer.

James is to be the Head Chef at Pinion, the 5th newest restaurant to be opened by local restaurateur Gary Usher. This new Bistro style restaurant will be in the Prescot village. James has spent he last 7 months working at the acclaimed Wreckfish Bistro in Liverpool with Gary and his elite team, in preparation of the opening.

James’ cooking style is classic flavours with a modern twist, and he will be demonstrating several of the new restaurant dishes


Luke Richardson

Luke started cooking in a small group of gastro pubs called ‘Moleface pubs’. He has always had a taste for Mediterranean flavours, so after my time was done in the pubs he spent a year in one of the best tapas restaurants in Nottingham.

After that he moved to Chester to start at Sticky Walnut as a Chef De Partie, where after a year and a half, and the expansion of the group, he was asked to step up to Head Chef. After 2 years doing that role, he was then asked to move to Liverpool and open Wreckfish, which has just been voted number 19 best in the UK in the Estrella Top 100 Restaurant Awards.

Luke gets a lot of his cooking inspiration from trips to Paris.


Ian Andrews

Waitrose Wine Specialist, Ian Andrews will be presenting a wine tasting master class along with Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Chef  James Holden, preparing some favourite recipes!  Learn which wines go with which dishes and complement the food you eat.

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