Ballymaloe Food and Drinks Literacy Festival – otherwise known as LitFest – announces initial LitFest 2017 participants and symposium focus on responsibility


The fifth annual Ballymaloe LitFest runs from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st May 2017, and Brian McGinn, director of the Emmy-winning Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table, is one of the participants confirmed for the festival, as is Slovenian chef Ana Roš of Hiša Franko in Kobarid, a chef with a very personal food philosophy of territory and season, who has been quietly revolutionising Slovenian food.

British chef and cookery writer Margot Henderson is also attending. Margot runs the caterers Arnold & Henderson, is the co-patron and chef of Rochelle Canteen in Clerkenwell, and is married to fellow chef and restaurateur Fergus Henderson. Margot will be cooking one of the pop-up lunches at LitFest 2017, which will be one of the most sought after tickets of the weekend.

The other pop-up lunch at next year’s LitFest will be cooked by Dublin-born Robin Gill whose string of innovative and exciting London restaurants – The Dairy, The Manor and Paradise Garage – has made him one of the hottest chefs in London. Jacob Kennedy also comes to LitFest 2017, chef patron of Italian restaurants Bocca di Lupo in Soho and Vico on Cambridge Circus, ice cream parlour Gelupo, and his latest project, soon to open, a pub serving Cajun & Creole cuisines called Plaquemine Lock. Making a welcome return visit to LitFest 2017 is Claudia Roden, the beloved Middle Eastern cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist.

Next year LitFest will celebrate food and drinks writing but will also continue to evolve the strand that was introduced at Litfest16, Our food – what’s the story?, designed to give fresh insights and questions to think about, as well as suggested actions to take long after the festival is over.

To that end LitFest will still be called LitFest, but the ‘lit’ in the title now refers more generally to food and drinks literacy, and not the narrower focus on food and wine writing suggested by the original festival title. Food literacy is the future of the festival – a little less about books and a lot more about understanding the impact of food choices on our health, our environment, our wellbeing and our economy. The festival is now officially called the Ballymaloe Food and Drinks Literacy Festival – or… LitFest!

The Grainstore will again serve as an exciting auditorium hosting the symposium at the centre of the festival. Over the weekend, the symposium at Litfest 2017 will stage a thought-provoking and inspiring series of short talks and presentations. Gathering an interesting and dynamic pool of professionals, writers, experts and authorities from at home and abroad, the festival will focus minds and thoughts on the question of responsibility – our responsibility as cooks and eaters.

The LitFest 2017 symposium on responsibility is designed to spark imagination, generate discussion and prompt action in attendees to recognise their individual role as a crucial link in the food chain. Every time we cook something we have a responsibility – a responsibility to the people we are cooking for and the people who produced the food we are cooking. We have a responsibility to the environment and to the planet, and each choice, every action has its own impact. This crucial conversation, led by some of the most thought-provoking and dynamic writers and thinkers about food will be passionate, factual and inspiring and is a must for all who eat, and cook.

The full schedule of participants and events will be announced in early January, with tickets for all the events also available from Monday January 9th. Vouchers for Ballymaloe LitFest 2017 go on sale on Monday December 5th, to be used to purchase tickets once they go live in January.


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