Falmouth Oyster Festival celebrates 10th birthday with celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo

From humble beginnings to one of Cornwall’s top events, this year will see the Falmouth Oyster Festival celebrate its 10th birthday in spectacular style, with celebrity chef and Jamie Oliver mentor, Gennaro Contaldo.

The four day event promises something for everyone and runs from 19 to 22 October 2006.

Launching the festival in his own imitable way Gennaro Contaldo will demonstrate his famous culinary skills using Falmouth caught oysters and the day’s catch, entertaining festival goers with his unique flamboyant style and flair.

Gennaro is one of the most respected chefs in London as well as a renowned personality in his own right, widely known as the Italian legend who taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking. The 11am opening ceremony will be followed by a book signing.

Every day of the festival will feature mouth-watering cookery demonstrations by local chefs and restaurants and visitors to the seafood festival will be able to purchase tickets for a sumptuous meal cooked by the day’s chefs.

The festival marquee on the Events Square in Falmouth, will be bustling with Cornish craft and food producers, with the emphasis on the very best that Cornwall has to offer.

Simply cooked fresh fish dishes, and non fish options, as well as oodles of oysters, will be available throughout the four day event – an ideal way to enjoy the catch from the shores that lap at the feet of the marquee tents.

The event is simply a celebration of Cornwall’s maritime heritage and couldn’t be truer to the term ‘sea food and eat it!’

At the heart of the festival, Falmouth Bay Oysters will be aiming to better their sales of oysters, which set the all time record last year. This well known local company will again be organising the spectacular shucking competition.

“We are delighted that we have secured the assistance of two Conran chefs who will judge the oyster opening, and the Regency Hyatt Hotel has generously sponsored the competition” said Val Thompson, Director of Falmouth Bay Oysters. “It is great that our London customers want to be part of the festival in Falmouth.”

The shucking competition will be the highlight of Saturday afternoon, following on from the Grand Oyster Parade, led by Cornwall’s only marching jazz band.

University College Falmouth media students will film the cookery demonstrations and there will also be an exhibition of Mal Stone’s evocative photographs of Falmouth’s oystermen at work.

Each year the festival is developed to appeal to a wider audience. This year offers the opportunity to get out on the water, following the Oyster Boats as they work by traditional methods.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall has free hands-on kids activities, film showings and crabbing every day and is offering free entry for all kids over the four day event.

Children’s painting competitions and quizzes are also organised on the square. Seafood Cornwall will be managing a Cornish fish market with a fish auction at the end of each day.

True to its Cornish roots, the festival will celebrate its 10th Birthday with a Classic Cornish Concert on Thursday evening – starting the festival off with a celebratory bang!

Falmouth Oyster Festival is a community event supported by many different organisations working in partnership to organise what has become one of the top events in Cornwall.

Full details of the programme and further information can be found on the festival website www.falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk