HUNDREDS of foodies turned out alongside one of the world’s finest chefs to celebrate this year’s Maldon Smoke and Fire Festival.

The weather did not stop a whole host of food lovers from coming to Promenade Park throughout the weekend.

They all came together to have a huge banquet filled with ribs, fried chicken and every kind of barbecue food one could hope for.

A Gordon Ramsey lookalike was on hand to give his three Michelin star critique all day.

Festival-goers were feasting on the host of live music, drinks and a

trade market, which allowed them to learn all about the secret ingredients which went into the food they were eating.

Ashley Bird, one of the organisers of the annual event, was very happy with the turnout for this year’s festival.

He said: “The whole weekend went so well.

“Obviously the rain was a bit of a problem but it did not deter anyone from coming out on the Friday.

“The paramedics and doctors were in supreme form, some stalls were sadly not able to open due to the rain but it was OK.”

There was a host of fun and games available for all ages to enjoy over the weekend.

A bespoke children’s play area was on hand when the weather allowed, while all the mums, dads and grandparents were able to get to know the best of the culinary best in Essex.

The organisers believed if the weather had held up, this year would have been the Smoke and Fire Festival’s biggest.

There were also a number of eating competitions including a hot wing challenge and a chilli eating contest.

The impressive fire cooks included Jason Latham, Aaron Smith, John Gower, Steve Johnson and Simon Dyer.

Mr Bird said: “The numbers were slightly down on what we expected but I have no doubt if the weather had been better, we would have smashed any other year.

“We are going to keep growing we’re sure.

“It was a fantastic weekend, all the hotels in the area were fully booked which is also great news.”

The festival is a firm favourite on the district’s events calendar.

To find out more about the festival and follow updates visit