THE Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks, owner of the award-winning Black Swan at Oldstead, has been named the first official patron of the Malton Food Lovers Festival.

Mr Banks’s new role will see him work with the team on bringing more locally-sourced produce and talent to Malton, driving food projects and initiatives and inspiring future events.

The 11th annual event drew thousands of visitors to Malton at the weekend, with the organisers seeking to cement the town’s reputation as Yorkshire’s food capital.

More than 150 stalls selling locally-produced food and drink filled the Market Place, and there was a line-up of culinary experts from across the UK, including Tommy Banks and fellow Michelin-starred Yorkshire chef James Mackenzie, along with Stephen Smith, from the Star Inn at Harome, and award-winning food writer, Sabrina Ghayour.

Tom Naylor-Leyland, festival organiser, said: “The festival is the pinnacle of the foodie calendar here in Malton, displaying some of the finest food and drink farmed and produced in Yorkshire, as well as cooking demonstrations by the region’s most talented chefs – we are thrilled to have Tommy’s experience and inspiration on board as a patron and ambassador for our flagship event.”

Tommy added: “The festival truly showcases everything that is so special about Yorkshire’s food and drink – from growers and farmers to bakers and distillers – one thing that binds the event together is the passion and commitment to quality produce shared by both stallholders and visitors.”

In addition to the stalls and presentations on the main stage, the two-day festival saw cooking workshops and demonstrations, and Taverner’s Yard was given over to drinks producers such as Barton-le-Willows-based Sloemotion, makers of a new botanical vodka.