Manchester Chefs Plan the Kantina Weekender ‘Great Return’ for May Bank Holiday

Manchester chefs plan “great return” event for the May bank holiday.

A food festival in Manchester is being planned for the late May bank holiday which looks beyond tasty and could be the tonic the hard-hit North West needs to finally get the hospitality scene back on track.

The Kantina Weekender will be located at Escape to Freight Island in Mayfield (near Piccadilly) which is, according to the website blurb is: “A long-forgotten freight depot from the city’s industrial past, reimagined as a cultural space for our future.”

Chefs taking part include Simon Martin of Mana – Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant – Gary Usher of Elite Bistros, and Mary-Ellen McTague of The Creameries. Also to be seen will be a Dishoom, The Jane Eyre, Higher Ground and Tast serving up food.

One of the more unusual, but brilliantly-conceived, ideas for the weekend are chef partnerships. For example:

Gary Usher (of Kala and Hispi) will partner with Forever Changes. Creameries chef Mary-Ellen McTague will join with Great Northern Pies. Tast and Baratxuri will team up on their grill and Pippy Eats will join Northernden’s Vietnamese restaurant Mi + Pho.

Stosie Madi from The Parkers Arms will also be at Kantina Weekender along with Brad Carter of Birmingham’s Carters of Moseley, who will partner with taco experts Madre.

The event will support Eat Well MCR, which has been supporting vulnerable people through the pandemic.

On drinks will be Pomona Island with Lervig and Northern Monk; Deya and Camden Town Brewery; and Charlie Miller from The Laughing Heart.

Dan Hope, founder of plant-based operations Firebird Hope, Four Side pizza, Krum and Plant Grill, will match with Where The Light Gets In’s Sam Buckley – recently a recipient of a green Michelin star for sustainability at his Stockport restaurant.

Sam Buckley said; “I’m absolutely delighted to finally be cooking at Escape to Freight Island.

“It’s an incredible space in the heart of the city and Kantina Weekender will be a great return for food fans across the country.”

Dan Morris, managing director of Escape To Freight Island said: “Kantina Weekender is an opportunity to finally come back together and share in the joy of food and drink.

We are very proud to be able to showcase the talents of the Escape To Freight Island residents whist they collaborate with some of the UK’s most prestigious chefs, brewers, bartenders and all round hospitality heroes.

Kantina Weekender will take place from Friday May 28 to Monday May 31 at Escape to Freight Island at Depot Mayfield.

Tickets will cost £35, which is fully redeemable as credit to spend at the festival, and optional donations to Eat Well MCR will be encouraged on the weekend. For more information checkout the website: