Modern cuisine from some of Hull’s finest restaurants will be presented alongside recipes dating back more than 100 years that emerged from USA – upstairs in the attic.
Chefs from fine-dining establishments The Two Rivers Restaurant at The Deep and The Wilson alongside Hull Marina will be joined by Vanessa Powell, who makes jams and chutneys to recipes written in pencil by her grandmother – and dating back to her grandmother’s grandmother.
The occasion is the Yum! Festival of Food and Drink, which is organised by Hull BID and will take place in Hull on 29 and 30 of July, with most of the events housed in a “Tasty Tent” on Princes Dock Street in the city centre.
The aim of the festival is to showcase Hull’s food and drink sector. Young chefs from the area’s top hotels and restaurants will compete for the Copper Saucepan Award and local producers will sell their wares at a market under canvas.
Among them will be Vanessa, who runs VKP Preserves from her home in East Hull with her mother Trudy Melton. They are building a business on the creations of Trudy’s mother, Sylvia Belcher, who died more than 20 years ago and whose recipes were revived after being found hidden away.
“I was looking for something up in the attic and found scrapbooks full of my Nan’s writing,” said Vanessa, a former post woman from Weston-super-Mare who moved to Hull four years ago to join her mother and sisters.
“There were recipes for things like peach chutney, rum and raisin marmalade and fig jam – with a recommendation to try that one with fish.”
The earliest date Vanessa has been able to find on the writings is 1938, but she is confident they go even further back because Sylvia was taught how to cook by her own mother and grandmother.
“As a young woman Sylvia worked in a hotel near Taunton and in service in Devon,” said Vanessa.
“She used to tell us that when bananas first arrived in England she didn’t know you had to peel them so just bit into one. She would make jam and chutney from things she found in the kitchens and we would go foraging in the hedgerows.
“I still do that but I also support local producers. We just plod along making things in small batches just like my Nan used to but we’ll be working round-the-clock soon to get things ready for Driffield Show and the Yum! Festival.”
Sylvia’s original recipes have also formed the basis for more modern culinary creations including rubs for barbecue cuts of meat and fish.
Vanessa sells the products at small village outlets throughout East Yorkshire and at farmers’ markets. She makes her own labels on a home computer, and mum Trudy cuts them out to stick on the jars.
“When I started doing the markets it was to sell home-made jewellery,” she revealed.
“But there were so many people selling jewellery that I decided to think of something else. That’s when we found Nan’s recipes. We decided to give them a try and they’ve been so popular we’re now thinking of putting them into a book.”
Kathryn Shillito, Hull BID City Centre Manager, said: “Vanessa’s story really is remarkable and we’re confident they’ll be a big success at the Yum! Festival.
“The event is all about promoting the excellent food and drink that Hull has to offer and demonstrating the variety. With the high-class restaurants at The Deep and The Wilson and the quality produce from our market traders and VKP Preserves we’re confident we can do that.
“The Copper Saucepan Award will be one of the highlights and there is still time for up and coming chefs to enter via the website at www.yumfestival.co.uk or www.heyha.co.uk but the deadline is 20 June.”