Come Fly With Me!
By One Giant Leap
Tuesday 14 Jun 2016 15:13:00
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He’s cooked for royal functions, military banquets and, as a regimental chef, he’s even kept more than 1,700 people well fed every mealtime in the heat of the second gulf war and taken it all in his stride.

But former RAF chef Richard Willis reckons he’s going to be so busy at Saltburn Food Festival on Sunday 31 July that he’s called up four of his former comrades for a special reunion to help out on the day.

Richard, from Loftus, set up his own hog roast company Swine Dining Ltd with help from the Royal British Legion after 24 years’ service with the RAF.

He made his debut at Saltburn Farmers’ Market three years ago and proved an instant hit with Market shoppers.

Using free-range pork from East Yorkshire, sage & onion stuffing using his grandmother’s original recipe, and making his own apple sauce and red wine jus, he’s since gone from strength to strength at foodie events, private functions and Festivals throughout the North East and North Yorkshire.

And, with a respectful nod to his military background, Richard donates a percentage of his profits back to the Royal British Legion so they can continue to help current and future ex-servicemen and women make a new start in civilian life.

But, despite a busy military career, Richard described his two previous Saltburn Food Festival visits as the busiest days he’s ever had to face - so he’s called up four of his former RAF chef comrades just to keep pace with hungry Festival visitors this summer.

“I’ve cooked all over the world really,” said Richard. “Whether that’s cooking for Prince Charles & Camilla at Royal functions, or feeding over 1,700 people in a conflict zone.

 “But I can seriously say I’ve never been as busy as the last couple of Saltburn Food Festivals.

“So this year I decided to ask some of my former comrades to help out – and thankfully they all absolutely jumped at the chance of helping out on the day.”

Richard will be joined in Saltburn by Tony Belcher from RAF Leeming and fellow ex-RAF chefs Colin Crump, Jenny Broadhead and ‘Geordie’ Garriock – his former boss who now works with Richard virtually full-time at Farmers’ Markets and other foodie events.

“I’ve totted up that the five of us have 158 years combined experience as chefs between us,” said Richard. “And most of them don’t look a day over 21!

“But it’s a heck of a team. We’ve all cooked at royal functions and banquets, and stood shoulder to shoulder during times of conflict. I couldn’t really have better people to work with, and it’s going to be a fantastic reunion for us all.

“The Food Festival is just incredible,” added Richard. “Absolutely breathtaking. It’s great to see so many people who love good local food gathered together in the same place on the same day. There’s a real sense of community and a great family buzz around the whole day, and I love being part of it.”

Organised by the team behind the seaside town’s popular monthly Farmer’s Market, Saltburn Food Festival will see Milton Street transformed into a buzzing Festival village for a day packed full of fun for all the family.

A huge celebration of good local food, it’s all part of a busy day that includes a bustling street market featuring more than 80 of the best independent food producers from the North East and North Yorkshire.

Special guest chefs including Mark Greenaway from BBC2’s Great British Menu and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch will be cooking up a treat at the Festival’s live Cookery Theatre.

Foodies can also enjoy a family kitchen for children, world street food, outdoor dining and picnic areas, street theatre, live music, a vintage bus as part of the festival’s park & ride scheme, and much more besides – all with good local food taking centre stage.

Saltburn Food Festival: Sunday 31 July. 10am-4pm. FREE Admission. For further info & updates, log onto




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