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Lakeside Conference Centre hosts Gluten Free Festival

Lakeside Conference Centre, part of the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus (NAFIC), hosted Coeliac UK’s Gluten Free Food Festival.

The event included 1,300 people, which combined the charity’s AGM, a gluten free food exhibition and a book signing and demonstration from Jane Devonshire, MasterChef winner from 2016.

Coeliac UK, a charity for people who need to live without gluten, also provided an educational talk from a gastro specialist, Dr Hugo Penny, who offered 1-2-1 dietetic clinics.


Food festivities

Lakeside Conference Centre, based outside of York, hosted the food exhibition, which was noticeably the most popular for those attending.

It included a variety of stands from bakers to brewers, who were offering local and national produce.

The catering team delivered a menu of strictly gluten free options, including a BBQ fayre and a deli bar with a range of sandwiches and cakes. The café also hired an ice cream machine to offer a gluten free dessert option.

A cookery station was set up for guest chefs to demonstrate their gluten free recipes. Meanwhile, exhibitors also had access to cook samples for delegates to taste.


Lakeside’s view

Liz Cashon, innovation campus manager at the Lakeside Conference Centre, said: “Coeliac UK’s Gluten Free Food Festival was the largest event we have ever held here, but our flexible facilities and collaborative approach meant the meeting was an incredible success.

“Our venue needed to support a varied programme of activities from cooking demonstrations, to creating a 100% gluten free café, which we carefully planned and delivered. Our large car park also meant there were no restrictions for those traveling by car, giving our guests a smooth experience from start to finish.”

Libby Willing, membership officer at Coeliac UK, commented: “Our flagship Coeliac UK Gluten Free Festival travels across the country and is an important day for those with coeliac disease to enjoy access to a range of resources specific to their dietary requirements.

“We were drawn towards the Lakeside Conference Centre as it wasn’t a hotel, which meant it gave us a lot of freedom to create a bespoke and tailored event that worked for us. It also meant we were able to host the event in a truly gluten free environment, which can sometimes be extremely tricky in spaces open to the public.

“The venue offered everything we needed, not only because of the space but the friendly and accommodating team that were supportive throughout the whole planning process. We can’t thank them enough for catering to our needs.”