Tom Kerridge’s The Hand and Flowers is the only pub in the UK with two Michelin stars.

mcith_Grass-sign.jpgmcith_TOM.jpgSome chefs might settle for that but no, Tom then set up the first Pub in the Park festival in his hometown of Marlow, fittingly after having the idea in the pub with his close neighbour Chris Hughes. mcith_Pig-cheek-dauphine-.jpgmcith_Room.jpgHandily, Chris is CEO of Brand Events which run Taste food festivals as well as the Top Gear Live show. That first event sold all 18,000 tickets within 24 hours.

Tonight, I’m at the launch event for this year’s tour. Eight venue towns adorn the wall as 2019 sees the tour doubling since last year. I ask Tom just where all this expansion is going to stop? He’s tells me he’s not after “middle Britain domination”. He wants to keep it real. Honest food “for people who just want to eat”. Sounds good to me. mcith_CHILLI-2.jpgTonight’s sample canapes are top notch examples of what people can look forward to: A chicken liver parfait cigar with prune and Armagnac ketchup, a truffle rarebit and english onion tart and a pig cheek dauphine with date brown sauce. All of which are lush variations on a crispy outer thing full of unctuous delight. mcith_plum-ketchup-tubes.jpgThen tubs of what look like ice cream come around. To my surprise and delight this is beef biltong chilli with smoked applewood cheese sauce and lime. Wonderful!

Musical outfits on the tour will  include: Basementjaxx, Razorlite, Jake Budd, Toploader, Texas, Kaiser Chiefs, Gabrielle and Fun Lovin’ Criminals, so something for everyone. It all kicks off in May with the original Marlow, then it heads to Roundhay Park Leeds, Knutsford, Bath, Warwick and Tunbridge Wells before coming to Chiswick, London then wrapping up in St Albans. Many of their chosen towns or locations are next to or inbetween places that normally get all the attention – and that’s deliberate, all of the artisans, pubs, food heroes and musicians vary according to location to support all the local communities involved. It fits with the laid-back feel they’re after and I come away feeling Pub in the Park will be a fantastic event to go to – but which one?

@MikeFairbrass Tickets go on sale 1 February 2019.

Afternoon session ticket: Adult (16+): £30. Child (6-15 yr olds): £20. Family ticket (2 x adults and 2 x children, only available for afternoon sessions): £80

Evening session ticket. Adult (16+): £45. Child (6-15 yr olds): £30