Press Release: Step outside and into the kitchen at West Dean’s Chilli Fiesta

Three-day family-friendly festival with camping (11, 12 & 13 August 2017)
10am - 9pm Fri, 10am-10pm Sat, 10am-7pm Sun
West Dean Gardens, Near Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0RX #chillifiesta

West Dean Gardens award-winning Chilli Fiesta returns with a creative flair for its 22nd Year (11, 12, & 13 August). The UK's biggest chilli festival attracts 25,000 visitors who come to enjoy the three-day programme full of food, live music and entertainment. The family-friendly festival takes place in the spectacular grounds of West Dean Estate, in the heart of the South Downs National Park. With a sizzling selection of live performances, 140 market stalls, cookery demos by top chefs and garden tours, visitors can expect to party and dance to live Latin music, watch cookery and gardening demonstrations, and dine on delicious chilli foods.

Cookery Theatre

Visitors can pick up new culinary skills in the Cookery Theatre as they experience live food demonstrations by a host of incredible top chefs and food influencers. Recognisable faces such as Dragons Den's most renowned entrepreneur Levi Roots, the most recent MasterChef winner Saliha Mahmood- Ahmed and previous Professional MasterChef champion Steven Edwards will be among those offering top tips and demonstrating their culinary skills.

Dan Doherty will be taking the weekend off from London's renowned Duck and Waffle, where he is the Chef Director, to join in with the Chilli festivities to talk about his latest book 'Toast Hash Roast Mash', as well as offering advice to budding chefs and food enthusiasts. Country pub and the Earl of March (in Lavant), along with Henry Herbert from The Fabulous Baker Brothers and West Dean's Head Chef Dan Frowen, will be revealing their culinary secrets and answering questions during their demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre. Giles Thomson, formally Executive Head Chef at the Ritz London and now owner and Head Chef of The Earl of March will be compering the Cookery Theatre throughout the weekend.

Rosie Birkett, chef, food stylist and journalist will also be in the Cookery Theatre and will be putting on interactive workshops in the Workshop Tent as will Kate Morris, who specializes in cookery skills for children. Kate is a co-devisor of CBeebies' 'I Can Cook'. Using ingredients from all over the world, these chefs will be sharing their knowledge in an easy and relatable manner, ensuring visitors take away new skills to recreate at home.

Cookery Theatre Timetable

Cooking Theatre Programme (please note this may be subject to change)

Friday 11th August

  • 11:30 Giles Thomson
  • 12:15 Fabulous Baker Brothers
  • 13:30 Rosie Birkitt
  • 14:45 Giles Thomson
  • 15:45 Fabulous Baker Brothers

Saturday 12th August

  • 11:00 Giles Thomson
  • 12:00 Dan Doherty
  • 13:15 Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed
  • 14:30 Dan Doherty
  • 15:45 Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed
  • 17:00 Dan Frowen

Sunday 13th August

  • 10:45 Giles Thomson
  • 11:45 Steven Edwards
  • 13:00 Levi Roots
  • 13:45 Kate Morris
  • 14:45 Levi Roots
  • 15:30 Steven Edwards
  • 16:45 Levi Roots

Garden Theatre

Learn the true art of growing chillies with West Dean Gardens' very own Gardens Supervisor and chilli expert Sarah Wain. Sarah along with her husband, Gardens Manager Jim Buckland, have managed the award-wining gardens for the last 26 years. In their Victorian glasshouses 150 chilli varieties will be on display. In the Garden Theatre Sarah will be joined by another chilli expert from the Chilli Alchemist, who make unique chilli products to compliment all types of taste buds. They will be revealing information about how and why our bodies react to the fiery fruits. Edible Ornaments, the team behind The Cherwood Chilli Ranch, will also be taking to the Gardening Theatre stage along with Sea Spring Seeds, who will be teaching the audience how to pick the perfect pepper. Mark Diacono, award-winning food writer, grower and photographer will be talking about life on Otter Farm and Emily Rae will be giving her top gardening tips. Rachel Seigfried will be in the Gardening Theatre on Sunday at 13:45 and she will be advising the best flowers to grow for intense colour in late summer.

Gardening Theatre Timetable

Gardening Theatre Timetable (please note this may be subject to change)

Friday 11th August

  • 10:30 Edible Ornaments
  • 11:00 Mark Diacono
  • 11:30 Sarah Wain How to grow chillies
  • 12:00 Chilli Alchemist
  • 12:30 Sea Spring Seeds
  • 13:00 Emily Rae
  • 14:30 Mark Diacono

Saturday 12 August

  • 10:30 Edible Ornaments
  • 11:00 Sarah Wain
  • 12:30 Mark Diacono
  • 13:45 Emily Rae
  • 14:30 Sea Spring Seeds
  • 15:15 Chilli Alchemist
  • 15:45 Mark Diacono

Sunday 13 August

  • 10:30 Sarah Wain
  • 11:00 Mark Diacono
  • 11:30 Sea Spring Seeds
  • 12:30Emily Rae
  • 13:45 Rachel Siegfried
  • 14.45Mark Diacano

Tickets and Camping

There will be a selection of bars and restaurants onsite and a wide range of chilli-related food stalls, as well as foods to cater to all tastes, from champagne and seafood to Mediterranean delights. With over 140 stalls, visitors can expect a great variety of quirky gifts available to purchase, from hot and spicy foods of the world to chilli plants, seeds and gifts. All shopping stalls close at 6pm but there will be a range of food and drinks available into the evening as the entertainment continues.

Ticket information

Early Bird Prices save 20% on the full price (available until 25th July)
Demand for tickets to Chilli Fiesta will be high, so early booking is advised.
Friday Day Ticket: Adult £14.40
Saturday Day Ticket: Adult £16.00
Sunday Day Ticket: Adult £14.40
Child Ticket (any day): £2.00
3-day pass with camping: Adult £92.00 Child £28.00

Note: Children age 4 and under enjoy free entry, up to age of 16 requires a child ticket. Children are to be accompanied by a paying adult.

Camping for the weekend

Weekend family-friendly camping offers full top of the range campsite facilities (including showers, flushable toilets and running water). Camping tickets must be purchased online prior to arrival as pitches are limited.

The campsite on the rolling West Dean Estate is split into three zones and is picked on the day of arrival: Jalapeno (most popular general camping area, close to the event arena and enhancing the festival atmosphere); Pimento (quiet camping area away from the main arena ideal for a good night's sleep); and Bell (family friendly and close to the toilets and showers).

A limited number of pitches are available so early booking is essential.

Book online at:

Notes to Editors

• West Dean Gardens is part of the Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust No. 1126084, also comprising West Dean College, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.

• West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of
Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London

• All photography is free to use for editorial purposes

For further information, media accreditation, filming opportunities and high-resolution digital images please contact:

Gabriella Pampel or Phoebe Ladenburg
Golden Squared Consulting
[email protected] / [email protected]
+44 (0)20 7439 2822