FOOD lovers were given a master class in the culinary arts today as celebrity chef Simon Rimmer entertained crowds at a food festival in Wycombe.

Hundreds turned out to the Eden Centre to watch live cooking demonstrations from the TV presenter and restaurateur in the shopping arcade.

And the Sunday Brunch star joined competition winner Paula Lee and a member of the BFP team on the judging panel for the Big Bucks Bakeoff cake competition.

He said: “It’s great to be in Wycombe, it’s my first time here and it seems a nice place.

“I do a lot of specialist food festivals over the summer where the crowd are all there for that purpose, so it’s great to have the chance to talk to shoppers, who aren’t all necessarily into their food or cooking.

“It’s funny because whenever you do live shows people come up to you and suggest recipe ideas. It sometimes turns into a cooking surgery!”

During the two 40-minute demonstrations, Simon prepared Japanese dish Beef Tetaki, cod with a cauliflower puree and a sticky banana-based dessert.

The cake judging competition was won by Charlotte Heath from Wycombe, whose gooey chocolate brownie cake wowed the judges with its rich flavour and smooth consistency.

She beat 27 other entries to scoop the award, winning a £50 Eden voucher, a signed copy of one of Simon’s books and a trophy.

Tina Boyce claimed second place with her summer lemon cake, and Rebecca Sadler took third spot with a cake infused with parsnip and maple syrup.

The Eden Food Fair also featured a host of local food producers offering their wares on stalls in the shopping centre.

Kathryn Carr from Flackwell Heath cake business Little Miss Fairy Cake said business was good at the fair, and offered to donate all the stock left over from the sale to Wycombe Hospital.

And independent chocolatiers Anton Hazelle from Princes Risborough were offering free samples of their handmade, cocoa-rich chocolate bars.

Food Fair organiser Pippa Witcher said: “The fair is all about increasing footfall at Eden and supporting local producers and it’s a great success.

"Many of them think they will sell out of stock by the end of the day which is really positive.

"We had a lot more entries for the bake off this year. People have really got involved and obviously it’s a plus that someone like Simon Rimmer is here to judge it.”

There were live demonstrations from Eden restaurants Wagamama and Frankie and Bennys, who gave shoppers tips on perfecting their recipes.

Indian food guru The Urban Rajah, aka Ivor Peters, gave a presentation of his cooking from the Indian subcontinent.

And budding young bakers tried their hand at cake making with the Smart Raspberry cupcake workshops.