CELEBRITY chef Michael Caines is relishing the chance to produce a string of delicious dishes at this year's Bolton’s Food and Drink Festival.

Caines is heading a mouthwatering line-up of chefs for the four day showcase taking place from Friday August 26 to Monday August 29.

He will be joining Italian chef Gino D’Acampo, Hairy Bikers culinary duo Si King and Dave Myers and Yorkshire chef James Martin.

At today's launch at the Abode Hotel in Manchester, two Michelin-starred chef Caines said: "Food festivals are really important and a great way to draw people into the region. This festival is the celebration of everything that is great about Bolton. Food culture is as important as music and sporting culture."

The launch was attended by scores of regional business and tourism leaders. The festival is fast gaining a reputation as the foodie event to visit in the North West.

Caines will open this year's show with a cookery demonstration on the Friday.

He said he believed Bolton's festival had the edge over its competitors.

"Manchester's festival hasn't really focussed enough on local and regional food," he said: "Bolton has made a point of doing that and people keep on coming back. I'm looking forward to putting on a great demo and hope people will take plenty of food memories away with them."

Paul Simpson, Managing Director of Visit Manchester, the Greater Manchester tourism board, also gave his backing to the festival.

He said: "Bolton identified that there was a gap in the market for a food event in August and it's a great time to have it. It's a complimentary offer to the Pride festival, and visitors can easily attend the event as Bolton's only 15 minutes away on the train. Greater Manchester’s tourism industry brings in millions of visitors a year and we know events and festivals like this bring in visitors.

"It really has become a successful event in its own right and it’s important for Greater Manchester as a whole. I have no doubt it'll be a real success."

Bolton’s very own spice queen Meena Pathak, who runs the Pathak food empire with husband Kirit, explained that the festival was a way to expand people’s food experiences.

She said: “The festival is so multicultural and there are so many people who don’t get an opportunity to taste food from other parts of the world. Events like this mean people only have to travel a few hundred yards to increase their food knowledge. I’ll definitely be attending the festival this year.”

This year’s festival is planned to be even bigger and better than previous years.

New for this year is a cookery theatre for local and regional chefs in the Market Place Shopping Centre. Chefs will also cook in the kitchen at Bolton Market, Ashburner Street.

A dedicated marquee for the celebrity chefs’ cookery demonstrations will be located in Victoria Square.

Local, regional, and specialist traders will entice shoppers with a range of food, drinks and craft products at the speciality market.

Tickets for the celebrity chef demonstrations will go on sale in June.