Be part of Faringdon’s Bake Off at the Food Festival

Calling all budding chefs...



As part of the first Faringdon Food Festival to be held on Apple Day (21st October), local school children will be invited to take part in a Bake Off competition. Nick Bennett, Head Chef of Restaurant 56 located at Sudbury House Hotel will be going along to inspire pupils to take part in the competition. His colleague, Ben Bullen, Head Chef of Sudbury House’s Magnolia Brasserie has been asked to judge the entries at Faringdon’s All Saint’s Church on Festival Day. Judging to take place at 11.30 am on the day with entries accepted from 10.30 am.

The local Tesco store in Faringdon has kindly supplied the baking goody bags for the children’s Bake Off. The pupils will be asked to bake a variety of treats including celebration cake of their choice. The store’s Community Champion, Trevor Nye, is pleased to be part of the Faringdon Food Festival: “Tesco Faringdon supports local community events whenever it can, and we are pleased to be able to support the partnership between Tesco, Sudbury House and the Town Council inspiring children’s love of cooking”.


Fans of the BBC’s Great British Menu will have seen Andrew Scott when he represented the Central Region. Nick also reached the finals of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2015. Collectively the team from Sudbury House create fantastic seasonal dishes for their guests to enjoy. Visitors to the Faringdon Food Festival will be able to watch as Andrew and Nick create one of their favourite Restaurant 56 dishes. The duo will be joining other chefs appearing in the Chef’s Theatre at Faringdon’s Corn Exchange from For further information about Faringdon’s Food Festival contact the

Nick first got interested in cooking whilst at school in his food technology class, he later went on to train at college. His career progressed working as a junior Sous Chef for four years at Mallory Court under the tutelage of both Simon Haigh and Head Chef Andrew Scott. Being part of the team that maintained the Michelin Star and 3 AA rosettes for 4 years, Nick covered all sections of the kitchen gaining a real passion for pastry.


“I love the pastry section, creating exquisite patisserie items with delicate but truly unusual flavour combinations, all beautifully presented to provide the diner with exciting visual and taste sensations.”

Ben Bullen

In 2012 he left with Andrew to work as Sous Chef at The Curlew Restaurant in Bodiam, East Sussex. The highlight of his 18 month tenure there was helping to retain the Michelin Star in the 2014 guide.  During his time at The Curlew, Nick entered and won Sussex Young Chef of the Year 2013.


Since Nick and Andrew joined Sudbury House Hotel in early 2014, their working relationship has continued. Restaurant 56 was awarded 3 AA rosettes in October 2015, placing it in the top 10% of restaurants in the country.  Simultaneously the restaurant also won the Best Gastronomic Restaurant at the Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards in both 2015 and 2016.


Now Nick plans to visit both the Faringdon Junior School and the Faringdon Community Academy in the hope that he will inspire the pupils to get baking. No doubt he will share some tips along the way.


“Getting the pupils involved in cooking and baking from an early age can really help spark a passion for food. I took pride in a simple Victoria sponge when younger, as I do with all my cooking now; it is something that will never leave me. I cannot wait to see that the pupils have in store with us at the Faringdon Food Festival!”


Ben, who started cooking at the age of 16, originally started his training at the North Oxfordshire College in Banbury.  During his 3 years of training he worked part-time at Whately Hall Hotel in Banbury, where he first met and worked with Sudbury House Hotel’s Executive Head Chef Andrew Scott. As Head Chef of the two rosette Magnolia Brasserie, Ben is looking forward to being a Bake Off judge: “It will be really interesting to see that the future generation of chefs will be baking for us!”