BOURNEMOUTH town centre was packed from wall to wall with revellers for this year's food festival.

With stalls serving up everything from burgers and chips to South American and Thai cuisine and oysters with English sparkling wine, not to mention live music and a set of torrid cooking contests, there was plenty to draw the eye.

Among those battling it out in the 'People's Kitchen' on Saturday before a sternly perfectionist audience were town mayor Lawrence Williams and Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns.

Charged with preparing an afternoon tea with cakes and éclairs, the pair diligently laboured over their task with the assistance of chef Des Burke, before touring the crowd with their creations.

Voted the victor, with a slim majority, Mr Burns said: "We didn't know what we would be making until we arrived.

"I thought my afternoon tea wasn't bad but it is not the most complicated thing, I love cooking and do a lot of curries and roasts.

"Today, this is Bournemouth at its best, people from the town and visitors milling around a wonderful array of cultures and cuisines.

"This is why we are all blessed to live in Bournemouth."

Audience members also stepped up to the 'cook-off' challenge, and later in the afternoon the Daily Echo's own editor Andy Martin took on BBC Radio Solent presenter Steve Harris in preparing a dish of Kung Pao chicken, aided by chef Andy Chu.

Mr Burke, who runs Flavours School of Cookery in Christchurch Road, assisted in the judging by a panel of experts, and the Echo man was crowned the winner.

Today more hardy festival-goers will have a chance to learn more about the wonderful world of booze with a 'Conker Gin Masterclass' from 3-4pm and 'Cocktail Cabinet Creations' from 4-5pm.

Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival runs for 10 days, concluding on Sunday, June 25.

Events this week including cooking demonstrations and farmers markets.

Tomorrow, from 7pm to 9.30pm, there will be a bartenders' competition, followed by a talk on English wine on Tuesday from 6pm to 7pm and the Wagamama Experience from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday.

There will also be free to attend live music every day including tribute acts, acoustic, folk, blues as well as comedy pianist Matt Black, displays by the First Position School of dance and performances by the Funky Little Choir.

All events take place in the festival hub in The Square. For full details visit