No, I haven’t changed my spell checker to the Italian version, I thought it appropriate to bid one of Leeds’ favourite regular events a warm welcome back.

On 4th November last year I was covering a performance at Leeds Playhouse which didn’t begin until 8.00pm and so I thought that I would kill two birds with one stone by calling for some pre-theatre refreshment at the Final Chow Down – da da da da, da da da da da da – before Lockdown kicked in the following day. I had booked for the first time slot of the evening and, as is my want, arrived early to see what socially distanced measures were in place.

Needless to say, November in Leeds is not the warmest of climates so I was pleased to see that there were several heaters to keep us warm, so warm in fact, that I moved to the other side of my table to escape the intensity of the one near my perch. The tables were suitably spaced and had obviously been newly sanitised. Speaking of which, there were several places where we could use the hand version to keep us safe. Social distancing was also facilitated by the QR Code on each table which, when scanned by a smart phone brought up a menu of food and drink from which you could order and pay for what you wanted. The waiting staff were suitably masked up and the food delivered on a tray which was presented so that we could remove our goodies from it whilst remaining a safe distance from the bearer.

Now, here we are at the end of March looking forward to the easing of Lockdown restrictions and, thank goodness, Chow Down is ready to celebrate the milestone by opening on the first permissible day, 12th April. Needless to say everything will be compliant with the new rules in place at the time so fear not.

Not only is Chow Down back, it is bigger and better than ever, with live music, DJs, and, of course, food and drink. See below for the programme as it stands at the moment but remember that it is subject to change and other items may be added so keep your eyes on the Chow Down website and their social media.

Chow Down Events

Bookings open for Spring Bank Holiday and the whole of June at 9.00am Friday 26th March. You had better be quick, though, as the ticket demand makes Glastonbury look undersubscribed.

Wait – there’s more!

If you check out their Instagram page you could win a table for 6 people for TWO weekends so go to: @chowdownuk

If you are fortunate enough to win but can’t raise the full six people – I would be five short – then I am available to make up the number. I have had my jab.

My original intention when I went to the last event was to go to the first one after Lockdown but it has been so much in demand that the April and early May slots are sold out. Keep checking though, in case there are returns.

Good luck with the ticket purchases and the competition, see you there sometime over the summer!

All photographs by Jo Ritchie

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