THEY are taking sibling rivalry to a whole new level – this farming family are bracing themselves for a series of cook-offs to test their mettle.

The Nicholson family are preparing to push themselves to the limit in a fun battle of wills at Cannon Hall Farm’s Food Festival.

The event – which runs August 25 – 29 – is in its second year and welcomes over 100 artisan food vendors showcasing their wares, plus live music, a fun fair and free kids workshops sponsored by Yorkshire Water.

The packed agenda for the event includes a daily sequence of cookery demos – hosted by TV personality Christa Ackroyd.

And for the first time, the Nicholson family will be putting themselves in the spotlight for a series of cook-offs.

Richard Nicholson, farm director, said: “We usually tend to be more behind the scenes when it comes to our food offer. We’ve got some extremely talented people who work for us – our pork pie wedding cakes are often talked about and our bistro nights always show our chefs best work.

“But as a family we are quiet foodie and so this year we decided to step up ourselves.”

The five-day event will be a celebration of gastronomic delights and will feature chefs like Tim Bilton, formerly of the Spiced Pear, Chef Matthew Benson-Smith who runs his own cookery school, and experts from Modello Kitchens in Silkstone. Heart FM radio presenters Dixie and Emma will also be appearing in a cook off challenge.

Richard will be taking to the stage in a head-to-head with Chef Matthew for a test of Yorkshire grit – how to create the perfect steak. Meanwhile, Robert and youngest brother David will embark on the Great Yorkshire Cook-Off, a Ready, Steady, Cook style challenge where they have to make a meal from a box of mystery ingredients.

Robert said: “I want to win. They are my brothers and we always have a good-natured joke about who cooks Christmas dinner the best, but this is my chance to prove once and for all that I’m the best cook. It’s been a debate we’ve waged for years, ever since mum taught us to make a cottage pie.”

The Nicholsons opened their family farm up to the public in the late 1980s after it had been threatened with closure. They realised it had to diversify and the farm that couldn’t even support one wage now has 200 members of staff. They are currently shortlisted for a national farming award for Farmer’s Weekly and will find out if they’ve won at a prestigious award ceremony in London in November.