On Shrove Tuesday, Liverpool’s traditional Pancake Day Race returns, and as chef Alex Hopkins of Lunya Lita prepares to take on his rivals and earn a hat-trick, the excitement is growing.
The Liverpool BID Company organises the yearly race, which takes place in the gardens of Liverpool Parish Church. Top chefs in the city prepare pancakes for the race, which allows them to compete in laps around the gardens and flip the pancake. The pancake needs to be sturdy enough to survive outdoor conditions, light enough to flip easily while sprinting, and sturdy enough to stay in the pan.
Originally introduced in the 1980s, it was brought back to life in Liverpool in the 2000s and is a big deal for the participating chefs. The winning chef receives bragging rights as well as an engraved pancake pan from Liverpool’s Rector, Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing.
“It crêpes up on us every year but the Pancake Race is an important marker in the year. I am looking forward to seeing if Alex becomes what we think is our most successful race entrant yet. The origin of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday lies in the tradition of using up remaining fat and dairy products before ‘fasting’ began in Lent. Although people rarely give up dairy products in Lent today, many Christians still keep the tradition of giving something up as a way of preparing themselves for Easter.”
Alex Hopkins, defending champion, says:
“I can’t wait for this year’s Pancake Race. As the twice defending champion I’m hoping to make it three in a row for our superb restaurant. It’s a must attend for all keen Liverpool chefs.”
Seven chefs in total are expected to attend this year’s race from venues including Hotel Indigo, Aloft, Mercure, Lunyalita, Ma Boyles, Tempest and Novotel.