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A taste of the Orient at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium

Chefs at one of the UK’s most iconic football grounds are boxing clever – as they prepare for a major national convention.
Around 4000 visitors dressed as characters from the silver screen, the small screen and the worlds of gaming and Japanese animé, will be heading to Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium from 17 to 19 June for SunnyCon 2016.


Along with the chance to dress up as their favourite screen characters, SunnyCon 2016 will include demonstrations, talks and stalls, relating to the increasingly popular Japanese animé trend.

And, in keeping with the Japanese theme, the award-winning team of Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events chefs at the stadium are preparing to create bento boxes filled with Oriental delicacies.

The boxes, which will be on sale at stalls in the stadium’s Platinum Club throughout the three-day event, will each contain fragrant rice with a choice of battered or steamed chicken, crispy duck leg or smoked tofu, along with a sweet and sour, black bean or teriyaki sauce.

Visitors will also be able to choose either a vegetable spring roll or Thai fishcake side dish and a Thai sweet chilli, soy and ginger or plum dipping sauce or opt for bento box alternatives such as packs of sushi, giant prawn crackers and chips with an oriental sprinkling of chilli and sea salt dust.

General manager, Frankie Angus, said: “By any standards this a massive operation but our chefs are expert at catering to the highest standard for very large numbers of people and are very much looking forward to the challenge.”

SunnyCon began in Sunderland six years ago, before moving to St James’ Park for the first time last year, when they held a smaller convention.

Over the course of the weekend, convention-goers will be able to meet VIP guests, such as US voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch – who also played Black Ranger for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers -  and Japanese voice actor Fumiko Orikasa.

Along with autograph signings and question and answer sessions, there will be a taiko drumming workshop and performances, a fashion show, a variety of craft demonstrations and the chance to take part in competitions and win cash prizes at the event.

Visitors will also be able to play board games and a wide range of video games on modern and retro consoles and take part in tournaments including Magic! The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon! 
SunnyCon 2016 will take place between 12 noon and 6pm on 17 June and from 10am to 6pm on 18 and 19.

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