I have intentionally ignored all modern cooking techniques over the last 5 years and gone back to basics. Some of the modern techniques are over used and you can’t beat good old-fashioned simplicity.
This approach has served me well but recently I have had more and more private events being booked and so I am going to re-introduce some of the newer techniques I have learnt over the years along side the more traditional methods.
These newer techniques will help to enhance the experience for our guests so whilst keeping my feet firmly grounded in the classic cooking style, I can’t ignore the potential of some relatively simple bits of kit.
The first new dish will be a delicious light celeriac mousse using this ISI espuma gun.
While foams get a lot of negative press, the theory behind foam allowing the flavour to hit all taste receptors in the mouth at the same time is a great technique to fully exploit the flavours of a dish so I will be using the bamix to add some highly flavoured garnishes too.
To make sure I keep the balance of old and new, I am also going to add some home made pasta to our menus too.
Lots of exciting things on the way so keep an eye on my social media.
Click here to book one of our Supper Clubs
I ran my first Supper Club in January 2018.
I started with six people in Sulston’s Kitchen and they were mainly friends and family. This slowly grew to eight people and then to ten. Eventually, we had to put on two nights per month and soon people were booking a month in advance. December 2018 we struggled to fill one night but by December 2019 we had a Supper Club every Friday and Saturday through the month in the lead up to Christmas.
Over this time I have teamed up with The Old Fire Station to cook one of the first Secret Supper Clubs in Tonbridge at Haywards Farm Shop cooking with all their amazing produce. It was a chef’s dream. This was followed with a Secret Supper Club at Neptune in Tonbridge, cooking on the Range Master in their showroom and serving from what would normally be their central till area. The guests were seated around the cooking area on Neptune’s beautiful dining room furniture; this was a really special night.
The whole idea of the supper clubs was to bring people together through the love of food, likeminded people that may have just moved to the town or those who wanted to be social and get to know new people. Everyone sat around one large table and one of the courses was always a sharing course, this helped create conversation and interaction. The open kitchen in close proximity to the guests was perfect as it gave me the ability to interact with the guests helped to add to their experience. It was the perfect way to describe the dishes, answer questions about the food, talk about the local suppliers and the amazing produce as well as general chat about new businesses in the town, up and coming festivals and events and so much more.
It was always BYO, which I feel, made the evening a lot more relaxed and also less expensive and this is partly what helped create the relaxed environment.
In these challenging times, much of what made the supper clubs so successful is still possible except now I run them in the comfort of your own home.
We will have monthly menus of 4, 6 and 10 courses for you to choose from for 6 – 8 guests (currently only 6 in line with government guidelines).
We are currently booked up every Saturday in October but free all other evenings so for more info and to book just head over to our online shop.
This is one part of the next chapter and I look forward to cooking for you and your guests.
Photo taken by Severien Vits at one of our Supper Clubs.
This is possibly one of my favourite ever photos and really captures the essence of what the supper clubs are all about.
You don’t need alcohol to have fun…… really!
Like most people in the UK, I have been drinking since my early teenage years whether in Europe on school trips, raiding spirit cupboards and making some serious cocktails that Dale DeGroff would have been proud of, hanging around a shop until someone would buy us a case of stella. The list goes on.
I talk openly about this with numerous friends and the social culture in this country that revolves around the pub and drinking.
To be honest I like the feeling of being drunk, on numerous levels, I like that first pint in the sun. I like the first pint after a long day at work. I like the pint in the airport at 5am. I like the glass of wine with a nice meal; the champagne to celebrate an achievement, the glass of whiskey with a friend, the mojitos on holiday in the pool. You get the picture.
So after an extremely heavy 2019/20, on Monday 3rd August I decided to take a break from alcohol. I’ve done it before and managed a year around 2013. Presumably not by chance, this was when I was training at my peak and competing at high-level jiu jitsu competitions. At the time I also ranked in the top 20 for my age bracket in sprint distance triathlons and I was completing a Foundation Degree in Culinary Arts. All whilst I was working full time as Executive Chef.
In theory, to break most habits you disconnect with people you associate with the thing you want to stop. But it seems everyone drinks alcohol so unless I want to stay in on my own this isn’t going to work. It’s hard though and I get tired of explaining why I’m not drinking. Especially when the person asking you is drunk. Tbh, when it’s round the other way, I’m no better.
I stopped drinking on a Monday and of course I had already arranged to meet a friend that week for a drink, so the first hurdle was telling my friend I’m not drinking. He said he was actually looking to have a break for a bit so I sighed with relief and we met up for a non-alcoholic drink. I thought for a moment this would be the answer. I could be everyone’s excuse not to drink; maybe everyone was looking for a reason to have a night off?!
Last time I stopped drinking I remember wanting to feel different in the mornings. To be honest I didn’t feel much difference, but that’s ok.
From experience, when making big life changes like this it is important to have goals and a focus. Create a reason not to drink. I have signed up for the Tour de Cambridgshire in June next year, which is a 100 mile fast paced race around Cambridgshire and I am looking to head to Denmark in spring 2020 to cycle 820 kilometers in 7 days around the Baltic Sea.
There will always be excuses and reasons to drink and for me it is important not to feel bad if I do, it is a marathon not a sprint. If I have a drink I will just reset the next day and start again. If by this time next year I have drunk 10 times, it is better than to have drunk 365 times. The following year I can hopefully get it down to 5 times and so on. Who knows I may be able to just stop completely.
I will post a blog in 6 months time for anyone that is interested to see how it’s going.
As lockdown was announced local chef and MasterChef winner, Julie Friend saw, like many of us, all of her jobs crash like dominoes from her diary.
“I started to panic after enjoying the first couple of weeks of enforced holiday and realised that I was going to have to either look at a new career or reinvent myself somehow.
A friend came round for a socially distant tea in the garden and remarked ‘this really is a magical spot you have here’. They were right. It was not only magical with views over wildflower meadows and apricot orchards, but the perfect solution for a COVID-safe dining experience which could be reached directly from my drive with no access to the house. Overnight The Tiny Table was born”
Creating bespoke menus with local seasonal produce, Julie cooks from her licensed kitchen, for one group at a time of up to 6 people. Lunches and early evening dinners are both an option and maybe brunch if you ask nicely.
The food reflects the setting with many of the ingredients having been picked straight from the garden a matter of minutes before they end up on a plate. No concerns about food miles here. Julie also takes advantage of being positioned between two fabulous farmshops – Haywards and Farmers Farmshop – and creates dishes with what she finds available in those.
“We are also weather and light dependent, so I’ll only be able to take bookings until mid-September but will try and fit as many requests in as possible”
People can book by emailing me for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Firstly what are some of the benefits:
Better Body Composition – if you are looking to change the way you look then strength training is a must, by training for strength you are going to increase your muscle size and strength, this in turn will help you to workout harder which in turn means more calories burned. Muscle also gives you a firm, tight body, the squidgy stuff thats body fat and we want to decrease that.
Higher Metabolism – This is paired with the above as its not actually very important to think about how many calories you burn during a workout as in the grand scheme of life its not that many, maybe 500 if you’re fit. But by having a higher metabolism you will burn more calories all day long, this is a must if you are looking to change the shape of your body and nothing increases metabolism better than having more muscles, which are a result of strength training.
Injury prevention – Being strong will not only protect you from picking up injuries but we can fix long standing pain. A bad back as an example is a result of muscles in the body being too tight and too weak. If we fix this balance with correct strength training then the problem will go away and will not come back.
Now there are many more benefits but I just don’t have the capacity to explain all of them here, what is strength training?? It’s the ability of your muscles to work harder. Now why do most people that go to the gym not actually get this right? It’s because we need to look at the body in the way it moves firstly, not buy each individual muscle so think how do we move, we squat, hinge, push, pull, rotate and move. We need to simulate these patterns in the gym and when we do we need to be using a weight that is challenging with perfect form, the correct tempo (speed of the rep) and the correct amount of reps. Doing anything above 10 reps is not strength training. Now I know what you are thinking, you are thinking well I want to “tone”. Unfortunately the term tone is not a scientific possibility, the body is only capable of gaining muscle and losing fat but it’s the combination of these two things that will give you the “toned” look. So we need to stop training to be toned we need to start training to gain muscle and lose fat.
If this has been of interest to you and you would like to learn more, Register for my free talk on “Debunking fitness and diet myths to gain your best body ever” by emailing email@example.com to register for our newsletter.
Director of training