As we prepare our garden to be harvested ahead of our ‘Summer Season Pop-Up’, we want to give people an insight about the produce that we grow and also the suppliers that we are using for this very special and unique evening to celebrate the food of the region.
Let me start with the reasoning behind why we want to do the supper clubs….
As a young family who is mad about food, our biggest passion is getting hands on, cooking, eating and learning together. We love to cook with the seasons and as you may have read in our previous blog, this includes foraging, meeting local producers and also growing food for ourselves.
As we are all from the service industry background, eating out is a passion shared by all of us at The Cheshire Dining Experience. It is a great opportunity to visit great eateries, meet interesting owners, fantastic staff and see the ongoing flux of food trends.
One thing we felt we weren’t seeing enough of is the celebration of seasonal and local produce. There are a handful of amazing independents who do make the best of the land surrounding Cheshire and use/supply amazing produce. But, having lived in Chester my whole life, it is apparent that the city is increasingly habited by huge commercial chains who have no regard to use this produce or train their staff on the importance of it. As a result, this filters down to kitchens and I personally feel that chefs are losing touch with the land and working with the seasons.
The nature of the business that we personally operate in is a closed environment of private parties, weddings, corporate events and so on. We also want to be able to express our own creativity to the general public and in essence, open the doors for one night to display our passion for service, cooking and also the produce that we use in our food.
When we planted up our garden at the beginning of the year, we had in mind a menu we wanted to create. What I didn’t account for is the love and care I would personally develop for the produce itself! Nurturing a garden gives you a deep connection for the land. If you are willing to give it the time and attention it needs, the rewards are hugely gratifying.
It is this connection that I have gained and I know I never want to let it go.
In the menu for our evening at The Flower Cup, we set it as our mission that all the components would be from within walking distance (10 miles) from the diner’s plate on the evening. We wanted it to be a true celebration of the people and the produce that we have in our amazing part of the country.
Here, I wanted to go through the menu and talk about each dish and what its made up from.
Summer Greens Garden Soup
Whilst soup is ‘just soup’ to some, you’ve been eating soup from a can for too long!
In this dish, we use a variety of our vegetables from our gardens which is grown at our premises. Leeks, two types of broccoli, wild garlic, herbs and potatoes.
Using a trusted family recipe tweaked and perfected over many years, along with the time taken to grow and the love that goes into making it. This isn’t just soup, it’s a part of our family. Even the bread is local, fully organic and made with herbs from our garden.
From the area surrounding the Eaton Estate on the edge of the city, the pigeon population are maintained to keep the balance of the habitat of the estate. We source this through the game keeper of the estate, Antony Jones.
The produce we grow build the vegetable components along with the redcurrants, which are used as a natural sweetener in the sauce. The blackberries are foraged along with the nettles from the area that surrounds our kitchen garden.
Pork & Beets
On our way into work every day, we meander through the Cheshire countryside to Great Barrow. We pass a set of fields half a mile from our kitchens full of sheep, pigs and glass houses full of beautiful roses.
During the build of our site, we called in one day to see the farm. Upon meeting Keith & Rachel, their love for their animals was immediately apparent. After spending time with them and learning all about the animals, this again strengthened my connection to the land around us.
The pigs we use in this dish are outdoor born and bred in the traditional way as it used to be in years gone by.
They are allowed to grow slowly, producing a better quality meat and giving the animal a better life style.
The breed is a Saddleback cross Gloucester Old Spot, which produces a very contented and docile pig that gives Keith, Rachel & us great enjoyment watching them in the field.
Again, the vegetables on this dish are grown and nurtured by us. The binding ingredient on this dish is the ale foam from the Spitting Feathers brewery in Waverton. Yet another supplier that embodies the independent spirit and this shows in beer they create.
This is a dish built up of ingredients that are very close to our kitchens. We pride ourselves on making all our ice cream on site, an art that has been lost to the convenience of buying it from a shop. The proof really is in the pudding! We source the cream from local dairy farmers Elizabeth & Andrew at Corkscrew farm situated in the countryside between Chester and Tarporley.
The rhubarb, basil and the strawberries are grown on site with us. The birch comes from a tap we have pegged from our trees and we take what we need when we see the use of this light and delicate flavor, truly a wonder of nature. While this does take time to extract, it is worth the wait.
This is a doorstep dessert because it is from our doorstep, brought to yours.
We would personally like to thank all of the suppliers involved in this project and also to the people who contacted us in droves to be a part of this evening.
We ended up with a two reserve lists and due to the demand, we will be looking to slightly increase the numbers for the next one. Food is the foundation of the job that we love to do, we cant wait to cook this menu and to also meet all of the diners who will be part of such a special evening celebrating the produce of Cheshire!
See you there!