A vintage year 2012…

Well what a year this has been… we can safely say it has been a vintage year of events and fun and well we thought it might be worth a look back at some of the highlights.

Well January 2012 was the start and we did a dinner at a new location… Olive Stores in Brenchley provided the backdrop for a Veggie Feast dinner in conjunction with Moodley’s Micro Brewery where we did a 6 course vegetarian menu matched to Yudhistra Moodleys rather special beers. It was a challenge to provide a balanced menu to the beers but we think it went rather well with some lovely comments in our guest book!

On January 24th I spent the morning in the Green Room of the “ITV’s This Morning” TV studios with Chef But awaiting his quick three minute performance of the art of hand made noodles live on air to celebrate the “Chinese New Year”…. It was a surreal day for many reasons…

February marked the celebration of our second birthday of existence and we felt we celebrated in style with a “Birthday Bash” that was extravagant with some of my favourite dishes. Namely some Fresh Foie Gras and also a rather juicy double sirloin steak topped with bone marrow. We had one group of guests travel all the way from Oxford for the occasion and it was yet again another couple of fun filled nights.

We also shot a little video to help promote our first little charity fundraiser of the year. “Eat like a King well almost” was an event we had donated to one of our favourite charities the Hospice in the Weald. Their torchlight Dinner held at Hever Castle was a fitting setting for our video that we shot on a cold February morning with snow all around. The video also helped us raise a total of £2,200 so all rather humbling.

March dashed by and as the year hotted up we started planning some of our next events the Spring menus saw us cooking some rather tasty lamb chumps with the freshly foraged wild garlic and then a couple of forays with meals out were interesting fodder for the blog as the experiences were chalk and cheese. Rocksalt in Folkestone was a disaster and then Pollen Street Social in London was a real triumph!

Our May dinners saw us back at the Olive Stores in Brenchley with the patriotic feel of Best of British Dinners. 2012 has been a year of British celebrations what with the Queens Diamond Jubilee and then the Olympic and Paralympics games. Well the Best of British Dinners were a challenge where we produced two four course dinners from a minute kitchen. It was however a pleasure to serve up some great local asparagus and strawberries and then a main course of pigs cheeks and pork belly provided an interesting talking point.

Our next charity challenge then quickly loomed upon us in June when on the eve of the Summer Solstice we took our underground “covert” dining to new heights when we attempted to serve a dinner to six prize draw winners on the roof of Yalding’s 13th century church. The Yalding Church Preservation Society (YCPS) had asked us if we would help them raise some much needed funds for their remit of assisting in the upkeep of this village church and we rose to the challenge. An online and offline collection was made and a total of just over £1500 was raised. Six lucky diners tucked into a dinner on the roof whilst 50 plus enjoyed canapés and drinks in the churchyard at the same time. Phew what a week!

Finally just before our summer break we served our July dinners with a French theme and then like the rest of the nation we got hooked on the sporting festival that took place up in London. I was fortunate to have several visits to the Olympic park and was also pleased to be at the opening day of a new restaurant (Danes Yard Kitchen) located a stones throw across the road from the park and have since been back a few times and watch with interest how the place evolves.

Our holiday down in the south of France passed all to quick but a visit by Mr But and his wife gave us the opportunity to show them the local gourmet delights and also start us planning what would be a return visit by Chef But to Hari’s in September when once again we served two very successful nights of Chinese food. One guest Laura Goode was so blown away by it she had to write on her own blog

Where was the year going… October we tried something a little different with our dinners when we served a choice of dishes and made it a slightly cheaper affair and then in November another first we joined forces with local wine merchants Rodney Fletcher Vintners and served a five course dinner  “In Vino Veritas”  with two wines at each course! A full house both nights and a waiting list of diners clambering for drop outs we could have filled the dinners twice over! Then all of sudden it was Xmas looming on us…

In amongst this we also helped local “chocolatier extraordinaire” Damian Allsop to open a pop up Chocolate shop in central Tunbridge Wells. This has proved a big hit and we hope something more will come of it…

We conducted our normal Xmas feast and also tried a new little venture of Covert cookery lessons with our first recipient just before Xmas looking to pick up some tips on how to produce some interesting dishes for the festive period.

It has been a busy year and already we are planning our events for 2013. The 2013 dates are already published and we have menus for the first three months in the pipeline so keep an eye out for them .

The bookings for January will open on January 1st and it will be what we call our “January Sale”.

We will also hopefully be looking at doing some bigger events during 2013 and also revisiting some old haunts. Olive Stores are expanding and we hope we can do something new and exciting with them in their latest venue. We have more meals out planned which we hope to report upon and then also the Covert Cookery lesson idea will expand so do keep watching this space or sign up on our database for regular updates.

We wish you all the best for 2013 and many thanks for your patronage and support during 2012 – a truly vintage year!