My first crop (By Luke)
I’ve always had a real interest in food. I was fortunate enough to have a Grandfather who had a love of growing things, and some of my earliest memories involve sitting in the greenhouse with him eating the freshest tomatoes you could imagine, as long as Nanny didn't catch us! And I remember sitting on the kitchen side with my Mum stirring noodles aged four, promising that once I’m five I will be tall enough to help out in the kitchen properly. Obviously, I didn’t have a chronic growth spurt come my fifth birthday and was resigned to catching just half of the early series’ of River Cottage on a Sunday before I had to go to bed for school the next day. Nevertheless, this was enough to keep the desire alive until I finally gained freedom in the kitchen at university.
During my second year, my chance had finally come. Many of you know that my housemate at the time and dear friend Sam Whyman and myself went on a bit of a culinary adventure for sixteen weeks, eating on average six vegetarian meals a week. As far as I’m aware neither of us had any sort of real training in the kitchen, the only thing we had to go on was a weekly dose of "River Cottage Veg-every day" to keep us going. ( If you haven’t noticed by now, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s masterful Channel 4 program is quite an inspiration) The challenge of finding flavours that work together, and the thrill of tasting new food was utterly inspiring. Admittedly, sometimes it went completely wrong, but without these failures I wouldn’t have the knowledge that I have now, and in getting it wrong, my passion and desire to get it right pushed me to new levels of skill and dedication which in turn made me realise that perhaps it was always my destiny to become a chef.
I ask myself regularly why would I want to work in a professional kitchen? And the answer has always been this: To fuel my passion for cooking, and to let people experience great tasting, healthy food which makes them feel good about themselves. Perhaps one day our gorgeous pub could be a place where people come to create and share incredible memories, and for me to be responsible for such a place would fill me with overbearing satisfaction and joy.