Special New Years Dinner…

I was so excited to finally visit Chez Panisse this New Years. It was one of those ‘I can’t believe I’m finally here’ moments. The restaurant has had a huge influence on my training so far and it was crazy to finally see the place I’ve heard and learnt so much about. Everything was just as imagined and better. Alice Water’s was floating around tasting mis en place before service began all while hugging and greeting guests at the same time. It felt like we were spending New Years at a family home although we were thousands of miles from home.

I’m really excited to spend time working in the kitchen at Chez while I’m here in San Fran so it was nice to sit and relax and enjoy the food before I get stuck in next week.

Some pics which don’t nearly capture how good the evening was…

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Visiting Fern Verrow

Thinking back to last year’s food highlights visiting Fern Verrow farm is high on the list. Fern Verrow is a biodynamic farm at the foothills of the pretty Black Mountains in Herefordshire which supplies Spring with its incredible ingredients. Twice a week Jane and Harry of Fern Verrow make the ten hour round trip to the restaurant in London to deliver what has been picked.

From crates and crates of berries in the summer to an array of squash in the autumn it was so exciting and motivating to see where the ingredients we use all year round come from.

We spent the day exploring the farm, learning of the processes from cultivation to growing to finagling picking. We also got stuck in and helped pick some squash, apples and beautiful quince. We then ate dinner which consisted of foods from the farm. For some reason everything tasted even better after seeing the care and effort put into producing these amazing foods. We whipped up an apple crumble for dessert using a selection of the apples we had just picked. One of the most exciting parts was being at work the next few days and using the ingredients that we had picked ourselves. The concept of farm to plate has had a huge influence on my training as a chef both at Ballymaloe and now at my time at Spring so it was really inspiring to be part of the action for the day.

Here are some pics I snapped throughout the day on the farm…