Sunday 17 August 2008

Farmhouse Kitchen Takes Stourhead by Storm

Or was it "Storm rains down on the Farmhouse Kitchen at the Stourhead Show"?

On a wet Sunday, at the beginning of August Cowie and I helped James and Henry out on their fantastic sandwich stand at the Stourhead Show. It's only when you are standing the otherwise side of the counter that you realise how hard caterers have to work to earn every penny. With the cost of diesel as high as it is these days travelling to events and running a generator is on the verge of being prohibitive.

Putting this very boring introduction aside, Cowie and I had great fun helping out. It's so refreshing to be part of a business idea you can truly believe in. It all started when we went off to Wales to test drive some ideas Henry and James had been cooking up. After a full day of cooking and eating we came up with the concept of selling handmade good old fashioned English sandwiches at outdoor events. It's not rocket science. But that's the beauty of it.

There is a serious gap in the event catering market. At the moment you are subjected to overpriced, substandard food that is swimming, like David Walliams, in grease. You can see from the other stalls below that the competition is very generic. They don't have strong brands and are simply there to serve edible fuel.

Baked Potatoes

Posh pancakes

Jane Nicholls Catering

Henry and James have created the beginnings of what could become an iconic brand - The Farmhouse Kitchen. Henry's design background with Linley has meant that the stnad always looks incredible. It stands out against the generic backdrop and has already captured the imagination of many event goers.

Farmhouse kitchen from the side

We served tea and toast in the morning to hungry, cold eventers whilst we got ourselves set up for the lunchtime sandwich rush.

Tea and toast sign

The sandwiches are brilliant. Delicious and handmade by Henry, James, myself and Cowie... using hand sliced fresh white or granary bread from Bob the baker.

James and the giant blackboard

You have a choice of beef and horseradish. Which went down a storm.

Roast beef

Roast ham and mustard.


And the very popular, cheese and home-made pickle.

Cheese and pickle

Having tried all three sandwiches the beef is by far and away my favourite. Perfectly rare and smeared with buckets of horseradish it is the king of sandwiches. The cheese and ham sandwiches are excellent as well.

By the time afternoon came it was pissing with rain. Everyone ran for cover. Cowie headed out as soon as the clouds cleared with a tray of delicious cakes.

Cowie on cake duty

James' brownies are amazing. It's very rare that you get that slightly crispy glaze on the surface that marks our a bog standard brownie from an absolute cracker.


The flapjacks aren't bad either. I'm a bit surprised James hasn't nicked Mum's lavender flapjack recipe yet. Maybe we'll see it in phase 2!


Henry's clever use of bails in the design of the stand helped to create a fantastically family friendly atmosphere. People loved the idea of perching on a bail whilst eating their cake or sandwich. It gave rise some wonderfully English scenes - my favourite of which is below.

Dog queuing

Henry and James are off to the Wincanton and Shaftsbury Show next week. Good luck chaps. I hope you sell loads of sandwiches and that the weather is kinder than it was at Stourhead.


Anonymous said...

Yum - those brownies look amazing!

tara said...

Wow, that looks delish. Everything looks so beautiful - homemade, quality food at its best. Nothing better than tea and toast in the morning!

Browners said...

Hi Tara - it's such a good idea. The boys have done a brilliant job and are now at a stage where they are planning on what to do next. Unfortunately our British summer has been a bit of a wash out.


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