KENT CHEFS PICK IT, COOK AND TASTE IT AT THE SMALL HOLDING
The Small Holding was launched in April 2018 by Will and Matt Devlin. Both boast a premium hospitality pedigree; Chef Patron Will has worked at many great restaurants and business partner and brother, Matt looks after the front of house operations at The Small Holding. Matt prides himself on delivering a great selection of local UK and independent craft beers, wines and spirits.
The ambitious pair welcomed five students form North Kent College into the kitchen along with their lecturer Keith Campbell, who, coincidentally, taught Will whist he studied at West Kent College in 2008. Will was delighted to welcome Keith to his new venture and was congratulated by Keith who was equally pleased to see him!
“I have been a member of The Chefs’ Forum since its launch in Kent five years ago. I have attended quarterly events and cooked a Chefs’ Lunch with students from East Kent College. Having the North Kent Students in my kitchen today feels great as I love to give back to the industry. It is great to have my old lecturer here today and makes this event more poignant for me.”
“Today’s all about showing our industry peers what we’re trying to achieve here at The Small Holding, the fact that our menu has nil food miles as the produce comes from our garden. It is a great experience for us and the students alike. The level three students here today all have jobs in the industry which shows they are all work ready and gaining experience whilst they learn from Will’s ex lecturer.”
The idea was born out of the combined desire to reconnect with the produce that chefs buy. Will and Matt decided to launch The Small Holding to reconnect with nature. The pair took direction from an agricultural consultant and soon the dream became a reality.
Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha concluded
“We have been truly blessed with glorious sunshine today, enabling us to stage the whole event outside on this fantastic terrace. Its great to see so many chefs from across the county showing their support for Will and Matt and their great achievement in launching The Small Holding. The ‘back to basics’ approach has been really well-received by professional chefs and students alike – This has been a truly inspirational day and we have received a great deal of positive feedback!”
The brothers have created two polytunnels where they grow the fresh produce used in the restaurant including courgettes, chard, array of herbs, cucumbers, radishes and leeks. The ‘small holding’ on the premises is populated with free range rare breed Berkshire pigs, duck and chickens who all roam in natural social groups yielding the freshest eggs. The visiting students very much enjoyed collecting eggs from the chickens to create the canapés for the culinary guests who were to attend the Forum at midday.
The pigs are currently sixteen weeks old and will be finished at twenty weeks and served on the menu at The Small Holding. Will explained that they really are relatively low maintenance: They enjoy a good scratch on the back with a broom and are mucked-out once a week – Apparently, the secret is not to name them!
At probably the busiest Kent Chefs’ Forum event to date, guests enjoyed a butchery demonstration by Jack Cook of Walter Rose & Son. Jack broke down a side of pork and a whole duck as the chefs looked on. The students also enjoyed the demonstration as butchery isn’t taught as part of their level three qualification at the college. The students will visit Jack at Walter Rose HQ in Devizes for a day of butchery and a trip to the farm to enrich their learning. Jack also invited the chefs to visit him whenever they could as there’s nothing he like more than to ‘hang out with chefs’, sharing knowledge and finding out how they would cook his choice cuts.
The pork and duck were grilled to perfection on the Synergy Grill SG630 by demo chef Claire Mansfield. Claire also created some delicious rump tail and chicken thigh skewers, both kissed with Santa Maria Cajun rub – A great combination.
Will Devlin then created a fantastic dish of Creedy Carver duck breast with an array of fresh herbs from the polytunnels. The chefs interacted and asked questions of Will in terms of how he went about launching his own restaurant and the small holding concept.
Next on the agenda was a delicious tasting of Gusbourne English Sparking Wine tasting paired to delicious canapés made by Will and the students and pink pepper corns from Santa Maria!
The day finished with Will taking the chefs on a tour of the small holding and polytunnels and all chefs were inspired and enthused by the experience. Events like these are a great opportunity for chefs to get together, socialise and keep up to date on industry cooking styles and trends.
The next Kent event is on the 12th November and all chefs and suppliers wishing to attend should contact Catherine Farinha on 07585 700030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by: www.kentfoodphotographer.com