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On 13 October last year, a group of farmer friends came to the Fine Foods Demo Kitchen for a day to acquire and learn new skills and have lots of fun at the same time. They are the Friday 13th Group. Approximately twice a year (wherever Friday 13th lands) they get together to do a variety of things, sometimes pretty offbeat, sometimes a day’s shooting. I did hear them suggest ballet classes for this spring! Now that would be a lot of fun, having spent a day with these guys! They embrace whatever is planned!
There were 9 farmers and friends who were able to join us on the day. For me the day dawned early; I was in at 7 am to make sure everything was set just right for the planned day ahead.
John Mellican, our chef for the day, was also in early to set up. John is a very skilled Chef with a great deal of experience and expertise but also has a fantastic sense of humour. Look out for ‘Johnny’s Dairy Free Ice Cream’. He was the perfect guy to run the day!
The menu was varied and involved filleting a plaice, slicing into goujons, dipped in beaten egg, rolled in panko breadcrumbs, deep fried and served with a soy, ginger and sesame dressing.
The main dish was venison steak; John showed them how to cook the venison to perfection, slice it and present on a plate on a bed of puy lentils dosed in red wine and herbs and dauphinoise potatoes. They all then sat down to enjoy their steaks with good red wine in our new Pop-Up Restaurant area!
Lunch was a huge hit, all enjoying the fact that they had prepared it from scratch; followed by a range of cheeses and a wine tasting from More Wine. Perhaps if they had to face the washing up they wouldn’t have made such a mess, but all in a good day’s cooking, and of course, they were paying for the privilege!
John and Fuss joined them for lunch and they had a rather raucous time. It was well into the afternoon before they were back in the demo kitchen and onto preparing dessert!
For the afternoon session and dessert it was making a dough and forming mini doughnuts, deep frying, cooling and filling them with a vanilla custard they had made. I remember there was a great deal of laughter as they were forming the dough into very interesting shapes! This was hilarious as one ‘clever dick’ decided to add some Worcester sauce to his custard! Looked lovely but tasted disgusting!
Each course was presented and judged by John. He even put in a blind taste testing with some rather unusual ‘tasters’. This caused great hilarity and put each one of them out of their comfort zone.
Throughout the day there were challenges and points awarded for presentation and skill.
It was a great day and we all loved it. It was pretty exhausting on my part, but John kept it all together and was a huge success. Those that wanted to had an opportunity to spend some time chatting with him, but mainly laughing. He is good for the soul!
I couldn’t have got through the day without the lovely Andy Wilson washing up and clearing throughout! He was a star.
So a great day and as they left us they were going on into Bath to the Theatre Royal. Certainly a full day.
If you like the sound of a day like his, we can easily recreate it and tweak to your personal requirements.
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