The Kitchen at Chewton Glen, a new purpose-built cookery school and dining complex in The New Forest, is set to open in March 2017. I was lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the new venture this week – and it’s incredible!
Working in association with Chewton Glen alumnus James Martin, the cookery school will be headed-up by Chef Tutor, Rob Cottam. James and Rob have put together a fascinating programme of courses and demonstrations for us to try.
Rob, a highly experienced and passionate cookery teacher, gave me a personal tour of the site (complete with hard hat, builders and electricians), explaining everything from the fixtures and fittings up. So much thought has been put into this new restaurant and learning spaces – relaxed seating to enjoy the casual restaurant menus, well-equipped cooking stations for classes, stylish interior design touches and a growing kitchen garden. Rob was literally buzzing with excitement, as his ‘baby’ is nearing completion. And with a newborn baby too, he’s certainly got his hands full!
Rob will will teach cookery classes for all skills and ability levels – for those just starting out on their culinary adventures, or confident home cooks looking to improve their skills.
He’s classically trained and has travelled throughout the world gaining wide-ranging knowledge of cooking ingredients and techniques. In fact, after spending so much time teaching on cruise ships, he joked that it’ll be nice to have a stable teaching space at last. Classes will be hosted by Rob and visiting guest and celebrity chefs, including Tom Kerridge, Atul Kochhar, Richard Corrigan, Dan Doherty, and, of course, James Martin himself
The purpose-built space sets the stage for enjoying and learning about food and cooking. The design is beautiful ; open-plan, bi-folding doors and glass panelling letting lots of light in to the restaurant and classroom. It overlooks the kitchen garden, and its raised beds and greenhouse will provide year-round supplies of herbs and vegetables – so you can literally ‘pick your own’, before heading to the kitchen (or have it expertly picked for you, if you decide to just dine).
Day cookery courses start with coffee and home-baked pastries and a sneak peek at what’s growing, before starting work in your own spacious and well-equipped work station.
Classes will run Tuesday to Sunday from 09.30 until 16.00, with prices starting from £185, including refreshments, lunch, all equipment and ingredients. Initial class themes include Found and Foraged; Morocco to the Middle East; Baking Greats; Nutritious and Delicious; Food for the Family; and a Junior Chef programme (which Rob hopes will prepare him well for his journey into fatherhood!).
The Kitchen’s 40-seater restaurant, with an open-plan kitchen with a pizza oven, chef’s table for private dining, lounge and a outside seating area is a relaxed, informal addition to this gorgeous hotel. It will be open daily for lunch and dinner, and will also be home to the Chewton Glen bakery that will produce a range of artisan breads and pastries for hotel guests and visitors to The Kitchen. Dine here and it’s likely you’ll spot budding chefs learning from the masters. The main kitchen is also fully visible from the restaurant, meaning you can watch the pros at work too.
Typical dishes in the restaurant will include wood-fired pizzas, gourmet burgers, superfood salads, and lobster and chips.
Details of how to book The Kitchen, including the preliminary schedule of courses, and information on gift vouchers, can be found on the Chewton Glen website. Rob’s looking forward to seeing you…