Dining out. What does it mean to you?
It always saddens me when I look around a restaurant to see fellow diners going through all the motions but sitting in silence or, worse still, consuming information on their smart phones instead of engaging with the experience around them. Dining should bring people together! I fondly remember nights in Tuscany (where I’ve worked on and off for short periods over the last 8 years) where 20 strangers would come together each evening on solid wooden benches around an old table and share wine, pass around bread and passionately discuss the flavours of each dish presented. We certainly didn’t leave the table as strangers!
It was this sentiment that fuelled the creation of a great little project I’ve been running alongside my good friend Turid Reppe-Roverselli.
Since January, Mama T and I have been running a pop-up restaurant in her quirky farmhouse near St Cyrus on the east coast of Scotland.
Turid and I met in the late summer of 2015 when I began exercising her horses. We quickly became friends and bonded over our passion for quality food. Turid has spent a lot of time in France and so too has experienced the magical sociability of dining on the continent….A couple of bottles of wine over the festive period combined with a discussion on the lack of social, shared dining in the UK and Feast On The Farm was born!
Each Saturday we opened the house up to 12 diners for an intimate, social and memorable dining experience. Every week leading up to the main event we would comb the surrounding area in search for the most fresh and high quality ingredients available. From this we created a 6 course menu that would be a surprise to our diners until the night itself! Dietary requirements were of course taken into consideration, but the aim was to attract adventurous diners.
What a great 5 months we had! Changing the menu each week kept our imaginations active and we a lot of fun sourcing local ingredients. Word seemed to spread quickly and we had a full table almost every week. The most rewarding aspect of the whole thing, for me, was watching the bonds form between like-minded people and knowing we had played a part in connecting these people. Social dining all the way!
Feast On The Farm is on hiatus at the moment, but coincidently Turid will also be in the States over the next few months, so you never know what farm one or both of us may be creating feasts on next. Watch this space!
Here’s a selection of the best moments from the last few months…