Since we decided to make the big tree change to Berry, we’ve had a lot of time to figure out exactly how our south coast food dream would pan out and exactly what sort of food we wanted to grow and cook on our little piece of land. One of the first things Iain did when we arrived was volunteer at Gerringong’s Buena Vista Farm where he learnt the ins and outs of small plot farming and the sort of fruit and veggies that grow well in this area, from the ever-passionate Emmy King. Buena Vista is an incredible operation based around from-scratch cooking and a lovely organic market garden. You’ll find them at Kiama’s Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoon or Berry Farmer’s Market on Thursday afternoon, selling fermented food and seasonal pickles and jams, if you’re ever in the area.
Given there was no existing crops or even garden beds here, we’ve had the luxury of planning everything ourselves and, with some triumphs and failures, have worked out what grows well and what will be great to cook with. Although Iain is a chef, he’s been loving getting his hands dirty and tending to the vegetables, chickens and bees. Knowing you’re responsible for the flavour of something by taking it from seed to service with a lot of attention along the way, is something that really resonates with a chef. While the tending has been fun, Iain can’t wait to fire up the grill and get into the kitchen.
Our cooking classes and workshops are a whole new endeavour for us, but we’re looking forward to working with lovely produce, discovering new ways of cooking and turning it into beautiful food. As a classically trained chef, Iain started his career cooking refined food and honed his French cooking techniques at Michelin-starred Chez Bruce in London. Then, he was turning out more casual fare in a very fast-paced kitchen, at our Sydney café as well as working with one of Sydney’s top caterers. Far Meadow Table is a far cry from Chez Bruce but after travelling the world and now making the move to Berry, he’s keen to cook with as much locally-sourced produce as possible, at a much slower pace.
Our cooking workshops and food and wine events will give him a chance to turn out the food he loves to cook, which like most chefs, is the food he loves to eat. Slow roasted meats, new methods to hero vegetables and grilling whole fish are just some things he’s got planned for the menu. The menu, if you can even call it that, will be completely dictated by our produce and what’s in season and available from nearby suppliers.
Going through the journey of growing something, the anticipation of watching something cooking and being surrounded by friends and family is how it all came together for us. We had the land to grow and the perfect space to create an outdoor grill so the vision started coming to life. To then share that experience with people equally as passionate as you, and share knowledge, will literally be a dream come true for us and hopefully something others embrace as well.
Please see our workshops and events page to find a list of our latest cooking workshops and food events.