Well what a night… We had spent just about a year planning this event and the day finally dawned.. Yours Truly (Peter Chapman – Chair of Trustees) left home at circa 10:00am to pick up some trays of donated fresh strawberries – the sun was shining and the day had finally dawned.
MidKent College in Maidstone and their Oaks restaurant was the venue and we certainly could not of chosen a better venue. They had welcomed us with open arms when we had proposed the event and the students embraced a very unique opportunity to work with a wide range of professionals. We must thank Simon Cook the College Principal and Becky Farley the Commercial Director for their assistance and then Serkan Solyu and JJ Keeveney who worked tirelessly to ensure the day ran smoothly.
The six chefs hand picked for the occasion started to arrive and they all started to gel – it was an amazing sight to behold mid afternoon the kitchen in full swing – Students beavering away with their allotted chef – focussed and concentrating at the task in hand. As they beavered away the focus then on the front of house began to ensure we had set up the restaurant for the imminent guests.
At circa 5pm there was a quick lull in proceedings as Special Guest Chef Kam Po But put the final touches to his staff meal – A chicken stir fry with Black Bean Sauce and Boiled Rice before he then warmed up his noodle paste before he had to then kick the proceedings off with a “Hand Drawn Noodle” demo. As the guests supped on their welcome drink and then tucked into some Chinese inspired canapes they were then called to their tables to kick the six course dinner off with matching drinks … The menu was an eclectic mix of dishes reflecting the chefs background and cultural heritage.
As the evening progressed the first two dishes landed in front of guests and set the tone for the evening – in between the subsequent courses a quick auction of donated items was held and monies raised for the YCPS coffers went to help support the refurbishment and repair of the Yalding Church Organ.
The auctions were lively and hotly contested and overall raised in excess of £4000 with just 21 lots – the final 6 were signed copies of menus (by the chefs) that came with a Lego key ring that the winning bidders than presented to their allocated chef as a thank you.
There was even a live TV feed from the kitchen so guests could see how the food was being prepared and served. Also alongside the pass we even had a table of four who were given the best seat in the house – they certainly kept the bad language in check from the chefs (there was none) – A text message from them after the event summed the evening up perfectly
“We just wanted to thank all involved with last night. It was a wonderful evening . It really was special to be sat at the kitchen table and watch all at work . The food was something else and raising so much money the icing on the cake!”
This event has raised in excess of £7000 which equates roughly to two years worth of fundraising for YCPS in the one event – Thank you to all involved and to all who attended… I am sure we will be talking about it for many years to come.
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Our thanks to the following who supported us in many ways
All the Chefs Front of House & Back of House students… in fact anyone who has helped…
Rodney Fletcher Vintners, Horsmonden – Tim Fletcher
Chapel Down Wines – Luke Wolfe
Turners Cider, Marden – May & Phil Turner
Berkmann Wine Cellars, London – Robert Gordon
Hush Heath Estate – Staplehurst
Biddenden Vineyards – Clearly Juice
Bespoke Hotels – Robin Sheppard, Chairman
Blends for Friends, Kemsing – Alex Probyn, MD
Lego Keyrings – Neal Bamford
Anno Distillers, Marden – Norman Lewis & Andy Reason
South Place Hotel, London – D&D
Dokke Restaurant, London – Neil Wager, Chef Patron
Yalding Taxis – Mike & Dee-Ann Stead
MidKent College, Maidstone – Simon Cook, Principal,
Photography – Jason Boswell
Hilliards Greencrocers – Phil Eccles
Hales & Moore Fishmongers, Gillingham – Brad Moore
Hugh Lowe Farms – Mereworth- Strawberries
Little Bobby Jebb’s Chicken Crackling – Robert Jebb
Grandma’s So Saucy – Chilli Oil – Songli Everington