Hawkhurst’s Food Festival, was held over the week-end of 24th and 25th July, 2010; part of “Beefing it Up” – a project celebrating the Centenary of the OXO cube which was created and launched by the Gunther Family in 1910 at their Tongswood Estate (now St. Ronans School) in Hawkhurst.
For further information, please contact Yolanda Laybourne (Co-ordinator)
OXO Weekend Success for Hawkhurst
The Oxo Centenary celebration weekend in Hawkhurst over the 24th/25th July was a fantastic success. If you would like to read more about Hawkhurst’s link with Oxo, please click here.
On Saturday 24th, around 3000 people visited Saint Ronan’s School, originally the home of the Gunther family who were responsible for the creation of the OXO cube. Visitors came to see the house, the exhibition of OXO memorabilia and walk the local woods and farm land. Many visitors also visited Sandhurst Vineyards to see the hops and vineyards there.
To view press aricles for the weekend, please click on the relevant name. These links will open a pdf in a new window; you may need to right click each image and rotate it to read it:
Kent & Sussex Courier Front Page
Kent & Sussex Courier main story
Kent On Sunday
TV and celebrity chef Richard Phillips of Thackerays and Chapel Down fame designed a four course meal for the evening gala dinner; 95% of the ingredients came from local producers. “We cannot thank him enough for so freely giving us his time” said Bruce Cova Chair of the Hawkhurst Community Partnership, organisers of the event.
In true TV chef style Richard demonstrated the preparation, cooking and presentation of the meal. His kitchen, a trailer loaned by the NFU was kitted out by Martins of Hawkhurst. The presentation was watched in awe by dinner guests as they supped Carr Taylor’s locally produced sparkling wine and realised, some for the first time, that their meal this was to be cooked by the schools day to day catering team.
The guests, who included three grandchildren of the original Gunther family and ex Directors of OXO, gave school chef Laura Boynton and her team a standing ovation at the end of the meal which was served in the school’s amazing ballroom..
As one guest commented “We ate at the Dorchester last week and this was infinitely better”. If there was a Michelin star for schools Laura and her team from the school contract caterers Holroyd Howe, would have won it for St Ronan’s on Saturday night.
Mr Cova commented “One can only describe the event as spectacular. The staff were magnificent. They were set an amazing challenge and not only rose to it but beat all expectations. During planning I had challenged them to not only produce a meal as good as Richard’s but to better it. The standing ovation said it all. A big thank you also goes to the many sponsors of the event who made the whole weekend possible.”
On Sunday 25th, ‘The Market on the Moor’ received around 3000 visitors and trade was so brisk that many traders had to send back for additional produce within hours of opening. Queues to the ice cream stand and the two local butchers, one spit roasting beef and the other burgers and sausages, never diminished. An unfortunate consequence of the brisk trade was stalls selling out of produce. 4 local producer stalls had sold out by lunchtime despite bringing 3 times their normal stock!
The cookery demonstrations given by The Royal Oak & The Great House from Hawkhurst plus Eurasia & The White Horse from Hurst Green were extremely well received by the crowds.
Summarising the event, Bruce Cova said “This was a huge success for Hawkhurst by any standard. We had 4500 people visit us over the two days, we catered for many of these on the two days and provided a magnificent dinner for 120 on Saturday evening. The fact that I have not received one complaint only praise and thanks to all those involved for the organisation and that visitors, dinners and traders have all asked for us to do it again just speaks for itself.”
The Hawkhurst Community Partnership would like to especially thank our sponsors for the event for their assistance and kind donations:
St Ronan’s School (Hawkhurst)
Holroyd Howe Caterers
Park Farm Butchers (Hawkhurst)
Carr-Taylor Vineyards (Westfield)
The National Farmers Union (NFU)
Martins of Hawkhurst (Hawkhurst)
Jubilee Hire (Hawkhurst)
Lindsay Barrow Florists (Hawkhurst)
The Traditional Cheese Dairy (Stonegate)
The Weald Smokery (Flimwell)
Some 2,500 visitors enjoyed the events of Saturday, including an exhibition of Oxo Memorabilia, cookery demonstrations, light meals and refreshments provided by Holroyd Howe andFarm Walks. Here is a selection of photographs taken at St Ronan’s School during the day:
Family heading out on a farm walk and the Holroyd Howe demo
Visitors enjoying a selection of snacks & beverages provided by Holroyd Howe
Bruce Cova discovers the Oxo exhibition, provided by Robert Opie from the Museum of Brands
Richard Phillips of Thackerey’s, Chapel Down, The Hengist and a regular guest chef on our TV screens provided a demonstration of the meal that was devised by him and cooked by the catering team at St Ronan’s. Richard had previously taken St Ronan’s catering team under his wing for a day to show them exactly how to prepare and cook the dinner. Here is a selection of photographs taken during Richard Phillips Demonstration:
Richard Phillips demonstrating the evening meal
Hard work over, Richard enjoys a glass of Carr-Taylor’s sparkling rose
Guests for the dinner watch Richard’s demonstration and begin to salivate
Richard Phillips interacts with the watching guests
120 guests were delighted by the quality of the meal served, acclaiming the food as ‘delicious’, ‘better than The Dorchester’ ‘the best lamb we’ve ever eaten’. Here is a selection of photographs from the evening Gala Dinner:
Guests are seated and dinner commences
The main course (best end of Park Farm lamb) arrives to much delight
Dessert – summer berries in Carr-Taylor sparkling rose jelly puts a smile on diners faces
David Carr-Taylor talks guests through the wines from Carr-Taylor & Biddenden Vineyards
Bruce Cova presents flowers to Laura Boynton, head of the catering team at St Ronan’s to a standing ovation from guests.
Laura and her fantastic team.
40 local producers and entertainers made up Sunday’s market, almost all came from Hawkhurst or the villages local to Hawkhurst – those that came from further away were however supplying predominantly produce from the local area. Here is a selection of photographs from Sunday’s Grand Market on The Moor:
Everything is set up and the first market visitors start to arrive
The 40 businesses that make up the market see a constant and steady stream of visitors
Gary Pharo, Yolanda Leybourne & Stephen Fleming from the Hawkhurst Community Partnership
Goupie – delicious chocolate from Hawkhurst – worked off on the PCT’s Smoothie Bike
Trade is brisk – in the background, Eurasia of Hurst Green re-stocked twice and sold out by 2pm, whilst Arena Gold from Flimwell also needed to send for extra supplies!
Andy Clarke and the team from Park Farm Butchers in Hawkhurst serve their beef-roast rolls and give away free Oxo cubes
The enticing display by Strange Fruits of Bodiam & Paula from Cousley Wood Spinning
Home Gurrown of Cranbrook bought 3 times their usual stock and still sold out; no doubt their delicious snacks were washed down with wine from Carr Taylor of Westfield!
Little Orchard Preserves of Benenden and Maison du Vin of Hawkhurst offer free tastings for all
Sandhurst Vineyards excellent beers & wines alongside the reason for the centenary celebration – Oxo cubes
Sweet Memories bought a smile to many peoples faces.