Five Years Old – 5 Great Memories

Vale House Kitchen is turning five! We’re delighted to be celebrating five fabulous years of running our cookery school – the past half decade has been quite an adventure. We’ve met some incredible people, both as tutors and as guests, we’ve shared a lot of wonderful meals, we’ve learnt all sorts of new things and we’ve hit some amazing milestones. To mark the occasion, we’re planning a fantastic competition, you can enter here….

And for this month’s blog post, we’ve picked out five highlights from the past five years – so without further ado, here are our best bits…

We’ll begin at the very beginning, with our launch party on the 30th of September, 2013 – we can’t quite believe how long ago it was now! We’d actually been open for a couple of weeks at that point, but to officially launch Vale House Kitchen, we invited 50 local foodies and journalists to join us on a sunny September day for tasters of our different courses, including bread-making, preserving, fly-casting on the lawn and foraging walks in the surrounding countryside. It was wonderful to have such a warm and enthusiastic response to our new venture.

Appropriately, our second highlight is the two brilliant Vale House Kitchen films we’ve made – it’s always great fun to work with local companies and tell the story of Vale House. We made the first film with Rob Wicks, of Eat Pictures in Bristol, to document the transformation of the house’s old outbuilding into the beautiful kitchen that hosts all our classes now – click here to watch it. The second film was made with Falcon Productions, also from Bristol, and followed us on a lake-to-plate fishing trip – click here to see it and find out all about our field-to-fork ethos, which is absolutely central to Vale House Kitchen.

Another highlight of the past five years for us is seeing the effect our courses have on those who attend – it makes us incredibly proud to see our visitors going on to make lifestyle changes, get stuck into a new hobby or even start a whole new business with what they’ve learnt. We’ve featured a few of those fantastic entrepreneurs on our blog, including Lori McCarthy, who has founded her own incredible cookery school in Canada, and Paul Young, a dear friend of Vale House who tragically passed away shortly after we interviewed him about his fledgling charcuterie business – you can read the article we posted as a tribute to him here.

As we’ve established Vale House Kitchen over the past five years, we’ve had the opportunity to feature in some brilliant publications and share what we’re all about. One of our favourites was this piece in Field Sports Magazine, all about our shooting courses, our field-to-fork ethos and our passionate commitment to helping people reconnect with their food and where it comes from. This is a huge part of why we set up Vale House in the first place, so it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to share it on a wider platform.

Finally, we have to give plenty of credit to our team of tutors, without whom Vale House Kitchen simply wouldn’t be possible. Over the past five years, they’ve been a huge part of our success, sharing an incredible range of skills and knowledge (from Tim’s passion for game, to Martin’s baking wizardry, Robin’s amazing butchery skills, to Viv and her magical preserving skills) with endless good humour. Those who’ve been with us since the beginning are very much part of the Vale House Kitchen family – and we’re pleased to be adding to that family all the time, with brilliant newcomers such as Juanita Hennessey and Steve Lamb. We’re so lucky to have them all!
Of course, it’s almost impossible to sum up the past five years in one blog post, packed as they have been with the most wonderful memories. All we can really say is a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported us thus far, from our tutors to our guests, and how proud we are of everything that Vale House has achieved. Here’s to the next five years!

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