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The Cook Book – A celebration of west Kent’s food and drink

Will Devlin (Small Holding), Julie Docherty (Papermakers Arms), Brian Whiting (Whiting & Hammond), Bruce McMichael (Lemon Grove), Doug White (Fuggles), Ben Sulston (Sulston’s Kitchen), LouLou Hamilton (Cocolicious), Russell Goad

30th October 2018

The Cook Book – A celebration of west Kent’s food and drink

We hear from the creators of Tree of Hope’s exciting new culinary collection

It’s no secret that Kent boasts an abundance of standout restaurants, cafés and pubs. Our region is widely celebrated as part of the ‘Garden of England’ – rich in heritage, produce, provenance and seasonality. But every so often, something special happens that raises the bar for west Kent’s thriving food and drink scene.

With The Cook Book, Tonbridge-based children’s healthcare charity Tree of Hope teamed up with blogger Caroline Kings, photographer Severien Vits and events organiser Charlotte Rogers. Together, the trio of local foodies began compiling recipes and dishes from some of the finest eateries in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, celebrating the area’s chefs, restaurants and producers.

“I was so honoured and delighted to be part of the Cook Book team that I couldn’t wait to get started!” says Caroline. “I’m so proud of what we’ve created – a beautiful cookbook to support a brilliant charity that’s based locally, but whose impact is far-reaching across the UK and Ireland.”

Participating venues span the vibrant breadth of west Kent, encompassing a diverse cross-section of popular pubs, award-winning restaurants and independent cafés. From Tunbridge Wells, the likes of Vittle & Swig, The Warren and Rendezvous all got on board, in addition to The Beacon, Daily Bread and Framptons, providing mouth-watering recipes for readers to try at home.

“The food scene in Kent is thriving, and full of passionate, creative chefs who care about quality, provenance and sustainable eating,” considers Mark Constable, executive head chef at The Beacon.

“It’s wonderful to see the best of the county’s talent in one book with lots of good-looking recipes, and to be part of a project raising money for such a worthwhile cause, helping ill and disabled children and their families.”

Adds Framptons director Tom Walker: “We’re delighted to be involved in this project, supporting an extremely worthwhile and important cause, while allowing local restaurants the opportunity to showcase Kent’s fantastic produce.”

Elsewhere, Tonbridge favourites such as Sulston’s Kitchen can be found among the pages, along with The Poet at Matfield, and Sevenoaks’ Bore Place and The Plough at Ivy Hatch. Kilndown’s The Small Holding and Cranbrook’s Cocolicious feature alongside them, while larger independents spanning all three towns include Whiting & Hammond, Sankey’s, Fuggles and Basil Wholefoods.

“I’m delighted to have my business involved in this exciting project,” declares Matthew Sankey. “Tunbridge Wells and the sounding area has become a real mecca for foodies, and the quality of produce and establishments is simply outstanding.”

Agrees Brian Whiting, managing director of Whiting & Hammond: “We’re really excited to be part of this cookbook. It’s something we haven’t done before, and we’re so pleased to be supporting Tree of Hope, which is such a great charity, raising money for ill children.”

Indeed, all profits generated from sales will help to raise funds for Tree of Hope itself, the worthy cause at the heart of The Cook Book. Inspired by the success of its first annual ‘Dine and Donate’ campaign, which raised over £10,000 earlier in the year, the charity is using its love of great food and drink to help change the lives of sick and disabled children throughout the UK.

“Sharing food and drink is a great way to bring families, friends and communities together, which Tree of Hope has done with its fantastic new cookbook,” explains food and drink writer Bruce McMichael, whose Lemon Grove likewise makes an appearance.

“It’s been a great project to have been involved with, particularly working directly with the charity, and meeting many of my fellow contributors. This part of west Kent has some great chefs, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, and the amazing work done by Tree of Hope in supporting children and their families around the country made it an easy decision for me to take part.”

With Severien Vits’ stunning photography thrown into the mix, as well as a foreword by celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr to boot, The Cook Book has truly set a new standard for west Kent, sealing its stamp on the culinary map. By bringing an extensive, eclectic mix of recipes into the kitchens and homes of their customers, these businesses have also touched the hearts, minds and stomachs of their community and beyond.

Matthew Castle, managing director of Basil Wholefoods, states: “We’re delighted to be part of the Tree of Hope cookbook, and to be sitting alongside some of the great culinary talents in our local area.

“Above all, we’re thrilled to be fundraising for such an amazing charity – so much effort and hard work has been put into this project. We hope we can play a part in making it the number-one, must-have gift for everyone’s favourite foodie!”

“Local food producers and great places to buy and enjoy food are what build and nurture communities, and make each one so beautifully unique,” concludes Michel Roux Jr, who was born and raised in west Kent, and remains Patron of Kent Farmers’ Market Association.

“In bringing together food makers’ stories in this new cookbook, the charity Tree of Hope has shown the excellence of the west Kent food scene. So, buy the book, get cooking, and let’s keep supporting the people of west Kent!”

The Cook Book is available from November 1st, priced £20 – click here to order your copy! Photography © Severien Vits

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