Celebrating the best of British at Killerton
As British Food Fortnight gets into full swing, Catering Manager David Ashford gives us an insight into how the team at Killerton make the most of local produce, and how they’ll be celebrating all things food with some exciting events at the estate.
We’ve a real mix of dining here at Killerton, with Killerton Kitchen as our full service bistro-style restaurant, and the Stables Café serving traditional National Trust dishes. We’re also about to open our very own delicatessen, for people wanting to grab a quick bite as they explore the estate.
We have 18 farms across our 6,500 acre estate, with two of these providing the bulk of our produce - Burrow Farm and Ashclyst Dairy. We have a great relationship with the farms and work collaboratively with them when creating a new menu; this way produce can be made to our own specifications rather than just using what they have available. The head chef and I also work closely together to design dishes that we believe reflect the best of local produce on the estate.
This year we won Gold in the prestigious ‘Taste of the West’ awards, which involved a mystery diner coming into the restaurant for a meal. Here they tested everything from the quality of our food and how it’s prepared and delivered, to the knowledge of the staff and where our produce comes from.
I believe it’s incredibly important to celebrate British produce and support the industry, culture and heritage behind the food that we’ve grown up with. British produce plays a huge role in Catering at the Trust and there’s a real focus on making sure that suppliers embody the strong ethics, environmental credentials and sustainability measures we’re looking for.
At Killerton, all of our produce has a story that can be traced; from the cider we press here ourselves, to the man who breeds our meat for the restaurants. We’ve also recently won six of the National Trust’s Fine Farm Produce Awards, which celebrate what we’ve made here on the estate.
There are a number of fantastic events happening in October, celebrating the best of British food. The first of these is ‘The Big Pick Up’ at the beginning of October, where we invite people to come and help collect apples for pressing from our ten on-site orchards. These apples will then create the delicious cider, cocktails and juice available at our annual Cider festival. Held on the 17th and 18th October, there will be craft fairs, a variety of food stalls and a huge cider bar. Last year’s was an incredible success with over 6000 visitors, and we hope to make this year’s even bigger and better!
We have a wide range of catering vacancies, from café assistants and kitchen porters to head chefs and catering managers. To find out more about our roles and apply visit our catering section.