As a newcomer to the Food & Drinks scene in Kent, the Cookery Studio was nominated by its guests for 'Best Newcomer' in the Kent Life / Kent on Sunday Food & Drink awards 2015. From the nominations submitted our Cookery School was selected as one of the three finalists. We would like to thank all of those who voted for us. Here is one of the nominations from a 'Corporate' guest:

Corporate Teambuilding Day @ The Cookery Studio 

Over the years I have had to endure every form of team building and motivation training day. Everything from being splattered by orange paint balls by crazed colleagues to the dreaded bowling night wearing dodgy shoes and drinking fizzy lager, to the petrolhead experience on go karts to even the ‘adventure’ team building events where you are jumping in streams or riding a shaggy pony around the rain soaked Brecon Beacons.

So consider the faces of our management board when HR announced this year that we would be having a surprise team building day. Yes, we had all been there before and faced various forms of humiliation. Unfortunately our management board is not made up of the fittest individuals so the biggest concern appeared to be whether sports kit was required. HR proudly stated all you need to do is be ready at the hotel at 8.30 am and just be prepared for dinner in the evening. So we all left the security of our Maidstone hotel in a dodgy minibus. The anticipation rose as we drove from the motorway to a main road and then onto the notoriously skinny back roads of Kent. The London boys on the team were getting more worried by the minute and I swear one of them tried to escape!

Well, we eventually arrived at a fine Oast house surrounded by manicured gardens that would make even Alan Titchmarsh happy. There was not a rope swing or go-kart in sight and the sun was breaking through the clouds. The day was starting to look more promising, especially when our hosts Robert and Diane gave us a warm welcome and showed us into the most delightful barn conversion already prepared for our management meeting. It was arguably one of the best meeting rooms we have ever had. The ambience was comfortable and airy and the backdrop of the garden, Oast house and surrounding Kent countryside was stunning!

After the meeting we had homemade quiche and salad in the beautiful garden. It is not a word I would normally use but the quiche was “lush”! The team were now relaxed and ready for almost anything. The more adventurous of the group had toured the gardens, some feigning interest just so they could look for the hidden rope swing and team building gear. But Diane rallied the troops and we entered the world of the Cookery Studio. At that stage we may not have been the most enthusiastic group especially when Diane announced we would be cooking our own dinner, but when the boss said he had brought a few cheeky boxes of his favourite wine, we all threw ourselves into cooking a 3 course meal. It would be an understatement to say that we all enjoyed the event. Our foodies loved it, our non-cooks learnt more than they expected and the sceptics just got carried away with the hospitality and comradery generated by our wonderful hosts Diane and Robert.

Hopefully my meandering screed gives you an idea of one of the few team building days I have truly enjoyed. There is no better advert for the delights of Kent than Diane and Robert’s Cookery Studio.

Dr Drew Reynolds

Technical Director

Total Produce UK

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