Festival setting flavours on fire with wood barbecue

Ben Quinn's Woodfired Canteen offers long-table feasting in the wild.

Ben Quinn's Woodfired Canteen offers long-table feasting in the wild. - Credit: Ben Quinn's Woodfired Canteen

I am always on the lookout for new food experiences to share with you, and I think Woodfired & Friends is going to be really special.

Award-winning chefs Thomasina Miers, Sabrina Gidda and Honey & Co’s Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich are heading out of London to come and cook for us alfresco at Home Farm, Aldenham Road, Elstree.

The three-day residency will take place outdoors, with the chefs creating special alfresco woodfired feasts. Long, sociable tables will be set underneath the trees, the barbecue will be on, and it should be a lovely summer evening.

Ben Quinn from the Cornish company Woodfired Canteen is behind the project, which takes place June 22-24.

Thomasina Miers.

Thomasina Miers. - Credit: Tara Fisher

First up is Thomasina Miers OBE on June 22. Thomasina is the founder of Mexican restaurant group Wahaca and a regular columnist for The Guardian’s Feast magazine.

Tommi also won MasterChef and has cooked with Skye Gyngell at Petersham Nurseries. An ambassador for the Soil Association, Tommi was awarded an OBE for her services to the food industry in 2019. Tommi’s three-course menu will be inspired by Mexican flavours, cooked over the wood fire.

Fresh from 2021’s Great British Menu, Sabrina Gidda will be cooking up a feast inspired by her Punjabi heritage and British upbringing on June 23. Sabrina Gidda is the former consultant executive chef of AllBright, a members club based in London, and she is now focusing on private events such as this.

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Sabrina said: "I am so thrilled to be a part of this year's Woodfired & Friends line-up. I cannot think of a better way to spend an evening than with friends and family and a beautiful feast!"

You may well know Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich from Honey & Co and their restaurant Honey & Spice. The husband and wife team will focus on Middle Eastern flavours, inspired by their lives in Jerusalem, and the event ties in with the recent launch of their latest ncookery book Chasing Smoke which is all about cooking over fire.

I own their first book, Honey & Co: Food From the Middle East, and it is packed full of delicious recipes (it was named ‘Cookbook of the Year’ by The Sunday Times.)

Honey & Co’s Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich

Honey & Co’s Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich - Credit: Patricia Niven

Ben Quinn is excited about bringing this event to Hertfordshire: “Home Farm is a really magical place and we have pulled in an incredible line-up of chefs to create some truly memorable feasts in the wild.

"I’m really excited to be cooking with Thomasina, Sabrina, Sarit and Itamar – these evenings are just what everyone needs after a tough year – incredible food, good company all in a spectacular setting.”

I haven’t been able to get hold of the exact menus each chef will create yet, other than it will be woodfired and there will be vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. I think just go along and see what will be created, and enjoy being cooked for by these amazing chefs.

I am going to the Thomasina Miers dinner and am looking forward to it – it will be as near to Mexico as I get for a while!

And a big question – even though the sun is shining while I write this – what happens if it rains? The team assured me that there will be cover if that happens, in a large, open-sided tepee, so don’t worry.

Tickets are £60pp + booking fee and include a welcome drink and three-course feast. Tickets were almost sold out at time of publication so head to https://www.athomefarm.live/woodfired-canteen for availability. The event takes place at Home Farm, Aldenham Road, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3AZ. If you want to make a night of it, you can also book one of the glamping yurts and bell tents they have on the site!