Sorry if its been a bit quiet around here , but believe me my head is still quite full of food .
Through the power of Twitter I have hooked up with Ellie of the fantastic Salad Club – Supper Club and blog and together we will be attempting to feed the hungry setup crew for the Green Man Festival at the Glanusk Estate , Crickhowell , across five days next week.
With 40-50 hardworking people to feed , breakfast , lunch tea and dinner , the quantities of food are mind-boggling, so we have been having lots of fun with spreadsheets. Ellie has been doing a fantastic job contacting local suppliers who also provide food to the huge variety of stalls during the festival and I have been dealing with the behemoth online grocery shopping experience.
Travelling down to Bristol by train to stay with my mum while carrying an electric handwhisk , stick blender , knives , jar of chilli starter and other essentials was good fun.
All of which is a good distraction from thinking about the mammoth task ahead.
But I have very good reason to want to get these lovely people well- fed. Green Man is absolutely favourite festival . I have been going for years , and first met my lovely boyfreind there in 2007 , last year I spent a week camping before the festival just to get myself in the perfect state of mind.
I am so pleased I can contribute in some small part to making this another fantastic year.
Phew! Back from the Green Man festival setup working from 6am til 10pm at night whipping up cooked breakfasts, lunches, tea and cakes & dinner for 40-50 people a day for the working week.
Main Crew Catering have taken over to feed the 800 crew who will work over the course of the festival
Though it was totally exhausting, I loved everything about it , Ellie is fantastic to work instinctive and passionate, we certainly drove each other to match the generosity of the crew with some fresh and delicious food. It is definitely one of the best things I have ever done and I am determined to do more of this kind of work – perhaps opening the first Nottingham Supper Club ?
Things I learnt?
How appreciative a team who have been working on festivals all summer can be ?
So many wonderful compliments for our food matched with grumbles about crew catering at other festivals alternating between too many lentils or over-reliance on burgers and chips.
At the first lentil comment, Ellie and I exchanged a few glances knowing our food was not entirely lentil or pulse free, but the balance seemed to be favourable judging by the numbers of second helpings.
How wonderful local suppliers are ?
I have never thought too much before about how a festival might benefits an economy but the suppliers will provide the bulk of the ingredients for the main festival stalls for the duration
I always shop locally at home and on holiday . While the behemouth supermarket beggining with T, failed to provide a number of ingredients ordered through their terrifying online ordering system. local suppliers shared vans to provide us with daily produce.
* Casshells Butcher amazing sausages & bacon, if you are going to Green Man stop off for supplies
* Phillip Jones for vegetables , some of the biggest onions and beetroot. I have ever seen. Supplemented with some herbs raided from both my gran and mums garden
* Carl Barts at the local Dairy
Location Location Location
To be able to cook out the window during any brief respite and see beautiful gardens and stunning Welsh landscapes makes a difference. I can see why so many chefs breakout of London . Plus after a day of cooking walking around to see what big-tops had bloomed was wicked
Cooking for a big group everyday is very different to cooking a one off meal.
Cooking everyday is great because you can be creative using up leftovers , you get to know what people will eat and feed them accordingly. However the routine is relentless , you can never really stop there is always something to wash , chop , clean and dry or setup for the next meal or next day as the routine below can only hint at.
6.30 Wake Up
- Stumble into the kitchen to sleepily put in the sausages and bacon in the oven. Down a cup of tea/coffee.
- Lay out bread , fruit , butter milk & juice
- Beat eggs with cream and pepper
- Make vegetable frittatas ( Vegetarians really hate vegetarian sausages!)
- Heat the beans/ grilled tomatoes/ fried potatoes
- Turn on urns
8am -9am Breakfast
- First to arrive always the starving but charming, nighttime security
- Constantly topping up breakfast, making fresh coffee, scrambling eggs & clearing away
- Get on with making lunch homemade soups, daal, pasta bakes ,and fresh salads.
- Make cakes for afternoon tea , sponges, scones & flapjack
- Begin evening meal slow cooked.
- Begin evening desserts, crumble , sticky spongers , strudel
- Clear away breakfasts , feed latecomers. Someone always seemed to miss breakfast buy taking deliveries.
- Top up urn
- Wash up all breakfast trays and pots
- Making sure the hot food is set out with plenty of salads, vegetarian and lactose intolerant options.
- Clear away and wash up lunch trays
- Top Up Urn
- Check stocks and make orders for the next day
- Set up Tea/ Coffee and cakes – all homemade banana cakes , flapjacks , scones and cream
- Clear and wash up tea.
- Prepare salads plenty of beans pulses and fresh vegetables to accompany stews, casseroles , chillis
- Take deliveries
- Lay out hold and cold dinner
- Lay out dessert
- Drink a glass of wine while watching people eat, respond to requests for more of anything. Make packed lunch for security guards
- Clear away and wash up.
- Put on any beans and pulses to soak for lunch/dinner
- Lay the table for breakfast , lay out sausages and bacon on trays in the fridge.
- Crack 40 eggs
On the last night there was great big BBQ with jerk chicken ( Ellies Brixton Market Jerk seasoning was a great hit ) and I was really sad to be leaving the crew, but will be back next weekend for the festival proper.
Would I do it again, in a heartbeat. Thank you Ellie she will be back after the festival feeding clear up crew including a litter picking army hopefully aided by some extra goodies we have secreted away