Well if you told me in February our lovely little restaurant wouldn’t be open for months on end I would not have believed you!
So bloody Covid-19, along with many other businesses, forced us to shut our doors for a prolonged period. (Anthony and I have been at The Kitchen for 19 years and during that time haven’t shut for more than 3 or 4 days for a lick of paint or a spruce up.)
After reeling from the shock of closed doors, we decided that we needed to do something …. anything, just to keep us busy! So Anthony started the live sourdough challenge – it was heaps of fun but we also learnt that if you are going to go live with something it might be best to have tried it out beforehand! It wasn’t plain sailing but Anthony worked hard to become The Kitchen’s Master Baker! Before we knew it, Anthony was rising along with his loaves at 4 a.m. and we were delivering sourdough loaves around the shire.
There came a point and we realised that delivering small loaves of bread over a 20 mile radius wasn’t sustainable and any business person will tell you that earning 20p an hour, (without the cost of fuel) is not a particularly profitable enterprise! But everyone loved our bread so started coming to us for collection, which made our lives a whole lot easier.
From this the shop was born, we started off selling bread and cakes and soon added new lines including the famous wild garlic pesto – which kept on selling out, demand was so high and we couldn’t keep up with the foraging of the green leaves of loveliness!
Ready meals, sauces, salt rubs now added to our ranges but also amazing British produce, local leaves from our mate, Gregg at Cropredy, gluten free deli items from the lovely Elise at Freesties and fresh produce such as tomatoes, jersey royals and last but not least, Appletree whole milk fresh from the farm a few miles up the road.
But it the fantastic range of breads, that has kept customers coming to our shop; sourdough (that started this whole journey), focaccia, pizza bases, lo-cal Chocolate Sourdough, crispbreads, farmhouse white and probably my favourite of all …. Wormleighton Hall Farm loaf – made with love and passion with flour ground by Windy Miller (aka Sam) from wheat grown on his farm.
We are now officially a shop – a haven for foodies and have just opened our courtyard grazing – featuring lots of fabulous British dishes which can be enjoyed al fresco and we are doing our very best to keep everyone safe – so for the time being will remain outdoors, whilst British weather allows.
It’s been a journey but a pretty fabulous one, where I am proud to say that Anthony & I worked through what can only be described as the COVID Shitfest – I can’t say it has been without tears and stresses but it has been an exciting evolution for our lovely country pub!
Finally, it has been the most incredible support from our customers and community that has kept us going, for which we will be eternally grateful. Many times during this whole period I have been reduced to tears with the kindness and support we have be shown.
And in fact we think from chrysalis to butterfly with lots of other exciting developments on the horizon – fortunately, Ant and I love change …. watch this space!
Jo & Ant xxxx