Some thirty-five years ago, back in the 1980s, an extraordinary thing happened in this country. The British discovered food.
Of course the French had been at it for centuries. And with the arrival of la nouvelle cuisine, plates of artfully crafted food became oh-so photogenic. British glossies and colour supplements lapped it up and the glamour of it all gave birth to our very own gastronomic revolution.
While catering as a career option used to be sneered at, now enthusiastic young Brits rushed to train in the kitchens of the Roux Brothers, Anton Mosimann and Raymond Blanc. All of a sudden, chefs crawled out of the shadows of society and became the toast of our television screens.
These were exciting times and here in Taunton, The Castle was in the thick of it. We won our first Michelin Star in 1984 - one of only fourteen hotel restaurants outside London to be awarded the distinction. And some years later, I published my two volumes of Great British Chefs – a book title that would have made pretty slim reading in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
So, a very special welcome to FeastTaunton. A festival of food & drink that would have been impossible to imagine a generation or two ago!
Quite properly, our focus is on the West Country, a region I regard as the larder of England. Our uplands and hill farms provide us with superb meat and game. Our lush pastures offer a fabulous array of dairy products, including dozens of world-class artisan cheeses. And our orchards, meadows and gardens supply us with a wonderful variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Not least, the waters around England’s south-west peninsula teem with the freshest fish and sea food.
Take a peek at our programme and join the celebration!
Kit Chapman MBE
The Castle Hotel