The Tiny Table
05 August 2020
As lockdown was announced, Guild member writer and chef, Julie Friend saw, like many in her industry, all her catering jobs crash like dominoes from her diary. Thankfully she had some writing work for her local Kent Life magazine, but that was it – parties, weddings and supper clubs were suddenly gone.
‘I started to panic after enjoying the first couple of weeks of enforced holiday and realised that I was going to have to either look at a new career or reinvent myself somehow. As restrictions started to lift a little, a friend came round for a socially distant tea in the garden and remarked “this really is a very special spot you have here”. They were right. It was not only magical with views over wildflower meadows and apricot orchards, but the perfect solution for a Covid-19-safe dining experience, which could be reached directly from the drive with no access to the house. Overnight, The Tiny Table was born.’
Creating bespoke menus with local seasonal produce, Julie cooks from her licensed kitchen, for one group at a time of up to six people. Lunches and early evening dinners are both an option and maybe brunch if you ask nicely.
The food reflects the setting with many of the ingredients having been picked straight from the garden a matter of minutes before they end up on a plate. No concerns about food miles here. Julie also takes advantage of being positioned between two fabulous farm shops and creates dishes with what she finds available in those.
The best china and cutlery were dusted off and her shed full of catering bits and pieces saw the light of day again. Even Grandma’s hand embroidered linen tablecloth made an appearance.
‘I put up one tweet to let people know I was cooking again and things suddenly spiralled. Three days later I had a journalist and photographer from The Sunday Times in my garden…and the rest, as they say is history. The project is weather and light dependent, so I can only really take bookings up until mid-September, but I may roll up my tablecloth and find somewhere undercover for the Autumn.’
Julie says she was beginning to feel really low during lockdown ‘if you’re used to being creative and cooking for others most days, it was like someone cutting my hands off. I cooked for myself and family but that just wasn’t the same – this little project has given me such energy back. I love it.’
Whilst many dates are now full you can email for more details and information on other Tiny Table events to firstname.lastname@example.org