Acclaimed TV chef Tom Kerridge has just delighted customers at The Compasses Inn in Crundale, Canterbury, Kent, with a one-off evening of food and chat.
Kerridge brought down two chefs from his Michelin-starred pub The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, and the trio worked with head chef and licensee Rob Taylor and his team to create a special five-course tasting menu.
Due to the limited size of the quaint country pub, only 50 tickets were available for the event, and it prompted a huge surge of interest from customers.
Licensee Donna Taylor, who runs the Shepherd Neame pub with husband Rob, said: “We had been promoting the evening on our social media channels throughout January, and when we finally announced that we would be opening the phone line for tickets at 9am on February 4, they sold out in 12 minutes.
'It was absolutely crazy, with people phoning hundreds of times trying to get through, and even driving out to the pub before we were open to knock on the window and try and physically buy tickets.”
The couple first met Kerridge a couple of years ago at the Top 50 Gastropubs awards ceremony, when Rob was named Chef of the Year.
Taylor continued, “He approached us afterwards to see if we were interested in taking part in his new gourmet food and music festival Pub in the Park, as he was holding one of the events in Tunbridge Wells.
'We were really chuffed to be asked, and last July we closed the pub for a week and went along to run our stall at the event. I think Tom was really impressed that we were prepared to make that sacrifice, and offered to come down and cook in our kitchen as a way of giving something back.”
Dishes included ‘Beef Toast and Dripping’ with Mustard Butter, English Lettuce and Salad Cream; Crab Cannelloni with Bisque; West End Farm Pork Belly with Smoked Cheek Beignet, Black Pudding and Gherkin Ketchup; and Chocolate and Caramel Macaron with Praline Ice Cream. Shepherd Neame’s wine sales development manager Roshna Ahmad also put together a special selection of accompanying wines designed to match each course.
Taylor said, “Tom was absolutely amazing. Rob and the team were fairly nervous about him coming down and cooking in their kitchen, but he was so chilled and friendly and they all had a fantastic time. Tom was also great with the customers, going to every table in the pub throughout the evening to have a chat with customers and pose for photos.”
She added, “Due to the popularity of this event, we are planning to hold some more fantastic guest nights throughout the year. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more information!”