August 01, 2019

The Kentish Larder #2

I am writing this from the creek in Faversham where I am puppy sitting an adorable gal named Rosa. We’ve been taking long walks, picking samphire, and cooking up all kinds of treats - from my reliable Cullen Skink, to Kentish Gypsy Tarts, and Soto Betawi (Indonesian beef short rib soup). Head to my Instagram to follow along.

This week marks the 18th birthday of my favourite foodie place in Kent (and possibly the UK) - The Goods Shed in Canterbury. If you haven’t been, you must. It’s truly unique, fuelled by the commitment and vision of Susanna and her army of loyal chefs (particularly Rafael Lopez who has been there since day one) and the knowledgeable vendors who sell fresh fish, meat, wines, cheeses and more all from around the county. 


The Goods Shed
Gill's Cafe and Delicatessen at the Goods Shed 

Goods Shed Canterbury
Docker Brewery & Bakery at the Goods Shed 

This market hall, farmer’s market and restaurant heaves with local, seasonal offerings. If it’s not in season, they simply will not have it unlike too many places these days which claim to be local, even though you’ll find all sorts flown in from Peru, Mexico and more. 

Kent Farmers Market Canterbury

Food Hall Market Restaurant

Susanna and Rafael comment: 

“What a journey! Starting in 2001 with this great vision, transforming this amazing building with long, hard work for 18 years - and now it’s all grown up, I think we’ve matured like any teenager: strong and confident. In some ways, we were so naive when we first opened and we’ve faced challenges all the way, although there’s not been a day without excitement. 

Our vision was to inspire customers with an antithesis of the corporate, shiny capitalist world, and provide a different way that truly values local, seasonal produce and small businesses. Our core values are still intact - sustainability, utmost respect for the produce and who makes it, and for our amazing, knowledgeable vendors with the character and the colours they’ve brought to this experience! 

After 18 years, you hit a rhythm: when you’re new and shiny everybody wants to visit and then you hit a plateau where the real work begins and having to sustain something is a whole new beast. We’ve never tried to expand or change dramatically - we’ve kept it as it is to really dig deep with the challenges here and grow with them.

We’ve always tried to make everything ourselves and curiosity has driven this whole thing taking a raw product that’s inquisitively handled with freedom, experimentation and time. That’s the essence in the kitchen! I’m not sure there isn’t anything that comes through our doors now that we can’t work with. Our team is intuitive and totally equipped to react with nature - it’s our experience and ability to respond to that that makes everything really exciting. We think we at the ripe age of 18 we can say the future is beautifully confident.”

You can read more about the Goods Shed and places to visit in Canterbury via an article I wrote for Jellied Eel magazine

Not straying too far from the subject, it’s fantastic to see chef Ben Hughes branching out from the Goods Shed into his own supperclubs that pop up with No Fixed Abode throughout Kent. So far he’s taken over The Stag and Alberry’s on Castle Street (Canterbury), Garage Coffee on Jewry Lane (Canterbury) and you will find him next at at a location in Faversham to be revealed soon - tickets will be released next week so stay tuned for an updated link - they sell out fast. His menu is, of course, local and seasonal, and follows the same structure each time: sea, foraged, air, land and pudding. I vouch for the man in saying that his food is really a delight (and quite innovative) so it’s exciting to see this scene emerging in Kent.

Canterbury Pop Ups and Supperclubs

On the topic of local, I’ve been having a field day with cherries this year - here’s some inspiration for you:

Three Cherry and Rose Tart / Bourbon Soaked Cherry Bundt Cake 

And, finally, for my birthday I was purchased the most wonderful book: A Slice of Kent, produced by David Pearce as a celebration of chefs and their signature dishes across the county, including 56 recipes by 22 chefs. If you’ve a passion for people and food, this book is for you.

Until next time,


PS. I'm in the middle of pickling fresh walnuts plucked off the river path between Canterbury and Chartham - wish me luck!

Foraging Fresh Walnuts


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