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The Beacon

Mother's Ruin at the Garden Kitchen

Still on the Move 

Still on the Move 

Mother’s Ruin

Gin workshop | 7 June | 3.30-5.30pm
FREE event with a G&T and bites to share

Join the team at the Garden Kitchen to create a small batch craft gin made with botanicals foraged around The Beacon.

On 7 June, Cosmo Caddy, creator of Still on the Move, the UK’s first ever mobile gin distiller is hosting a gin workshop at The Beacon. Affectionately known as ‘Ginny’, the authentic copper still, on a vintage 1937 VW truck, tours the country, packed full of different spices and botanicals, spreading the joy of gin.

The Garden Lane G&T is a favourite at The Beacon so the chance to create our own small-batch premium gin is the best way to experiment with flavours and botanicals to create something totally unique. All gin must have a dominant flavour of juniper, but the team wanted to create not just a Kent gin, but something that has flavours and aromas specific to The Beacon in the 17 acres of woods, that surround the restaurant.

The Beacon's creation is Mother’s Ruin. On the palate, it is a strong, well-rounded and balanced gin with hints of citrus, green cardamom and coriander seed with earthy undertones complimented by garden botanicals foraged in the grounds including wild fennel and wood sorrel.

At the workshop, enjoy a Garden Lane G&T with platters of bites and nibbles and listen to Cosmo talk about the craft of distilling gin and show how to use fresh and dried botanicals. The house serve at The Beacon is with a slice of grapefruit, juniper berries and a few wood sorrel leaves, served over fresh ice and Fever Tree tonic water.

A bottle of Mother’s Ruin distilled on the day will be available to buy at the special price of £30 (normal price £35).

This is a FREE event. There are limited places available so please email to register your place.

Foraging at The Beacon with the Chef's Forum

Sunny, but muddy. Foraging in the 13 acres at The Beacon.

Sunny, but muddy. Foraging in the 13 acres at The Beacon.


Foraging has been popular for some years now, and professional chefs’ enthusiasm for gathering food from wild and natural places is only increasing. On Monday 13th March, over sixty top chefs from Kent and surrounds flocked to a fascinating forage led by wild food expert David Harrison.

The Beacon’s impressive thirteen acres were slightly muddy from rainfall the day before, but that didn’t dampen chefs’ spirits as they braved the crisp Spring air to embark on a flora and fauna adventure. Harrison is Michelin-starred chef Simon Hulstone’s personal forager and sources wild ingredients exclusively for Simon and his small team of talented chefs at The Elephant, Torquay.

The event was hosted I’ll Be Mother's Executive Chef Scott Goss, who demonstrated a duck dish with crispy skin and duck soup. 

The Beacon, positioned on the brow of the hill overlooking the Happy Valley perfectly lent itself as the perfect venue for the cheffy wild food hunt. The impressive garden sits below the patio terrace, dropping away from the restaurant towards the valley with three refurbished lakes to be filled with trout next year.  .

Scott said, “I’m really lucky to have these beautiful grounds on my doorstep – I am spoilt for choice.  I thought the event today was brilliant and it’s great to be able to educate and enthuse fellow chefs on our philosophy on food: zero waste using the whole animal and use of as much kitchen waste as possible.  Foraging makes up a big part of my menu here at The Beacon– Most of our mornings are taken up with foraging and it’s great to learn of all the other species available here from David Harrison – We’ll definitely invite him back next season to show us more!”

The culinary experts went on a tour of The Beacon’s impressive grounds, learning to find and identify the abundance of edible plants, seeds, nuts, flowers and fungi that grow wild in the beautiful Kentish countryside. They learnt that provided you are furnished with a permission from the land owner, the only real cost of foraging is time, a valuable resource for chefs. Most foraged produce is perishable and requires picking for service daily or every other day. 

Forager David Harrison told chefs: “Once you pick something, it immediately starts to lose its peak flavour and texture. So we do not store for that reason; we forage every day.  It’s great to see so many chefs in attendance – I hope that foraging with the chefs today spikes and interest in foraging and encourages them to bring this old skill back into the kitchen” 

The event was a great chance for chefs to learn about foraging for their menus and the copious amount of amazing wild ingredients growing all around them.

The Chefs’ Forum launched in Kent in 2013 and has gone on to see many young chefs find work placements and apprenticeships in the best professional kitchens across the county and beyond.


Pretty as a picture

Wild, pretty, tasty. And free.

Wild, pretty, tasty. And free.

Wild rhubarb compote, lemon sorbet and wood sorrel

I can't resist sharing this recipe by Scott Goss, executive chef at I'll be Mother, which is in the June/July issue of Good Things Magazine. Wood sorrel is easily spotted in early Summer as it has beautiful, fresh green, heart-shaped leaves and delicate white, pink-veined flowers. It forms distinctive clumps in woodlands and shady hedgerows. Tasting of juicy green apples and lemon, it's mouth-puckeringly delicious.

Serves 4

2 sticks of wild (or cultivated) rhubarb
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
100g ginger biscuits, bashed to a crumb

Lemon sorbet
250g caster sugar
4 lemons juiced
250ml water

Handful of wood sorrel and fennel fronds

Dissolve sugar and water in a pan, allow to cool and add the lemon juice. Add a little lemon zest for extra tang

Once the lemon sugar water is cool, churn it in an ice cream mixer or put in a shallow tray in the freezer and mix every half an hour for three hours

Lightly stew the sliced rhubarb, sugar and water for a few minutes until just soften. Blitz with a stick blender

To plate:
In each serving bowl, place a tablespoon of ginger biscuit crumb, just enough to sit a scoop of sorbet on. Spoon in a tablespoon of rhubarb compote and go crazy with the wood sorrel and fennel fronds. A few microplane thin slices of raw wild rhubarb will finish the dish with a lovely sharpness.



Proud Mother Hen

The Beacon down Tea Garden Lane

The Beacon down Tea Garden Lane

Talent in Tunbridge Wells

I am hopping around like a proud mother hen as not one but two of the talented team at The Beacon, part of the I'll be Mother group in Kent have been shortlisted for a national hospitality award. Doug Sanham, 27, Sous Chef and George Lee, 19, Assistant Manager at The Beacon, are two finalists on a shortlist of 10 including entries from the Four Seasons and The Savoy Hotel, London for the national scholarship and bursary, worth £5,000.

Known as the Acorns, the prestigious Scholarship is an independent bursary award created by The Caterer, the leading trade magazine for the restaurant and hospitality industry. The competition presents a young manager, chef, HR manager, sommelier, or any young high-achiever involved in hospitality with the opportunity to make a name for themselves by presenting their skills and ambitions to some of the most respected names in the industry. 

With a prize worth more than £5,000, the 2017 Acorn Scholar will become part of a prestigious Acorn Scholarship alumni. The scholarship is now in its 14th year, and past winners include Simon Houston, now sales director of Bartlett Mitchell, award-winning chocolatier and patissier Will Torrent and Daniel McLoughlin, opening project manager of Shoda Café & Restaurant.

The winner will be chosen after a full day of face-to-face interviews at Coworth Park, Berkshire in on 21st November.

The Beacon, known as the Garden Kitchen, is an 80 cover restaurant, with private dining and event space and is part of the I’ll be Mother group including The Twenty Six in Southborough (Test Kitchen) and The Swan at Chapel Down in Tenterden (Wine Kitchen).  All three restaurants have been listed in the recent Michelin Eating Out Guide 2017.