You may have noticed quite a lot of content from us recently on The Small Holding, Kent. A gorgeous ‘farm to table’ concept restaurant in the picturesque village of Kilndown. The brains behind this beauty is the very talented chef- Will Devlin. We pulled him aside from our incredible Farm and Forage experience to get some real behind the scenes questions answered for you. Enjoy..
Briefly tell us about your journey to get to this point..a lovely restaurant, a beautiful setting, foraging your own food and rearing your own pigs. It’s every Chef’s dream, right?
The journey to get to this point has been exponential! Whilst I was trying to get the capital to buy this place myself and my brother (who is now FOH manager here) were running pop up suppers all over the place between Kent and London. I had a lengthy career in London previously and I spent years working every hour under the sun as nearly everyone in this industry does. When we bought this place it was in a pretty sorry state and we spent every hour possible (along with anyone we could drag in to help us) doing the place up.
Something we love here is the Open Kitchen, was this important to you?
It was something that I always wanted to do, and it actually works really well for functionality. Because we are a small restaurant the chefs serve the majority of meals cooked here, and I am a massive believer that the food tastes so much better the quicker it gets to the table.
It goes without saying that you are very much into sustainability at The Small Holding. Does this transpire to your drinks also?
Absolutely. This was all very much down to Matt, he said from the very beginning that he wanted to source everything behind our bar from Britain, which is what we do. Everything we have on tap here is actually from Kent. It’s definitely not the easy route but it’s the best route for us, and luckily Matt is extremely passionate about this.
Quick fire round !
Pig and Porter, Tonbridge Wells
Favourite Meat to cook with at the moment?
Hardest foraging item to find?
Tough! It’s either Pipehouse- ‘Cucumber and Earl Grey’ or the London Dry Gin from Greensand Ridge.
Lunch or Dinner?
Lunch…a long, boozy lunch.
Do you think the way you farm and produce food helps in your own small way towards the environmental issues we now face?
We can definitely always do more. Here, we are always aiming to waste less and be more environmentally aware. Something I want to look into in the future is the possibility of crushing our used glass to make our own crockery. We compost as much as possible here and we are very conscious to try and decrease waste wherever possible, as essentially why would we put the effort into growing all this fabulous food just to throw it away?
Skip forward a year, what do you see for The Small Holding?
We would love to have more involvement in our drinks production, working closely with our favourite local vineyards and distillers. And to push the educational part of what we do. We want to expand the farm and what we grow here and become even more sustainable. Something we would love to do is ‘Feast nights’ – I think I miss my supper club days! But everything we do is just trying to be bigger and better.
All photography credit to @georgegunnphoto
Read a full review of the Farm and Forage day at The Small Holding here >>>>>