Back in the autumn last year I spotted a call out from the Good Food Guide to enter a competition for wannabe restaurant critics/food writers. The challenge was to write a review of a restaurant in 250 words. Ever the enthusiast I gave it a go and wrote the following about one of my favourite places The Goods Shed in Canterbury. I was amazed and delighted to get an email in late November to say that I had been selected as one of the finalists and so this Saturday I am off to the Waitrose Cookery School in London for a day with the Elizabeth Carter editor of GFG, plus writer and editor William Sitwell. We will be given tasks to do and be put through our paces and at the end of the day a winner announced. Of course I would be over the moon to win but to have got this far seems like a great prize already. I will blog again about what we get up to and of course, as it’s me, it’s bound to be on Twitter @emwilco.
‘No-one visiting The Goods Shed, a permanent indoor farmers market just beyond the centre of Canterbury, ever leaves empty handed. The bright, vaulted space brims with produce. Laughter and chatter, the buzz and clatter of chefs, butchers, fishmonger and coffee machine blends with the sound of customers taking in the array of gloriously presented and freshly picked vegetables.
With a wonderfully eclectic range of stalls joyfully celebrating the food of the locality you can pick up ingredients to take away or graze on morsels as they catch your eye; slow-proved bread and baked savouries from Enzo, an array of dishes from ‘Patrick’s kitchen’, an English ‘traiteur’ and artisan beers at the Bottle Shop.
And then there is the restaurant, set on a raised platform running the length of this unpolished, industrial space with bright open kitchen at the far end. A high rail draped in richly coloured blankets, scrubbed pine tables, mismatched chairs, dainty stems of wildflowers and a welcoming brigade of smiling staff set a relaxed tone. A vast blackboard sets out their stall, with a menu changing twice daily sourced from the traders each day and telling a tale of all that is great about food from this corner of Kent. Head chef Rafa sends out perfect plates; pumpkin tart with cobnuts and peppery leaves followed by glistening sea trout with foraged samphire and sea beet, or saltmarsh lamb cutlets crisp and pink with wilted greens. Two courses can easily be had for £20…but you will want three!’