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13 November 2018

Tomatoes with Rosemary

By Philip Orrell

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Over the summer, students from both Hadlow and West Kent College took part in a unique event, which tied in three elements of the Hadlow Group and provided a valuable exchange of knowledge and skills.

Seven Level 1 and 2 Professional Cookery students from West Kent College and a mix of RHS course and prospective Higher Education students from Hadlow College joined celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager, Hadlow Group STEM Lead Zoe Smith, West Kent College Hospitality and Catering lecturer Andy Barker and Hadlow Head of Faculty for Horticulture, Alan Harvey, for the day’s activities. 

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The group began with a tour of Hadlow’s glasshouses and a presentation from Alan Harvey, who spoke about Hadlow’s prestigious Thanet Earth Fellowship, awarded each year to a student who undertakes an 8-month paid work placement with Thanet Earth, managing their large-scale variety trials on tomatoes. The current Thanet Earth Fellowship student then spoke about the process of selecting new commercial varieties and ultimately taking them to market.

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After selecting some suitable varieties of tomato, the group then proceeded to Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School, where they prepared and cooked their harvest with guidance from Rosemary and her chefs. The group produced delicious dishes of gazpacho with crab salad and ravioli with tomato concasse, which they then enthusiastically sat down to taste! The day provided a mutually beneficial learning exchange, with the Professional Cookery students gaining a valuable understanding of provenance and the process involved in new product development – and the horticulture students learning how produce tastes and how to elicit the best flavour. All involved agreed that it was a hugely successful and enjoyable day. More of these type of events – such as an agriculture ‘farm-to-fork’ event – are planned for the future. 
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