Chef James Golding takes The REAL Podcast on a tour of the ancient walled gardens at The Pig Hotel, Brockenhurst, and explains how farm-to-table philosophy fuels the kitchens he creates his magic in. A wonderful podcast episode for foodies, history buffs, foragers and gardeners alike.
Welcome to the 22nd episode of The REAL Podcast, brought to you by REAL Kombucha, creators of non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternatives that have won awards for their exquisite flavour and quality. If you’ve not tried these drinks yet, head to our shop and order yourself some this instant. Seriously… you’re missing out.
We love podcasts that turn out like this week’s episode – conversations where we really discover what maketh the maker. This week’s chat is with James Golding, Chef Director at The Pig Hotels, and it’s choc full of memories and anecdotes, many of which we’re sure you’ll find inspiring and fascinating.
The Pig Hotel holds a special place in our hearts, as they were one of the first to spot the quality of REAL Kombucha, and they’ve had our drinks on the menu ever since. They’re also legends when it comes to the farm-to-table philosophy that we love so much. Our brewery sits in wide, open fields in the Chilterns, where we’re very much inspired by the seasons, and it’s a privilege to meet and chat to people whose relationship with the land is so all-encompassing.
And here’s a cool bit of news: this episode is the first in a partnership between REAL and The Pig Hotel. We’re going to be sharing stories, non-alcoholic cocktail ideas and food-pairing recipes across our channels and theirs right up until Christmas. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to start partaking in a piece of that pie.
In fact, this morning you can head to our website to find an amazing recipe that James Golding has created to pair with our Dry Dragon. We’re talking citrus notes setting off wonderful salty fish flavours, not to mention a mind-blowing shrimp and lemon butter sauce. Order yourself a tall bottle of REAL Dry Dragon, download that recipe and away you go. Absolute bliss.
The Pig Hotels are known in part for the historical buildings they’re situated in. As James explains, some of the Pig’s ethos is to make use of the traditional methods of gardening and food production that would’ve been seen at these estates in their heyday. It’s somewhat ironic that such an approach might now be seen as novel; cutting-edge, even. But, as we take a walk through the rainy garden in the second half of the podcast, you’ll hear how it’s this approach that also drives a huge passion for what The Pig does. And that passion, when in James’s company, is palpable.
So, pour yourself a glass of REAL, strap on your ear goggles and maybe reach for a rain coat. It promises to be a rather wet but truly fascinating ride.
James Golding on farm-to-table cooking…
“I think back to when I was an apprentice, and you’d see this produce turn up in the fridge, you’d get it out and you’d cook with it, not really understanding the journey it’d made before turning up in your fridge. With our guys here now, we can actually teach them how that journey actually starts and how it ends.”
“Our menus change constantly. Every day we’ll put a new dish on. We won’t change the whole menu, but we’ll change two or three dishes a day so that, over the space of a week or two, we’ve actually completely changed our menu. Yes, it’s because we want to do that, but it’s also because we’re completely driven by what’s coming out of the garden. So there are dishes that were on last week that we can’t physically do this week because we’ve harvested everything that we had, we’ve used it, we’ve sold it and it’s gone.”
On the Pig Hotel’s walled gardens…
“We encourage our guests to come down and spend time in the gardens, even if they’re just coming for lunch. Our gardeners are a bit like tour operatives. They love showing off what they do. It’s great to see guests wandering around with gardeners. And the idea is that they go back to the restaurant and they see it on the plate.”
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We're out in Brockenhurst @the_pig_hotels recording a new episode of our podcast with @james_golding_chef, legend of farm-to-table cooking. What he doesn't know about foraging in the New Forest isn't worth knowing. Keep your ears open in the coming days for #TheRealPodcast.
“This is the way that a garden like this used to operate. Back in the day, before we had pesticides and stuff like that, you would’ve had to have managed a garden in this kind of way. You’d have had the separate beds, you’d have rotated the crop. It’s a very cleverly designed garden.”