I found myself turning to Jane this afternoon and commenting that I could almost get emotional watching the Kitchen in full swing. The wetland dining area was full of people enjoying lunch, there was a queue ten-deep in the kitchen ordering cakes and salads, the kitchen team were fully focused on service and the gurgle of steam from the coffee machine was just a supporting note to the conversations and laughter going on around me.
It was then that it hit me that, although there were still a few technical teething problems with the kitchen, the concept worked! People were actually buying our food and using the space as intended. In the same moment, I also realised that this was entirely down to the help, support and assistance that we have received over the last nine months to get the kitchen up and running. So this is a small thank you to all of the people that have helped turn the dream of a collaborative kitchen and workshop space that was a rough sketch on the back of a piece of scrap paper into reality.
Paul (our Gardens Manager) always says that the Skip Garden is a garden of a thousand hands and although slightly overstated this statement holds true for the kitchen as well. There have been many hands involved in the process, but firstly, thank you to John Nugent, our trustee who guided us over the course of monthly planning & development sessions to what is now a commercially viable opportunity. Many thanks also go out to Andrew from the marketing department at Green & Fortune, who designed our flyers and loyalty card, and to Vistaprint who printed them. A massive thank you too to Dave Eland and Glen McDonald and their teams who have put in innumerable hours sanding, tiling, fabricating and constructing and turning the Sketchup model into a working kitchen. A big thank you also goes to Argent, BAM and ISG, who funded the kitchen equipment and installed all of our electrics and plumbing respectively. I don’t think that they quite realised the scale of the project when they offered their time and resources, but thousands of pounds in materials and weeks of labour later, I hope they know that we are extremely grateful for all of their help. The kitchen would not be functioning today without all of their assistance.
Last but definitely not least, my thanks go out to the kitchen team and volunteers who make it happen every single day. They sanded what felt like kilometres of floorboards, they persevered through the hard times of having to cook on the bike when the kitchen wasn’t quite ready, they took the concept and ran with it and they continue to amaze me every single day with their boundless enthusiasm and creativity... so Sadhbh, Vero, Lisa, Joy, Erin, Shona, Tinka, Ulrike, Eilish, Lucy, Nick, Myia, Aarel, Caitlin, Lily and Destinee... THANK YOU!
I guess all that remains is to let you know that the kitchen is running and the cafe is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, and we look forward to welcoming you all over the summer season.
Skip Garden Kitchen