We began discussions with Ken Holland from North Country growers some time ago to put some kind of reclaimed wooden structure on his kitchen garden plot at Vallum Farm. Ken and his team grow an amazing array of produce including many heirloom varieties and are famous for their clamped veg.
They supply top chefs and restaurants and, being a very likeable chap, Ken has many contacts in the food industry and was sure he could entice chefs to come and cook in this structure using ingredients picked just yards away, minutes ago.
Mostly through the power of twitter, the Chef’sPod was born! A truly organic build, there were no drawings or real plans, we literally made this one up as we went along using the basis of a shepherd hut chassis so that the hut was able to be moved as required. Ken kept popping up to see the development and was always kind enough to look pleasantly surprised.
Internally the hut was clad with many of the reclaimed pieces of wood that we knew ‘would come in someday’ and hadn’t had the heart to burn. Being the wood geeks that we are, we could remember where almost each and every piece of wood had come from which gives the chef’s pod a great story behind it. ‘If these walls could talk…’ was the title of a piece of engraved timber we commissioned to tell the history of the wood. As the chef’s pod was to be a private dining experience we sectioned off a kitchen area with moveable prep space, shelving and storage.
The dominant feature of the hut is the 9ft dining table made from reclaimed pine beams, the cross piece actually comes from Jimmy’s Farm down in Suffolk, where we were given some timber when their barn was restored.
Externally, (going for modern rustic!) we clad using thin strips of larch horizontally placed. The edible flower wall is planted in reclaimed organ pipes which we believe to be a first (again hoarding reclaimed stuff comes into its own!). The double doors open to reveal the ever changing vista of the plot, internally they are lined with used coffee sacks and externally some corrugate was kindly donated to us from a fallen barn conveniently situated next to our house (ahem!). We also added a Belfast sink with iroco draining board, reclaimed from a school science lab, with some old ships rope for good measure.
This type of hut is of course suitable for activities for the non-culinary variety too. As an alternative to our shepherd huts we see them being used as offices, conference rooms, classrooms, cafe’s, the possibilities are great!