St Hilda's College
College news

The Green Feast and Seminar. Pt.2

8 March 2024

Green feast 2024

Taking place after the Green Feast seminar, the Green Feast celebrates and champions sustainability, showcasing fantastic local producers in Oxfordshire. The MC for the night was St Hilda’s Garry Luke, Catering & Front of House Service Manager, who created a jovial atmosphere and introduced all the suppliers and producers in the evening.

The tables were all beautifully and individually decorated with flowers and plants from St Hilda’s Garden, expertly arranged by Norbert, the gardener. Also on the table was Fresh Focaccia Bread from the Natural Bread Company and Ampersand Butter, churned at Bloxham Grove Farm. The Focaccia came courtesy of the Natural Bread Company, an independent, family-run artisan bakery based in Oxford. They make all their wonderful breads, rolls & pastries by hand, from scratch, and fresh every day in their Botley bakery without using additives. Bakery Director Michal Sukiennik gave a short speech on his passion for baking, sharing his journey from a small town near Krakow, Poland, to becoming a Master Baker.

The first course, showcasing the excellent seasonal vegetables on offer, was textures of Oxfordshire-grown cauliflower, followed by nettlebed creamy cheese and wild mushroom arancini. Before we started, Steve Worthington spoke about how the wholesaler he works for supplies local, in-season produce from farms in the area exclusively to local buyers, maintaining high quality and low environmental impact. After a brief Popeye impression, met with raucous laughter, it was time to enjoy the first course.

Green feast 2024

The main course celebrated fantastic vegetables with a Trio of Aubergine for the vegetarians. For those eating meat, a Duo of lamb was on offer. St Hilda’s has a balance of meat-free days in college, which helps lower environmental impact and ensures quality meat when indulging. Matthew Alden, the great (x7) grandson of Isaac Alden, who founded the Firm in 1793, spoke passionately about sustainably sourced meat and challenged our consumption habits. High quality, less often was a theme. The quality certainly shone through in the dish during the evening!

Green feast 2024

The dessert, Honeys of Henley Honey cake (sensationally delicious), was preceded by a short talk on local honey, emphasizing Oxfordshire's historical and present reputation for the best honey. Honeys of Henley is the product of Nigel & Jo Eddon, a husband and wife team based in Henley on Thames, passionate about their bees. The cake was accompanied by stunning gelato from iScream, Oxford's first Gelateria, and beautiful ammonite chocolates from Wicked Chocolates, a sister company.

The dinner was rounded off by coffee roasted by Milly at Columbian Roasters in Oxford. Milly, appalled by the quality of coffee available in the UK, gave up a promising law career to start a coffee business. They now focus on sourcing, roasting, and brewing 100% arabica coffee, showcasing the incredible range of tasting notes the country has to offer. The room was very greatful for her change in career path!

Green feast 2024

Celebrating the producers and wholesalers was part of the evening, but the incredible dishes were only possible with careful crafting and skill. Dave Brown, the head chef at St Hilda’s, and his team did an incredible job making the most of these ingredients, allowing them to shine and creating a menu that seamlessly complemented each item. Of course, the whole evening couldn't happen without a legion of staff diligently working in the background to provide the incredible service that was received. After a naming and praising session, the evening finished with a standing ovation, giving thanks to all those who made the 2024 Green Feast an incredible event.

If you’re interested in seeing the incredible work of the catering team at St Hilda’s follow the team on Instagram @hildafeasts

Dave Brown