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Go wild for spring’s hottest foodie ticket

Wild dining co, Woodfired Canteen, is coming to Herts in May, with an extraordinary line-up of fab foodies raring to cook up unforgettable open-air feasts. We caught up with Founder, Ben Quinn, to find out more.

What could be better than eating delicious food, cooked over fire outdoors, by top chefs in the gorgeous local countryside? Hailing from Cornwall, Ben Quinn’s al fresco dining experience, Woodfired Canteen, is popping up at Home Farm in Elstree from 8-12 May, and boy, are we excited. Ben spoke to Muddy to whet our appetites for what’s to come.

Ben Quinn, Founder of Woodfired Canteen

What’s the idea behind Woodfired Canteen?

I grew up as one of seven in Somerset, where I was allowed to cook meals to share and play with fire. When I put down roots in Cornwall I was inspired by the family-like community and the incredible local food there. I have a passion for making connections with people through good food and experiences, so launched Woodfired Canteen. The ethos is all about sharing stories through food.

Food being prepped for an al fresco feast

What’s so great about cooking and eating outdoors?

It brings people together and gives them an experience. I want people to have memories of more than just the food – it’s also about the atmosphere and the whole experience. When their food is cooked outdoors people can smell what they will be eating and they are able to see everything being cooked right in front of them.

Your guests are seated at long trestle tables – why that instead of smaller tables?

The idea is that we share a long table as one big family would. I want people to make connections through good food and to feel inspired. The long table encourages people to chat, whether they are friends, family or complete strangers. 

What brings you to Hertfordshire?

Home Farm’s concept of intimate, elemental and unforgettable events in the outdoors is beautifully aligned with our own ethos at Woodfired Canteen and being accessible both to Londoners and locals for a special evening makes it an ideal location for us. The whole team had a ball last year and we’re really excited to be returning.

And, being England, we’ve got to ask… is there a wet weather option?

Absolutely! Being from Cornwall we are only too familiar with the Great British weather. A big, atmospheric set of connected tipis is set up for us to lay our tables under if shelter is needed.

Sam and Sam Clark of Moro

You’ve got a pretty impressive line-up of foodie elite – what are the highlights?

Yes, we’ve got Sam and Sam Clark from Moro, chef andfood writer Ixta Belfrage who co-authored Ottolenghi’s Flavour, Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Imogen Davis from Native, and Stevie Parle from Joy & Pastaio. Having the opportunity to collaborate with these very talented chefs whose cooking and methods I admire so much is a dream.  Each one of them is a highlight – the menus we’ve been designing together are all incredible.

Imogen and Ivan of Native

What can guests expect from the experience, and what do you hope they’ll go away thinking?

Each menu is unique and full of surprising flavours enhanced by our wood-fired methods. The menus are based around sharing platters and each menu has a veggie/vegan option. With our guest chefs there to host and cook alongside myself and my team we offer a very special experience of sharing an exquisite meal with family, friends and soon-to-be friends – making memories that we hope will last forever. 

Woodfired Canteen is coming to At Home Farm Live from 8-12 May. Book your tickets here.

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