• Two Michelin Stars: One in a Million Evening

    One truly amazing night took place on Monday October 8th, 2018 when two North Staffordshire born Michelin starred Chefs joined forces with the great Wedgwood China dynasty for a dinner in aid of the local children's hospice, and asked us to organise the booze.

    The back story to this runs quite deep, so bear with me: the guy from Michelin who gets to present the stars to the chefs each year, is a customer of Old School, but I like lots of others never made the connection between Michelin (tyres, based just down the road in Stoke) and Michelin (famous restaurant guide) until Mike popped the question 'would you like to help us to organise one amazing dinner' one day last spring.
    Add to this that one of the Chefs: Niall Keating (this years European Young Chef of the Year) is from our village and was mates with our middle son Josh at school and even holidayed with us as a youngster, and you can start to see why this became such an exciting proposition.
    The third dimension is purely selfish: I love really good food, something to do with my many trips to France that always seem to involve either lunch or dinner in some amazing restaurant.
    Mike had nominated the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice at Trentham as their charity for 2018, so this also seemed like a perfect opportunity to raise some funds for this very worthy charity.
    Fast forward to the event its self. Over 130 guests paid a handsome £175.00 a head to attend and the chefs had given me the briefest of descriptions of the five courses they’d prepare between them (no pressure then!). So, I guess this is where my near 40 years of wine trade knowledge really came in handy as I grappled with what to serve with each delicious course.
    My choices are listed with the courses below and I have to say there is not a single wine I would have changed having actually tasted the dish.
    Reception: Grove Vineyard English Sparkling Wine, Eccleshall / Old School VSOS Staffordshire Dry Gin & Tonics
     AmuseLobster Tofu – Exmoor Caviar – Roast Chicken Broth (NK)  Etna Bianco 2017, Cottanera, Sicily.
    StarterParfait Of Duck liver, smoked duck, picked cauliflower, windfall apple purée (SH) Gentil de Katz 2016, Domaine Klur, Alsace, France
     Fish dish – Glitne Halibut , parsnip , verjus , fennel pollen (SH) Zephyr Vineyard Chardonnay 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand
    MainBeef Fillet – Fermented lettuces – Horseradish – Dill (NK) MR de Compostella 2015, Raats Family, Stellenbosch, S.Africa
    DessertHoney Parfait – Tapioca Pudding – Caramelised Apple (NK) Le Terte du Lys D’Or 2006, Sauternes, France
    I have to say I enjoyed every single morsel of the food and every single drop of wine! If only every Monday evening could be the same!
    One final foot note: the evening raised a staggering £50k for the Donna Louise hospice. If that isn’t a great result I don’t know what is!
    Chefs Simon Hulstone and Niall Keating with the amazing Michelin service staff
    Chefs Simon Hulstone and Niall Keating with the amazing Michelin service staff.