Tree of Hope Branches Out With New Cook Book

THE ART OF MAKING MONEY Howard Porter wants the town to engage more with arts and culture as a driver for prosperity
A Recipe for Success

West Kent is getting its own regional cookbook celebrating the abundance of amazing food and drink found on our doorstop while raising much-needed funds for a local charity, Tonbridge-based Tree of Hope. Packed with recipes created by local foodies, producers, bakers and chefs the Cookbook will be published on November 1st, in good time for Christmas. Money raised from selling the cookbooks will go directly to Tree of Hope, which is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.


Entitled ‘The Cook Book Sevenoaks/Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells’ the book is a collaboration between the charity and locals Caroline Kings from the Eat Around Tonbridge blog, food photographer Severien Vits and events organiser Charlotte Rogers.


Each chapter will focus on a particular producer, pub company or café, for example and will include a profile of a chef, for example, who’ll share their stories and secrets of their kitchens. Recipes will make up a chunk of the book, showcasing local, seasonal produce and menus.


Popular baker and finalist of 2016 The Great British Bake Off Jane Beedle contributed three recipes including a rather delicious Apricot Bakewell. While Tonbridge-based restaurant Ghurkha Planet offers the spicy dish of Nava Ratna Chargrilled Prawn, a meal that fuses Nepalese flavours with European ingredients.


By taking this unusual step of partnering with a book publishing company to produce this book, Tree of Hope is encouraging local businesses including popular restaurants and bars Vittle and Swig, Rendezvous, Fuggles and Sankeys to showcase their culinary offering through a behind the scenes insight to their working, foodie lives. Each chapter includes recipes and a story about the chef, restaurant or producer and some luscious photography of ingredients, finished dishes and a day in the life of the featured people.


Kent-born celebrity chef Michel Roux contributed the foreword to the book and wrote: “I might be biased, but I believe that is food that brings people together in a way few other things can … Each recipe and story in the book lovingly threads together a community and all in order to raise money for a vital cause”. He also contributed a gorgeously sweet recipe of Ice Red Berry Soufflé he says, “always impresses and is well worth the effort.”


Focussing on the towns and villages around Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks and down to villages such as Cranbrook and Kilndown the book will showcase exciting and innovative food and drink businesses and people making the most of this corner of the garden of England. Julie Docherty of Papermakers Arms gastro-pub in Plaxtol, enjoyed the whole experience, of working with the Tree of Hope team in this fantastic collaboration of local foodies and can’t wait to see the final result.” Other outlets with their own chapters in the book include The Warren, The Beacon, both in the centre of Tunbridge Wells; The Hare at Langton Green and Basil which has outlets in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Penshurst.


Local food photographer Severien contributed images of the chefs and producers contributing to the book, perhaps working in their home or commercial kitchens, behind their famers’ market stalls alongside a more abstract photographs of a recipe or a vital, favoured ingredient. The full colour, softback cookbook showcases the best that the area has to offer from the thriving community of independent artisanal food lovers.


Enterprising chef Will Devlin of newly opened The Smallholding restaurant in Kilndown, which is attracting the curious and hungry guests from around the region, says: “It’s a real honour to be involved in this cookbook for such a great charity; Tree of Hope does so many amazing things to support families and children in the area.” Will contributed a Roast Duck with Gooseberry and Courgette recipe


There are thousands of charities and good causes registered across the country, and fundraising is a major issue for them all. Government grants and voluntary donations are needed to cover the costs of running the charity and providing their vital and much needed community services. In a nutshell, Tree of Hope is a ‘crowd funding charity that helps children and young people with a disability or illness by supporting their families to raise the money they need to pay for specialist care that is not freely available through the UK healthcare system’.


Keen baker Loulou Hamilton owns the popular Cocolicious café in the centre of Cranbrook says: “Not only is Cocolicious delighted to be a contributor to the Kent cookbook, but we are more than thrilled and happy to be supporting the amazing and rewarding work of the Tree of Hope.” Inspired by memories of her homeland, Australia, Loulou’s recipe of Salted Caramel Lamingtons will surely become popular in kitchens across the county.


Commenting on why the charity wanted to get involved with this particular project chief executive Gill Gibb, says the book is “a celebration of the wonderful food within the local area and (we’re also keen) to celebrate a real sense of community … We are great food lovers at Tree of Hope and from talking to people in the area we believe there are many more that are going to appreciate this book”.


Copies of the book will be available from local bookshops and from the all the people and businesses featured in the book through their restaurants, cafés, pubs, market stalls and websites. Doug White, co-owner at Fuggles Beer Café which has outlets in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, says: “We believe that pubs still hold a place at the heart of a community and communities are all about supporting each other. We are hugely proud to be working alongside Tree of Hope and helping them bring support to those who need it the most.”


Tree of Hope Cook Books are priced at £20 + P&P and can be ordered at

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