From Gretchen… Cookery School Owner, Farmer & Mum of 2

It has taken me 6 months but I have FINALLY managed to get this website off the ground!  I hope that it makes it easier to book our popular classes and demos and as always would love your feedback – I feel it is an opportunity to improve, rather than a criticism!

A question I always get asked is ‘so what’s your background?’ so here is the short version..

  • Hotel & Catering Management Degree in 19….. cough cough
  • London Career for 10 years, Creating & Managing Events plus Managing Restaurants – an amazing fun filled 10 years where I learned so much
  • Back Home…  Business Development Manager for M&J Seafoods and then Marriage & Children i.e. work stopped for a while (it is not easy to get to those 5am meetings when you are a Military Wife!)

2nd Question…  ‘How did you end up here?’ (Here meaning Netherstreet Farm)

  • Crown Tenancy Property with my family being tenants since 1889 – according to my Father – my husband and I signed a Business Tenancy with The Crown in November 2017
  • I started my company Jack & Maddie in 2013, developing my Recipe Format, Teaching Cooking in Schools plus Planning Parties, Dinner Parties & Meal Planning
  • Farming being farming we needed to diversify and this seemed the obvious step, we had the building, we had the recipes (we now have a lot more!) and hence The Farm Cookery School was born.

So that’s me but there are others that are absolutely vital to the success of The Farm Cookery School – I have asked them for Head Shots and a little Precis so that will be coming along soon..

Laura Cady – Laura joined us in September 2017 and took over the Finance side of the business, she is now looking after our Social Media as she is a genius at it.  As my sister said – ‘Your Facebook is so much better now’ and yes it was me that did it beforehand!  Laura works with me on a number of projects and I was thrilled when she joined me to take the Cookery School to the next step.

Josie French – Josie is the key to our Education Team, she is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist and so brings a whole host of skills to working with children.  We met 4 years ago as our daughters go to school together and we talked obsessively about food at School Drop Offs and Pick Ups. I was absolutely thrilled when she joined the team and we still talk obsessively about food!

Olivia Bayley – Olivia has been working with us for over a year as she completes her qualifications at Lackham and she is an absolute star.  As well as being my back up throughout Cookery Classes and Demos she works with both Laura and Lizzy to create great workable systems within the office.

Jodie Francis – Jodie joined us in September 2018 as the Kitchen Manager. Jodie controls the stock, sets up and assists classes and works with me on developing new dishes.  She is also becoming an extremely good cook and most of all she is an absolute pleasure to work with.

Lizzy Martch-Harry – Lizzy is in control of the office, she makes sure that all the bookings and operations boards are up to date and keeps us all in check!  She is joining Laura on the Marketing side as well, it has been so lovely to have her on board.

Etty Stanley – Etty has worked with us for nearly a year now, first coming on board when we started Holiday Clubs for Marlborough College.  When she isn’t working on her degree at University she is being a massive help with Classes and Demos and will be joining me in The Café at Urchfont Manor this Summer for Friends of the Garden

The Team – We work within the Government Guidelines with a team of 14 – 18 year olds who are fantastic.  They are quick to learn and keen to work and I work closely with the parents to ensure that they are not doing too much – especially when GCSE time comes around!  They are my back up in Classes and I am hugely grateful for their help – and yes of course we pay them (above the min wage actually!)

So that’s the team.. They make the Cookery School what it is and enable me to concentrate on running classes, parties, school visits, corporate bookings etc etc as well as growing the business!!  Thank you lovely people 🙂