Vegetables

Vegetables

By
Skye Gyngell
Contains
8 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849495806
Photographer
Andy Sewell

The garden

Having a sense of an outdoor space at the restaurant was important for me. I had worked closely with nature for so many years that the idea of giving that up completely was difficult. From my first visit to Somerset House, I focused on the space that could become a garden – the light well in the middle of the room. It needed to have a very different atmosphere from the restaurant room itself, which would be light and fresh. For a dramatic contrast, I wanted the garden to feel dark, almost dank, like an enchanted wood with a magical quality. As you stepped inside, I wanted it to feel as though you had been transported somewhere else.

I set about finding out exactly what could be done to that space. Covered with a glass roof, it was, technically, an indoor rather than an outdoor space – heated and warm in the winter, kept cool in the summer. Inevitably there would be constraints and I realised it was going to be difficult to realise my dream. It took a while to find the right garden designer, but from the moment I met Jinny Blom I knew she could deliver my vision. She understood the theatrical quality I was looking for and her extraordinary imagination impressed me.

One of my main concerns had always been the walls of the garden, which I felt needed to look aged in some way. Jinny arrived at the office one day with a large piece of drab plywood. She flipped it over to reveal the beautiful, almost primeval, shape of a gunnera leaf among some very rough plaster of Paris. Jinny’s idea was to clad the walls in cast corian with a repeat pattern of the gunnera leaf. The effect would be dramatic and enchanting. I was beyond excited.

There were many challenges. Outdoor plants would never be happy inside and we needed to put a few tables and chairs out there, so the space for plants was restricted. Everything needed to be grown in pots that were moveable on castors so that the room could be adapted to different occasions. Fascinated by the structure and limitations of the garden, Jinny came up with inspiring ideas and plant solutions. The garden would be ultimately beautiful. The enchanting forest of my imagination was beginning to take shape.

Recipes in this Chapter

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