Shepherd Barn, a visit to see Nick Weston's new venture
“I was just passing” – after a long day trip to Munich and a less than satisfactory experience with a Gatwick hotel (don’t ask), I had the chance to drop in to Hunter Gather Cook’s (HGC) new HQ at the Shepherd’s barn on the South Downs, where founder, Nick Weston gave me a tour.
As they have been using a pile of Netherton kit down at the HGC Treehouse for over 4 years, a trip to check out their forest home was long overdue. And while I was there, I dropped in a few more.
Nick, of course is well known for his love of hunting and fishing, but HGC is an inclusive venture and on the day I visited they were running a course for a very mixed group, whose dietary inclinations ranged from vegan to full on carnivore. Head Chef Lucas was completely unfazed and led the participants out to the stunning vegetable garden to pick their own lunch.
The restoration of the old threshing barn has been a major project for Nick and his team. Designed to complement, rather than replace, his treehouse location, it affords them the opportunity for more courses, seasonal banquets and even to host weddings, whilst remaining true to the fundamental ethos of HGC – EVERYTHING is cooked over fire, there’s not so much as camping stove in sight.
Climbing the hill above the barn on a glorious July day, I got to take in the stunning location, experience the pleasure, however brief, of “being away from it all”, listened to the birdsong, and saw the sea and the coast of France. Truly memorable and standing there, I could absolutely “get” why Nick does what he does. I felt privileged to have walked in his landscape and can without reservation recommend anyone and everyone to explore and experience HGC for themselves.
Along side the game butchery and cookery courses for which Nick is rightly renowned, the range of courses is growing to include coastal foraging courses and wild cocktail courses, fermentation and charcuterie workshops, whole animal cookery courses and ‘Sunday Lunches’, all naturally featuring cooking with fire for a truly immersive event.
Whatever you choose, the primal experience will be one you are talking about for a long time to come.