Top North East chef David Kennedy is to showcase his award-winning culinary skills at a pop-up restaurant in the Tyne Valley.
Off the Wall with David Kennedy will see the former North East Chef of the Year teaming up with Northumberland’s acclaimed Vallum Farm for three nights between July 4-6.
The one-off dining experience will champion seasonal summer ingredients from a host of producers living and working close to Vallum, which lies in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall country at East Wallhouses.
Off the Wall follows the phenomenal success of David’s first ever pop-up venture at Tynemouth’s inaugural food festival in May.
David K @ Café K held at the coastal village’s King’s School saw more than 250 diners over three nights enjoying a taste of the unpretentious British-inspired fare served at the kitchen maestros much-admired Food Social restaurant at Newcastle’s Biscuit Factory commercial art gallery.
Now he hopes to repeat the feat at Vallum when David Kennedy’s Food Social temporarily relocates to the visitor attraction just eight miles west of Newcastle with its tea room, ice cream parlour and other onsite shops and businesses.
David – who among his kitchen team boasts another former North East Chef of the Year, Andrew Wilkinson – is looking forward to the challenge. “People in the city are already very familiar with the Food Social brand and we took it to the coast in May at Tynemouth with huge success.
“Now Off the Wall is giving us the opportunity to showcase what we can do for a new set of diners in the country who will have the chance to enjoy a seasonal summer menu inspired by the best Northumbrian produce, much of it sourced from within a handful of miles of Vallum.
“Indeed, in the case of the vegetables they will be coming just a matter of yards from field to fork as we will be using seasonal heritage and micro varieties from Ken Holland who has his own two acre plot at Vallum.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know potential new suppliers and to explore the huge variety of local and seasonal produce available from this part of Northumberland.
“Food Social already features a plethora of North East producers on its menus, but we are aware that there is more world class produce right here on our doorstep.”
David added that he had been encouraged to collaborate with Vallum because of “its own emphasis on high quality food, its production and its provenance” and that he was enthused by “the temporary nature of pop-up restaurants which makes them exciting for both the chefs and the diners.
“We want as many people as possible to taste the high quality food we serve day in and day out at Food Social, which they may not otherwise get to enjoy.”
But would-be diners will need to be quick to snap up tickets for Off the Wall’s five-course summer taster menu featuring exclusive recipes developed by David and his team. Each night is being restricted to a maximum of just 40 covers.
Off the Wall’s name reflects the fact that most of the food will be sourced from the area around Emperor Hadrian’s now ruined Roman fortification which snakes for 73 miles east to west across northern England, and that Vallum stands on what was Milecastle 18 just off the A69 Newcastle-Carlisle road.
Among the local producers that will be featured on the five-course taster menu – for which tickets cost £39.50 each – will be Bywell Smokery, fruit and vegetables from Ken Holland of North Country Growers, Vallum Farm Ice Cream and the Northumberland Cheese Company.
David said this is an exciting time to be involved in the food scene. “Dining concepts like pop-up restaurants that offer professional cooks the chance to be creative and cater to all kinds of budgets in a way they might not be able to at their own regular establishments, are thriving at the moment.
“Projects like David K @ Café K and now Off the Wall allow me to experiment with exciting new flavours and cooking techniques and meet new producers and fellow food lovers.”
Vallum Farm is home to, among other attractions, an award-winning ice cream parlour and tea room, wildlife walks, an outdoor play area, Bywell Smokery, North Country Growers and K9 Hydrotherapy.
A barn on site is currently being redeveloped to create a new restaurant, shop, bakery, pottery, and workshop and wedding/function spaces.
Owned by farmers Peter and Vicky Moffitt, whose Brown Swiss cows provide the milk for Vallum Farm’s award-winning ice cream and yoghurt, Vallum is a foodie and family destination dedicated to local produce.
Vicky said: “Off the Wall is a fantastic opportunity to showcase a chef who is as passionate about local produce as we are.
“The three-night pop up will be a celebration of summer and all that’s good to eat from this part of the region, from sweet Northumberland-bred lamb to salmon, seasonal soft fruits and vegetables.
“It is also our chance to sing the praises of Northumbrian food and remind people just how diverse it is.”
• Off the Wall with David Kennedy pops-up at Vallum on July 4, 5 and 6 at Vallum Farm, East Wallhouses, Military Road, Northumberland, NE18 0LL. The five-course summer taster menu costs £39.50, including a glass each of sparkling, red and white wine to accompany the meal.
Tickets are available from Vallum Farm, tel 01434 672 652, or from David Kennedy’s Food Social @ the Biscuit Factory, 16 Stoddart Street, Shieldfield, Newcastle, NE2 1AN, tel 0191 260 5411.