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Empire Room Chef Craig Mather reschedules ‘Meet the Producer’ dinners following emergency surgery

March 11, 2017 Dining No Comments Email Email

Craig Mather, head chef of The Empire Room restaurant at the Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate, has announced reschedule dates for his Meet the Producer dinners, following live-saving surgery for a burst appendix.

The long-awaited events, which were which had to be postponed, will allow diners to learn about the food and drink on the tables – directly from the local growers.

Craig, noted for creating gourmet seasonal menus using the Kent’s abundant high quality produce, decided to run the events to highlight the premium food and drink products available locally.

The dinner with Little Stour Orchard will now take place on Tuesday 9th May, when Craig will prepare a special four-course menu featuring the orchard’s apple juice, cider and cider vinegar, costing around £30 a head.

“We have known Craig since 2012 when he was working at East Kent College – he is a massive supporter of local producers and uses as much local produce as possible,” said Little Stour Orchard owner Sarah Bowers, adding, “Interest in local food is growing – people want to know where their food comes from.”

A second Meet the Producer event will be held on Tuesday 23rd May with the Windmill Community Garden, when Craig will employ organic vegetables and honey produced on the project’s allotments.

The restaurant is a member of Produced in Kent [Pink], a not for profit organisation which promotes food and drink companies in the county, and is holding the events with a number of its fellow members.

Commenting on the programme of special dinners, PinK Manager Stephanie Durling said, “Produced in Kent are thrilled that The Empire Room is showcasing the fantastic array of local produce available.”

The Empire Room intends to hold further monthly Meet the Producer events with local fishermen, wine makers, cheese producers, game keepers and farmers.

“No other part of the country can compete with Kent when it comes to the rich variety of top quality ingredients – with our artisan cheese producers, rare breed farms, sustainable fishing, wild game, foraging, fruit and vegetables – it’s a chef’s paradise,” said Craig, adding, “Produced in Kent does sterling work promoting the offerings and supporting local businesses – given the sharp rise in wholesale prices of imported food due to the fall in the value of sterling, there’s now even more incentive to buy local produce.”

At the beginning of January, Craig was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother [QEQM] hospital in Margate at the beginning of January with severe stomach pains and had an emergency appendectomy.  Severe complications meant that doctors struggled to control the infection and Craig spent 11 days in hospital, followed by weeks of recuperation at home.   He is not expected to be able to return to the kitchen full time-time until late March.

Unable to eat solid food for 9 days, Craig described the QEQE hospital food as, “Amazing, substantial, traditional and nutritional, rather than gastronomic, which definitely started to help me feel better and aided my recovery,” he said.

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