This past December I went home to the US for the first Christmas with my family in eight years. Of course it was going to be great, but when I booked my flights back in October I was still oblivious to just how special it would be. After receiving my host’s home address to calculate the Uber trip from the airport, curiosity struck. Isn’t Woods Hill Table in this area? I wonder how far away exactly? Calculate. Only 20 minutes. 20 minutes?? Recalculate. Yes, only 20 minutes! It’s settled then. My reservation was in place five minutes later.
As our only Stateside member and Food Made Good Awards winner, Woods Hill Table has a notable reputation here at the SRA, one that made an impression on me from the first day on the job. Passionate about both social and environmental sustainability, the restaurant sets a very high standard within our growing global community. With its very own 360-acre organic farm the team are able to raise, butcher and serve animals in such a manner that promotes both animal and environmental health, creating products that are better, cleaner, and ultimately more sustainable. On top of this, the Woods Hill Table team take extra care to use all parts of the animals, working every cut into their dishes, creating blankets from hides and even lighting the tables by their own tallow candles. It’s no surprise then that the More Veg Better Meat award 2018 now resides in Massachusetts. Although the plan was to meet a cousin there for brunch, I gave the Woods Hill Table team a heads up that I would be visiting and that I would, of course, love to say hello. With the holiday season being so crazy though, I had no expectations.
On arrival I introduced myself to the hostess and again asked who might be around to give a warm holiday hug to. I was in luck! Jason Doo, the General Manager, and my main point of contact, was on site. I would soon realise, however, that this was only the beginning of a series of wonderful surprises. Finding our table, my family and I were then greeted by a lovely waitress who quickly took our drinks order; Bloody Mary’s all around! Starting brunch off right. Next came the fresh apple cider donuts followed by a visit and warm welcome from none other than the owner Kristin Canty herself! As if we weren’t excited enough already, Kristin’s personal introduction to the operation and ethos really got our mouths watering. Shortly thereafter we also got a visit from the Woods Hill Table Santa (AKA Andrew Rich, the Beverage Manager, in full costume) who brought with him a full tray of holiday cocktails confirming we had all made the ‘Nice List’ once again.
Thankfully the food was not far behind and after somehow managing to set the cocktails down we tucked into a beautiful array of farm fresh breakfast delicacies. Eggs benedict, lamb shakshouka, and a full farmer’s breakfast were up for grabs and we generously shared the plates around to ensure we each got at least a mouthful of every ingredient. My two favourite bites? The braised organic greens and the farm fresh country-style pork sausage.
As the meal came to a close, and I felt the first of many holiday food comas sweeping over me, Kristin thankfully circled back and got us up out of our seats for yet another surprise, a back of house tour! She spoke about the history of both their farm and the restaurant site itself, her personal experience with family health scares, their commitments to promoting healthy fats in their cooking, minimizing single-use plastic use as well as their partnerships with other local farmers to source the very best organic produce the area has to offer. As we proceeded to the cellar, she even elaborated on the detailed logistics required to get their animals from farm to table season upon season. When we got to the bar, Andrew also explained the dedicated work they have put in to sourcing organic and biodynamic wines as well as local beers and soft drinks.
Upon conclusion of the tour it was amazing to reflect on just how much blood, sweat, tears, and love go into creating such a fabulous sustainable restaurant. The good news is I can now say from first-hand experience that you can taste the passion in every bite. Thank you for hosting me Woods Hill Table team and keep up the great work!
READ ABOUT HOW WOODS HILL TABLE
TOOK HOME THE SERVE MORE VEG & BETTER MEAT PRIZE
AT THE FOOD MADE GOOD AWARDS 2018