Not really of course. But it was last Wednesday. For Kemp & Kemp LLP at least. Really, Christmas in April I hear you say, what is that all about?
For the last few years Kemp & Kemp have celebrated Christmas early in the new year, rather than at the traditional time in December. After all December is a busy month for everyone, there is too much to do and not enough time to do it, and besides it gives the team something to look forward to in the often depressing month of January. That and the fact you get much more choice, and value, in January than you do in the overcrowded month of December.
But leaving it until April this year was going to test the patience of even the most loyal staff member, not least because the season of goodwill is a dim and distant memory by then. So whatever we planned to do had to be worth the wait.
And it was. A hands on barbecue experience at the Weber Grill Academy in Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire. What course tutors Clare, and Jamie (and their hard-working assistant Jordan) don’t know about barbecuing is not worth knowing at all, and being Christmas the menu had to be themed of course. And so it was:
Boxing Day Parcels (leftover turkey and ham)
Spicy breaded Prawns
Filo parcels with spinach & goats cheese and pine nuts
Pigs in Blankets
Brussels, chestnuts and parma ham
Smoked Dauphinois stacks
Carrots & Orange glaze
Chocolate Molten Puddings
And all of it prepared in the Weber kitchen and cooked on a gas or charcoal Weber barbecue!
I met with Clare the Academy manager some months ago to plan the event and therein lay the first problem. Their courses are so popular that even in January it was not possible to find enough space on a course to accommodate us all until April. So cooking lesson number 1 is to plan your attendance well in advance. Particularly if there are a lot of you. Lesson number 2 is simply to leave Clare and her team to it, they have a wonderful eye for detail, and in the words of one member of staff “Lovely people, they help to make it. It was good fun and I have to confess much better than I thought it would be”.
They teach the basics from simply lighting a barbecue, the difference between direct and indirect heat, smoking methods, and safe practice through to detailed food preparation, cooking, and then of course the eating! Techniques taught ranged from grilling, roasting, smoking, boiling, and best of all baking. Yep, those molten chocolate puddings and mince pies are all cooked straight on the barbecue.
We had a great time, and were really well looked after. “Excellent” was a well-worn word by the end of the evening and one staff member remarked “I have never touched a BBQ in my life and I was a bit worried, but I might even have a go at a dessert or something now”. And so you should!
Sadly it was back to work the next day. Whatever happened to Boxing Day?
Kemp & Kemp would recommend the Weber Grill Academy to anyone interested in cooking and/or eating. There is something there for everyone to enjoy. I have been there several times now and I cannot wait for my next fix!
For more information contact Clare, Jamie or Jordan at;
They would love to hear from you.