It’s great to see the sun rise... We all get up early. But no one minds when there’s such a full day ahead.
The Manorafon barn kitchen
We help ourselves to our home-made granola and toast. Breakfast is a simple and speedy - our main focus is lunch and supper.
However, on the last day we treat ourselves to a late breakfast after an egg-making demonstration. If we’ve made sausages, we eat those with our eggs – poached, fried or scrambled.
We’re divided into two groups for the day. The first group takes the van to the field in the morning, while the others make lunch.
Fieldwork can mean any number of activities: planting, harvesting or weeding, foraging, fishing or sausage making - even preserving and apple pressing. It depends on the venue and season.
In the kitchen, we learn the essential skills; how to chop an onion, peel a pumpkin and make simple tasty dishes. We do, however, explore more unusual ingredients and use more ambitious techniques.
We learn to keep our work stations tidy and the kitchen clean.
The two groups always come together to eat meals. We are usually cooking for 20-24 people.
Squid on the Barbeque
Now the second group takes the van to the field, the market garden or fforest - or coast or sea. The first group is now in the kitchen preparing supper.Sometimes two cooks will make the same dish and we will taste and analyse the results.
One team is on bread duty as all our bread and biscuits are homemade. If there’s time in the afternoon we will run to the beach and take a dip.
Planting leeks with Nathan
In the evening, we invite a guest speaker to talk to us about their work. It could be a bee or cheesemaker, a farmer - or a Fairtrade designer.
Troop tents in 'our' field at Manorafon
Cooking for our supper guests is our way of thanking them for their time, and for sharing their passion and knowledge.
If we’re not too tired, we watch a film with a foodie theme: Food Inc. or Delicatessen (Suggestions very welcome). Sometimes we play games or we might go build a fire on the beach. Sometimes a storyteller will come....
Valentine Warner gutting fish
Lights out is at 11 o’clock.
The Next Day
The two groups swap their morning/afternoon slots, so that everyone makes the same number of lunches and suppers for each other.
At the end of the course we prepare a farewell brunch to use up any remaining ingredients and polish off leftovers. It ends up being quite an offbeat meal but it certainly is quite a celebration of a fantastic week.
"I just want to live here, cook, eat well and make art". Florence 2012
"Ed thoroughly enjoyed himself and has shown new skills not previously seen in the kitchen, long may it continue". Parent 2013
"I'd never seen radicchio before in my life, but now that I know it exists, I will search all the fields in Lancashire to find some". Freddie 2010
"Every day I fall in love. Today I fell in love with a beetroot". Samson 2014
"I now realise that once you have flour and water you're half-way to a meal". Miriam 2013
"This is exactly the sort of meal I came here hoping to make". Samuel 2013
"Thanks to everybody at Root Camp for what was the best week of my life". Rosie 2014
"I think the main thing I've gained from this week is confidence. I now know that I can cook. If I could change something about Root Camp, I would make it longer". Sanjay, 2010
"Root Camp was an experience that we found so valuable as a contrast to a hectic academic schedule. We feel he is prepared for the next stage going to University". Parent 2013
"In her personal statement for applying to university she [Heather] described going to Root Camp as “vital”. Parent 2012
"Root Camp in deepest Ceredigion was an absolute joy. I went there not knowing what to expect but of course vibrant young minds in a stunning setting created its own magic. Under the beating sun we cooked up spider crabs with fennel tops, ratatouille the Elizabeth David way, peach tart, pork belly to name but a few. Thankfully vodka had not been sneaked in Timotei bottles so the week was very productive. All the kids were brilliant. A total joy, if they ask me to do it again I’d do in a shot. Comment of the week definitely had to be I’m telling one of the kids to pull his trousers up & he replied “Boxer shorts have a pattern for a reason you know”. I had no criticism for any of the kid’s aptitude but collectively I would say stop asking where things are in the kitchen before you’ve even had a look. You were all brilliant, keep cooking!" - Valentine Warner (Chef)