Let's do Brunch!

We are launching what we think will be the best Brunch in Cambridge on Saturday 28th May 8.30am-1pm.

A new sunny Terrace joins our Scandi chic interiors. Bikes and Dogs welcome.


Brunch Menu

Toast 3.50

Cream cheese, sea salt, pepper on Wholemeal

Almond butter on Seeded Light Rye

Nutella on Seeded light Rye

Bowls 4.50

Whole Buckwheat Porridge, blueberries, chia seeds, poached pear, coconut milk

Swedish Rye Porridge, amber syrup, berries, milk

House Muesli, coconut Labneh, berries

Eggs 6.50

Soft boiled egg, Chipotle, avocado, rocket on Sour Dough

Scramble on Sour Dough with your choice of topping

Banana pancakes made with gluten free flour, cinnamon, whipped maple butter

House Special 7.50

Swedish Breakfast Platter


Is there a future for independent food retailers?

Food Matters Live
ExCel 18th November 2015

Is the independent food and drink scene here to stay?

I am Tine Roche and I am the founder of Cambridge Cookery School & Café. I am a Scandinavian born chef and although I have spent more years in the UK than in my native Denmark and Sweden, my view on food and my approach to cooking is strongly influenced by my Nordic heritage. My business partner Liz is an Aucklander who worked as a chef in Sydney before embarking on cooking her way around the globe as a private chef on some of the world's largest yachts. Consequently, we share a global, rather than a British, outlook on food and café culture.

I was asked to step in to delivery this presentation only last week. The setting for the meeting I had with Vhari Russel, one of the two founders of award winning GrubClub, a local network for people in the food business in Cambridge, is, I think, relevant. Vhari was a guest on one of my culinary food tours to Italy. I specialise in tailor made, high quality gourmet trips to Stockholm, which is an amazing food city with a world leading culinary scene and Le Marche in Italy, which is recognised by most Italians as one of the country's top food regions but still remains largely unknown by people outside Italy. October and November are the months when we go to Stockholm to eat in trend setting restaurants a such as Ekstedt, and go into the vast forests to forage for wild mushrooms, bake traditional flat breads and generally dip under the surface of what most visitors would discover on a trip to the Swedish capital.
Our trips to Le Marche coincide with the truffle season - not least as Le Marche is one of the few areas in the world where white truffles grow - and we go truffle hunting with a man and his dog, I join in as a guest chef at the local truffle festival and we visit small, independent food and wine purveyors which I have gathered around me to ensure a unique, off the beaten track experience.

As I said, Vhari was one of our guests when she was told that the previous speaker was unable to attend and we sat down to talk between having had the most amazing hand made pastries and coffee - less than €3 for 2 - and lunch consisting of the local Piadini bread filled with fresh rocket and regional mountain ham - NOT Parma ham, of course, as that is produced miles away and Le Marche makes its own superb air dried ham, thank you very much. Our guests who travel with us on our hands on cookery holidays and slow food trips, naturally all share an interest in the genuine and the local.

Italy is an antidote to a world saturated by big food brands dominating a global commodity market ensuring constant supply chains and resulting in a complete disconnect between the local and seasonal and what is on our table. Or, to phrase it a little more bluntly, between the here and now and what we feed our families.

Food in Italy is still deeply rooted in local tradition. Each region is passionately loyal to its regional produce and dishes and the wine enjoyed with the food is also so local that it often comes from a 20-mile radius of where it is consumed. Supermarkets sell only what is in season - as I have learnt on several occasions when I have cooked with guests in Italy and have set out in search of say fresh raspberries or a certain herb, only to be reminded that of course they are not available as they are not in season or not grown in that part of Italy. This can at times seem restrictive to those of us who are used to shopping at the big supermarkets where all the fresh produce of the world is available 365 days a year. Asparagus in November - no problem, here are some flown in from Mexico. Black cherries to go in a fruit cake for Christmas - here are some from South Africa or Argentina. We get our inspiration from TV chefs - professional and rising amateurs alike. The everyday activity of feeding ourselves and our families has been turned into entertainment focused on speed, competition, novelty and that all-important wow-factor.

The term "food porn" usually describes, I think, a wish to gorge on visual images to sate an appetite. I would go further and say that the reference to porn is accurate also from the point of view that food in the media, whether in print or on television, is projecting a completely false image of what daily food is, and more importantly should be. It removes the user of the "porn", if you will allow me to continue to use that phrase for a little longer, from real life and replaces it with voyeurism, totally unrealistic expectations and ultimately a feeling of disconnect and disappointment when one's real life doesn't live to expectations of the outstanding and the extraordinary. A meal after a long day at work on a dark Tuesday night in November can't - and shouldn't - be taken from a glossy recipe based on the latest food trends and eaten cold as a result of having been first arranged, lit, photographed, edited and sent out on social media before we sit down and eat it.
It should be "Italian" and by that I mean consist of a few local and seasonal ingredients - cabbage, root vegetables, perhaps a bit of stale bread and cheese left over from the weekend - which to me spells "delicious winter soup". Not only would it cost pennies per portion and taste divine, but it would show our children how to cook sensibly and passionately whilst supporting local farmers and producers.

So, forgive me this circumspect route to reach the subject of this talk, do I believe there is a place for independent food retailers in the UK. Yes, of course I do and fortunately I am not alone.

Last year more than 40,000 British independent retailers were registered and there was a 27 per cent increase in food and drink merchants year-on-year. These include a 31 per cent rise in bakeries and a 10 per cent increase in wine merchants.

There has also been an astonishing 65 per cent rise in independent supermarkets, which includes small delis and grocers, but not chain supermarkets or brands like Londis or The Co-op. This is music to my ears as someone with a previous life as a fact and trend finder for large food brands during the late 1990's and early 2000s, when Tesco conquered the global market like some latter day Roman army whose rise seemed unstoppable.

Obviously, this is all good news and whilst I expressed criticism of the way we have swapped real life cooking for micro wave meals in front of the food programs on TV, the past decade of watching Delia, Nigella and Jamie and being hooked on the Great British Bake Off, has resulted in turning our food at home into a point of conversation - where it is sourced, how it was cooked and what is it matched with. We are becoming more inquisitive and well informed about what we put in our body, not only from an health perspective but also from an ethical one. This - and the economic down turn of recent years - has had the positive effect of people taking matters into their own hands not only as consumers of food but also by starting food stalls, pop-ups and supper clubs. And finally - my antipodean business partner Liz would say not a day too soon - the UK sees an increased interest in quality coffee and after a decade of corporate coffee brands it is becoming harder to find a coffee shop selling burnt milk coffees in a 20oz cups.

My own path to becoming an owner of an independent food business started back in 2005 which was just before our national obsession with food took off. Stumbling upon a lovely outdoor corporate food event in San Fransisco whilst on tour with a large Scandinavian bread producer, the seed was sown in my head for starting up a cookery school catering for both private individuals, youngsters and corporate guests, whilst also supporting the local community through links to schools and charities. I started Cambridge Cookery School in 2008 - gingerly - with classes around my own kitchen table and found the old warehouse where I built the kitchen a year later and created what was our beautiful home until this September when we expanded and moved into a larger space where we have recreated our award winning teaching kitchen but also opened a brand new café. The look is very much in line with my Scandinavian background - light and airy, clean, contemporary and creating a neutral back drop for our stunning table ware. We have a wonderful sponsorship from iittala - a cult brand of glass and china table-ware whose mission is to create essential objects that are made to enrich people’s everyday lives and whose motto is not simply to create beautiful objects but timeless design that will never be thrown away.

That quality ethos reflects our own attitude to food. We are building up a network of very local, small growers of seasonal produce. One such supplier is in his 80s and has a large allotment on which he has grown vegetables for over 40 years and what he does not know about sustainable, pesticide-free small scale farming is not worth knowing. Working with Robin means that we are cooking with vegetables which have been organically grown less than 1km from our kitchen and it helps us source first and design the menu second, to reflect what is in season, rather than the other way around. We bake our own Scandinavian rye breads and make Croissants from scratch and will soon start to sell our sour dough loaves and ryes in the café - something which many of our guests have requested. Our menu changes daily - when our Japanese colleague is in the salads are inspired by her food heritage - and the idea of offering healthy, sustainable, beautiful and delicious food has definitely been warmly welcomed by our visitors. We will not sell masses of imported jars and tins of food simply to make the shelves look good. We are focusing on quality rather than quantity and on being true to our little part of East Anglia and to the seasons. Our only concession to more far flung produce will be through a link to our beloved Le Marche, where we work with a small producer of pasta, olive oil and wine whose products we will import and sell to create a link to a region where local, seasonal and traditional are key.

To sum up, the trend has turned away from big super markets and weekly shops driven by a quest for the lowest price without any concern for the hidden and much higher price paid firstly by animals and secondly by farmers and the soil itself, and ultimately by all of us, in a commodity driven, global food chain. People are much more aware of health and animal welfare and one of the most welcome trends for me is the move away from a daily diet of animal protein. It does not take being a vegetarian or vegan to see what the cost is to animals and to the earth of high intensity animal farming and it is great to see chefs all over Europe displaying a passion for plant based cooking. Bruno Loubet was met with a wall of disbelief, even some ridicule, when he first announced plans for a largely plant based menu at The Grain Store - and look at the success of it now.

The past 10 years were dominated by price and I think the next decade will focus on quality and sustainability.

Consumers will seek quality not only in what they eat and shop, but also in the experience itself. From the global to the local is the other big trend I see - people want a local café or bakery or deli where they feel sure they can trust the quality of food and drink, where the people who run the business engage in dialogue and where you can take your kids, read the paper and meet neighbours and friends. In short, a place which is an extension of your life at home.


A beautiful Blog about our recent London pop-up...


On the Truffle Trail

Last Friday we met a group of 12 guests at Stansted and took off to our beloved Le Marche on Italy's Adriatic coast. Having run our hugely popular Italian cooking weeks at Villa il Boschetto for the past three years, we have built up a wonderful local network and in-depth knowledge of this little known region.

Having landed in Ancona we headed up to the Montefeltro mountain area for lunch at the breathtakingly beautiful restaurant Il Gerone dei Golosi with stunning views over the hills and the autumn colours set against the back-drop of a deep blue sky. We were treated to an array of delicious specialties of the house, before setting off on a short, scenic route to Collesi Brewery. Collesi have become a cult micro brewery whose artisan beers and Grappas win Gold Medals all over Europe and whose Champagne style bottles are stocked by top restaurants all over the globe. We tasted a lot of their beers, with the Red beer and their Stout causing most of the highly positive comments from our guests.

Thus replenished, we carried on to our hotel for the night, pink washed coaching in Antico Furlo, where the thick walls and wooden shutters encase wonderful rooms and an award winning dinning room. We started dinner with dribis in the Grotto and then set down to a 7-course truffle tasting menu served by la Signora Roberta herself.

Convinced that we would not be able to eat another morsel for days, we never the less managed to do justice to an array of home baked breads and cakes at breakfast the following morning and set off for our Truffle hunt with Paolo and his two charming dogs. The hills were bathed in glorius sunshine, and the aromatic scent of mint and other wild herbs under foot filled the air - as did the waft of the huge truffles Paolo and his trusted dogs soon started to find. Watching the dogs, nose to the ground and tails wagging, rush through the undergrowth, digging up and carefully delivering to Paolo's hands beautiful truffles was a wonderful experience. We then drove into Acqualagna village where the 50th Truffle Festival was under way with truffle stalls lined up in the sunshine on the square, fresh pasta with truffle being served outdoors and families, children and dogs mingled in the warm weather. We headed to the Food Theatre - Salotto del Gusto - for a cookery show with a local pasta chef which included a tasting of his food and a fantastic wine tasting session to go with it. At 5pm Tine and Liz took to the stage as the only foreign chefs running a demonstration for a full house and being interviewed by local TV - a fun time was had by all!

We headed out of Acqualagna as darkness fell and followed the winding road to Urbino. This is a stunning walled, hilltop  university town and a UNESCO World Heritage site with amazing Renaissance architecure and art. We checked in for 2 nights at magnificent Albergo San Domenica opposite the Ducal Palace and, true to form, headed straight out to our favourite Enoteca for more truffle dishes and delicious local wines, including the local version of Prosecco, the light and fruity Passerina - named after the little birds who love settle on the vines to try to beat the humans to the grapes.

The following day was dedicated to strolling around stunning Urbino - "more beautiful than Florence and without the crowds" as one of our guests commented. A guided tour of the magnificent Palazzo Ducale and Rafaello's house were among the highlights. Our final dinner together was also the most exquisite in the competent hands of Giovanna and her husband at Antico Osteria dalla Stella.

Heading back down to the coast and leaving the stunning Montefeltro mountain region behind us, every single traveller promised to return to what they declared to be one of the most beautiful parts of Italy.

We have arrived...

We are getting to know our new premises - and fast! We ran our first corporate event less than 18 hours after moving in with all our equipment. We haven't stopped since, with double events every day and more to come as we head in to London for yet another amazing Scandinavian Pop-up supper with iittala and Skandium later this week and host a corporate team building event for 63!!!

Union coffee training this week so we should be mastering the perfect flat white before long and our ipad till is being programmed so that we can launch what will be a mini capsule menu on Monday 2nd November.

We are in the epi centre of a massive building site so for the first few months we will focus on our Builders' menu and a few of the core things which will form our staple menu as we move into the future with the clear aim of becoming known as the Best Café in Cambridge. This includes hand-made artisan Croissants and our legendary Swedish cinnamon rolls + great coffee from Monday 2nd November.

We look forward to welcoming you all!

We are ready to open the new cookery school!

We can't believe we are finally at the end of our build. The basic warehouse we took over 6 weeks ago has been transformed into a realisation of the vision we had when we set out to re-create our award winning kitchen and to add a cool, classy and contemporary new café for Cambridge.

We are ready to welcome a team from one of our regular corporate clients tomorrow afternoon and to give our new Neff ovens, hobs, extractor fans and dish washers a run for their money. The café looks stunning - but we still have to get through our barista training with our partners Union coffee, program our iPad till and get those sour dough loaves, cinnamon buns, rye breads, cakes, preserves, home made butters and more made before we can open the doors to the cookery school café. We have a hoard of hungry builders on site who, when they take a break from building 60 new luxury homes and 200+ office spaces, are counting the days until we start providing superb coffee and home baked goods on Monday 26th.

We are going for a very soft launch as we will still be surrounded by buidling works and site traffic for a few more months

9 days to go...

...until we welcome our first guests to our brand new kitchen in our new home.

This is the exciting stage where lights and furniture are going in and we can see our vision appear before our very eyes.

We welcome our first corporate clients on Friday 9th - so the kitchen has to be ready to take a team of 30! Saturday morning we have a full class cooking Autumn Italian food foloowed by a large private party in the evening and then it is more of the same all the way to Christmas.

The café and bakery will slowly gain momentum and should be fully up and running from the third week of October. Our whole team needs to get to grips with our new iPad till, the gorgeous coffee machine and the bean grinder...perfect flat whites will be de rigeur!

Café and new kitchen 16-day countdown

We have stopped counting months and weeks and are switching to days as we find our selves on the home run! The wonderful, amazing teams from Cambridge Kitchens & Bathrooms and Primary Developments have been nothing short of miraculous working with flawless precision and speed to raise internal walls and doors, lay 2000m of wires, create the new cookery school, prep kitchen and what we think will be Cambridge's most beautiful café and bakery. Neff have treated us like royalty and have ensured that we will be one of the very first kitchens in the UK to be fully kitted out with their ground breaking new ovens. If you fancy a free demo and lots of delicious food join us for our next Neff Day on November 9th.

Café and new premises 4-week countdown

Less than a month to go until we re-open! Our builders have all been amazing working at break-neck speed and we marvel at the daily drastic changes. All plastering is finished, heating and air con going in and we are measuring up for fitting and cutting in our coffee machine and hot tap to our stone work tops. With so much of the on-site daily decisions and adjustments now behind us, the coming weeks are ear marked for trimming our menu plans and deciding which dishes to launch straight away and which to introduce as part of our second wave of delicious food going on our boards.

Some of our favourite things and in no particular order include Swedish dark rye with mature cheese and black currant jam, Green pea fritters with curd cheese & chilli, Crab and soy omelette, Huevos Rancheros, Churros, Cinnamon rolls, Beet and goat's cheese salad, Puy lentils and char grilled Harrisa salmon, Mayfield and Pumpernickel...we hope to make an impact on the vibrant Cambridge food scene!

Café and new premises 5-week countdown

This bundle contains the tail end of our 2km (!) of electrical cabling! When we looked at the plans all those months ago we could not fully envisage the massive scale our project.

The astonishing Cambridge Kitchens & Bathrooms have master minded the creation for us of 8 hobs, 8 ovens, 6 dishwashers, 5 fridges, 5 freezers, 5 sinks, ducting, ventilation, coffee machine and ceiling lights. Only when we contemplated this bundle and the frankly frightening amount of cabling across our new space did we fully appreciate the scale of what we are creating. We are currently on time for opening second week of October.