Bettys Cookery School tutor Jenny Culver shares her favourite food moments and tells us why Bettys is still one of the UK's favourite places for afternoon tea, 100 years on.
When I think back to my childhood, my first food love has to be...
Playing with my mum’s leftover pastry from when she was baking. I would play with it for hours until it became grey-coloured and inedible.
Even now, my nostalgic food memories play a part in how I cook today.
My love and appreciation of ingredients stems from my relationship with food. Creating a solid grounding in baking has allowed me to build on this appreciation and I can work out why a recipe might not work.
Creating a sense of timelessness is one of the reasons people love Bettys and classic afternoon teas, even after 100 years.
The thing about Bettys is it’s one-of-a-kind. Lots of care and attention is put into even the smallest detail, and when you enter our tearooms, Bettys still has a timeless quality and specialness you don’t really get anywhere else. It's at Bettys that we see people reconnect and spend quality time with their family and friends.
Compared to a Bettys kitchen 100 years ago, a modern Bettys kitchen certainly has its advantages!
When it comes to the manual jobs in the kitchen, we’re lucky to have electrical appliances to do most of these these for us. Thanks to this, we’re more productive and have more time for all the skilled, hand-finished details.
And for all the convenience that modernity brings, it’s always important to remember the past when it comes to cooking.
Whether you're a professional chef, amateur or home cook, you’ll always have one foot rooted in where you came from, but this is fine because in many ways, good food is something timeless and evergreen. It’s all about high-quality ingredients prepared with care that are then paired with a few flourished needed to lift each flavour and marry a dish together. It doesn’t need to be too complex.
My top tips for McCarthy & Stone residents wanting to add a Bettys touch to their afternoon tea at home are:
Use an edible flower to add colour and lift your favourite cakes. There are actually many edible flowers readily available from supermarkets, florists and online shops.
Also, you should remember that your guests will be getting through a lot of food – including the savoury aspects you serve before any of the sweet scones and cakes.
Keep things small, no more than a few bites. Also, when it comes to choosing flavours for your afternoon tea, something chocolatey or lemony would generally be my choice.
Create your own Bettys afternoon tea at home with this Peach Melba Tartlets recipe, as chosen by Jenny Culver.