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Book review – The Pig: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond

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Book review – The Pig: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond

Stretching from Canterbury in Kent to Gittisham in Devon, the litter of six Pig hotels is one of the biggest success stories in UK hospitality. So what is it that drives guests and customers to the hotels, time and time again? Pick up this newly published – and beautifully presented – book and you quickly understand the attraction.

Essentially, a myriad of elements make up the magnificent whole. As Robin Hutson, the Pig’s founder, states: “Running a hotel isn’t difficult – it’s just a million details.”

The book highlights the phenomenal effort that goes into putting together and operating each of the properties – whether it is selecting the perfect artisan food supplier, choosing the right vintage plates at a car boot sale, or putting together the perfect mix of music at the group’s Smoked & Uncut music festivals. The recipes for dishes and cocktails throughout reflect the connection to the extensive kitchen garden at each hotel and the locality – the raison d’être of the business.

Hutson has not dreamt up a themed concept and then expected his staff to follow a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, he, together with his wife Judy, who designs the eclectic, shabby chic interiors, are fully involved in every aspect in evolving the brand. The result is a business with real heart that puts people and product first.

While Hutson has written the introduction to the book, he is keen to celebrate a team that is now in the hundreds. In addition to hearing from fellow founder and director David Elton, who oversees the landscaping, head gardener Olly Hutson and chef-director James Golding, we gain an insight into the contribution made by the ‘egg man’ Ben Jackson, butcher Alan Bartlett and salvage specialist Travers Nettleton, alongside many more.

The book offers a fascinating insight into the business but, above all, highlights the fun and enthusiasm Hutson has engendered in his team and speaks volumes about why the business has had such an outstanding impact.

The Pig: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond by Robin Hutson, Gill Morgan, Paul Croughton and the Pig team (Octopus Books, £30)

• Try the recipe for Mr Bartlett’s Hampshire hogs from the book here

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