A perfect pairing - George Unwin returns to his family home of Baythorne Hall near Halstead to open a wine shop and cookery school

The wine shop at Baythorne Hall

The wine shop at Baythorne Hall - Credit: Archant

After working in the wine trade for 10 years, George Unwin returned to the family home at Baythorne Hall, near Sudbury, to set up his own business.

The kitchens at Baythorne Hall

The kitchens at Baythorne Hall - Credit: Archant

Last November, he opened a wine shop in what was a redundant farm building on the site.

“Over the years, we had spent money on keeping the barn upright,” explained George. “But rather than doing a standard barn conversion, we wanted to do something different.”

“The wine shop opened in mid-November. We had a good Christmas, and things are picking up this year,” he added. “It’s still fairly early days until we have got our new wine website up and running. We have a full e-commerce website in progress at the moment.”

The barn which houses the wine shop also includes state-of-the-art kitchens and George has this month unveiled a series of cookery workshops.

Baythorne Hall, George (left) and Matt Unwin

Baythorne Hall, George (left) and Matt Unwin - Credit: Archant

“The initial plan was the wine shop,” George continued. “The cookery school came from discussions with chefs who I worked with in the wine trade.”

This year’s workshops, which are run by guest chefs, start with a sushi masterclass with Lewis Aleta – the owner of Fish Lips Sushi in Colchester.

Most Read

The evening class takes place on Saturday, March 14, from 7pm to 10.30pm, although there will be further classes in July and October.

On the night you will make your own sushi, try Lewis’ creations and also enjoy your own at the end along with some wines introduced by a member of the Baythorne Hall team.

“We also have Indian cooking classes with Saira Hamilton, who got through to the 2013 final of Masterchef and was praised for her work there,” said George.

Chef, presenter and food writer Ursula Ferrigno will be running Italian cooking classes.

“Ursula teaches Italian cooking at a number of top schools in East Anglia and London,” he added. “She’s a very passionate Italian chef.”

The schedule also includes masterclasses by Ian Perkins. “He trains chefs who go into the professional trade,” he said. “He spent years working in top restaurants, and has lots of experience of teaching. I think he will be excellent, he’s a very talented chef.”

George is planning to add to the schedule in due course, with workshops based on ability, from beginners’ to advanced classes.

“We will also have some focus on certain areas of cooking, such as baking and pasta making,” he explained.

“There’s quite a lot of work involved in getting it set up, because we are working with lots of guests chefs and there’s a lot of organising involved, but we’re almost there now.”

In March, another barn on the site will be utilised, when a cheese shop opens next door to the wine shop and cookery school.

Starting from this summer, Baythorne Hall will be hosting special events, in the style of a pop-up restaurant, with the help of guest chefs.

All of the events will have a specific theme, with a wine and food focus. For example, an Argentian wine producer will be coming over to talk about their wines, and the food will have an Argentinian feel.

“We hope to do events like that quite regularly,” said George.

With the wine and cheese shops, cookery school and special events planned, Baythorne Hall seems set to become the go-to food and drink destination in the area.

n For more information, visit the website at www.baythornehall.co.uk or call 01440 785680.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter