Grand opening of the Hot Meals Now Canteen, run by 2019 alumnus Annie Nichols and supported by OSE. Expect free food tastings and a chance to learn what Annie has in store for the future. The canteen is located on the ground floor of the Margate Adult Education Centre and those with limited mobility can access the building via an outside wheelchair lift.
Over the last few months, Annie has led a series of free public cooking workshops. Each workshop acted as an introduction to the food that she will be serving in the canteen, giving participants the opportunity to cook some of these recipes alongside her.
Annie Nichols calls herself ‘an artist that cooks a lot of food’. She originally trained and worked as a chef in hotels and restaurants in the UK, Switzerland and Australia. She then became a food stylist and cookery writer (author of six cookbooks), has regularly taught cookery here, and in Sicily and studied at Central Saint Martins School of Art (now Institute of the Arts London). With a belief in good food for all, she works with many different local community groups in Margate and Cliftonville — United Mothers, Artsedex, Bags of Taste, The Garden Gate Project, Summer Kitchen, GOLD East Kent Mencap, Beyond The Page and The Seaside Singers Dementia Choir — to inspire people to cook and eat good food. To bring people together through food and cooking, to encourage people to listen to each other and create social cohesion. She has hosted supper clubs and events locally — Cliftonville Bowls Club, Cliffs, The Garden Gate Project, Urchin Wines, Hantverk and Found — and in 2018 was commissioned by Turner Contemporary to create a supper club in response to their exhibition, Journeys with the Wasteland 2018. For this she created a seven-course feast (inspired by T.S Eliot and his time spent in Margate). Guests ate sitting in a polytunnel at The Garden Gate Project, lit by Chinese lanterns and entertained by performances, spoken word and live music. She also makes botanical cocktails with local, seasonal produce, and forages the coastline for edible ingredients to use in these and her food. Currently she is an Open School East 2019 Associate Artist.