Dining Around a Woodland Campfire

Being in the campervan fold for the best part of 5 years you can’t help but feel there is a little something for everyone. Both Mandy and I have done our fair share of travelling and we almost feel like veterans in the field. Some people dip in to the scene and move into other areas never to be heard of again. I will be the first to admit I have other distraction and have been guilty of taking my eye of the scene to focus on other things. That said, we always look forward to time away in the van.

There are certain perks to sharing your travels with others. The feedback is seldom met with anything other than positivity. That longing to be in the shoes of the person relaying those amazing pictures can only serve to inspire and lead others to follow. We have done this on numerous occasions, purely because we fell in love with a location we had no idea existed prior to that electronic telegraph on a social media post. And the reality is, we have rarely been disappointed!

All of this said, there are less than a handful of people that I feel really embrace this lifestyle. The restrictive nature of the small format campervan can offer an element of achievement to anybody that is used to the luxuries and trappings of bricks and mortar. To be able to enjoy yourself with a vastly limited array of everything compared to a what most take for granted is a major buzz for the casual campers. But a safety net is there for most in the form of home, which is quite often only just a short drive away, if the need should arise.

There are few in this world that take that leap of faith and remove any option of returning to what we would call the norm, by selling up and deciding that life is better enjoyed on the road. No fixed abode and no fixed income are surely going to offset any illusion that this is going to be an easy ride. But the memories will stay, and the harder the journey, the longer those memories will last. Who would do such a thing…?

Michael and Steph chose life on the road because they both had busy lifestyles, and hardly ever saw each other due to the long hours worked, and opposing shifts. Mike is a seasoned chef, and Steph has a love for animals with previous employment in the veterinary fold. Both were unhappy with the work life balance, and made the decision years ago to try and re address issues to give them a better quality of life.

The Westfalia T3 Atlantic syncro is one of the most capable campervans ever made. True 4×4 off road capability, twin hob, great internal layout are stock on this very rare van. But complemented with a raft of other outdoor cooking options like BBQ, Cobb oven, or just a plain old big fire for roasting all manner of things, has been inspiration to all in the fold on social media for years in the form of video blogs, instagram, facebook and twitter via Chefcampers unique branding.

So having known Mike and Steph via our click on social media for some time, both Mandy and I were amazed that we had been offered a ‘Golden Ticket’ for DINING AROUND A WOODLAND CAMPFIRE. To actually experience Mikes cooking, with his best friend at his side Keiren who is also a professional cook, was just too good an opportunity to miss.

We arrived late afternoon at the campsite. The venue for dining had been a work in progress for the previous two weeks. The forest surrounded the encampment giving it a really cozy feel.

Mike, the fire…and the van 🙂

Hay bales were dotted around, and a long gazebo offered dry seating from what turned out to be a night of rain and drizzle .

Kieran. What a star!

Music played to enhance what was already an amazing evening, and each soundtrack complimented every one of the seven courses.

Moroccan lamb served on bamboo plates, Steph, the waitress, and amazing company…

We were truly gifted to experience this night out. We have camped in our van in some amazing locations, but this evening had everything. Close friends, great food, good music, amazing location, and of course our home on the road. Fantastic!

Quote below from one very happy Mike ( Chefcampers )

What an evening!
Last night, we hosted a banquet in the woods. We served up 7 courses, all cooked over fire. The time invested into pulling this off was insane. There were moments when I sat up late, asking myself, “why?!”
Last night, that question was answered. Our guests brought their absolute best to the experience. As we inhaled the flames, we heard laughter, corks popping and a sense that we were at the heart of something special.
Our food got amazing feedback and it made the whole experience worthwhile.
The tasting menu was a chance for us to showcase what we can do, using the best produce from the local areas, challenging the limits of open fire cookery.
For those who took a chance and booked a ticket, thank you. You said “yes”. You didn’t hesitate and you took a chance to pursue a food adventure. You guys are now ChefCampers and welcome to the crew.
Shall we do it again in the Summer?!