Here is what’s cooking at The Long Table

At The Long Table we hope to bring the food we eat alive, from the field right through to the great feeling we get when it’s shared.

An acronym we use to frame the scope of this is A.B.C.D.E.





Education. neat eh! [we could go on, but that’d be Foolish]


We’ve been working with Duchy organic farm, Ruskin Mill Biodynamic farm and Organic Stream Farm Co-operative to source surplus/wonky food. This allows us to share healthy and delicious produce with our customers and team whilst championing these great, sustainable businesses. In time we hope to grow our network of farmers, gleaning what we can, of the food they can’t use. This ought to both help keep our costs down whilst doing a bit to lessen the horrendous implications of food waste. We are also hoping to work with a local engineer to build a micro anaerobic digester onto the back of The Long Table’s kitchen [the engineer has 3 up and running already], feeding it with any food we can’t use and firing our cooking hobs with the bio-gas from it. We would also like to work with some unused local allotments, feeding the ground with the rich digestate and grow some of our own food also. Later this year we plan to take a team field trip to see where the food comes from, hopefully also visiting a vineyard of the natural wine we sell alongside our meals. For some of the youngsters we work alongside, who’ve come to us as an alternative to ‘juvie’ juvenile prison, we hope experiences like this will really help us all to grow whilst adding to the conversation around food where the benefit might really have most positive impact.


Every meal we’ve done so far and plan to do has had a wholemeal sourdough flatbread at the centre. The flatbreads are made with locally grown organic heritage wheat grain, freshly milled and risen with my families 64 year old sourdough starter. It’s both ugly and beautiful, in the best rustic way and very delicious. Warning ‘trumpet blow’, during my time at Hobbs House Bakery I was part of the team that won a fair few awards and fans for our breads. We won organic loaf of the year 9 years in a row, and most recently Britains best gluten free loaf with GiFt, the loaf that in a circular way has set up a buy-one-give-one with an orphanage bakery in Tanzania. THIS though, this flatbread at the heart of The Long Table, is hands down the best bread I’ve had a hand in. Not because of its technical perfection, but because of how it’s made, who makes it and the hope it embodies. I’ve trained young Jack to make them, and Roselyn and Dorothy in Kenya. Using only simple equipment to get the maximum flavour and nutrition from the grain. The flatbreads can be eaten as they are, warm and fresh, dried to make crisp breads, torn and used for dips, ripped into salads, topped to make a pizza, filled to make a wholesome wrap. In terms of baking, this is just the start, which I think is exciting.


Over the last year I’ve worked with half a dozen top chefs and cooks, each one inputting something of their own brilliant style to the food we serve. Everything we do starts with sourcing and gleaning surplus food. We then make the main part vegan and everything free, then serve the food in such a way as people can build their own plate, adding excellent meat when we have it, or any-manor of complementary condiments, nuts and seeds. Cooking, like the baking, has and will be a great opportunity for us to share skills, with our blended team and those that would benefit from them most. For example we share a warehouse with Stroud district food bank and soon we hope to be able to offer cooking skills workshops to their customers using a referral system, alongside paying customers, so as not to stigmatise anyone.


Food is best when it’s shared and along a communal table is where The Long Table comes into its own. We have been hosting between 45 and 85 people at each of our pop-up meals and soon we plan to have a 40’ Shipping container to host The Long Table, in a warmer, more weatherproof way. Most of the meals are pay-as-you-feel, because we want to make food available to everyone. We are working with Rev Peter Francis, and soon we hope to continue his work in a neighbouring parish by offering a monthly meal to socially isolated older folk. This helps to reduce loneliness and we’re enthusiastic to do this within our community. Whatever food isn’t served up, will be packaged as ready meals to distribute frozen and chilled to those that will benefit most. We have been doing evening meals up to this point and plan to start doing lunches very soon and in time to be open always.


There is opportunity to share wisdom and skills with all aspects of food and drink, from the field with trips as mentioned already, through to tasting sessions. The expectation of personal growth is implicit in all we do as a teal organisation. I started an award winning cookery school 17 years ago and I’ve come to understand that teaching people that stand to benefit the most from learning simple baking and cooking skills is what really lights a fire in my belly. I see The Long Table as a brilliant way to continue this work. Also in this next chapter we will invite friends in the farming, the food and drink world to come and share their insight with us at ticketed events. This will also help to fund the endeavour. We see podcasts as a great way to share what we learn and the inspiring people we meet as we adventure along.

The offer

The Long Table is being pulled together in such a way that should it be desirable, any community, the world over, can have the benefits for themselves. The Long Table will go where it’s invited. We hope before long, to be in Tewksbury, Hackney and Nairobi. As well as here in Stroud. We envisage two levels of offer.

ONE — Community meal template

This will be a template for hosting your own meal, for your community. We’d love it if, together with you, we could rise up the Zumba-of-chowing-down, the Park-run-of-feasting. This template will help the hosts to find and celebrate their local farmers and their produce, assist with recipe creation, suggest learning points for skill sharing, offer a framework for promoting the meal and running it. The benefit of these meals will be,

  1. opportunity for NEET’s to learn skills and have the experience of being part of a team putting on an event. Skills are shared.

  2. Celebration of locally grown and produced food. Food waste is lowered.

  3. People coming to the meal are encouraged to bring someone who wouldn’t normally eat out. Starving loneliness.

TWO — Community bakery/cafe

Building on the community meal template above, if The Long Table is wanted as a community asset, making a lasting positive impact on the three highlighted benefits above whilst also providing employment and ownership for a team of up to 12 and of course a brilliant, delicious, and hopeful place to eat and meet for the local community in an ongoing way. Then The Long Table HQ will grow to help the community to fundraise, to kit out and secure spaces. We’ll then work alongside the emerging team to ensure they are successful in an ongoing way. Thereby feeding change, one bite at a time.

The invitation

If you have questions about any of the above or an idea or asset that might quicken the benefits we hope to see, please do contact me.

Peace & Loaf,


Allow me to introduce myself.

Do skip this if you know me though.

My name is Tom Herbert, I come from a long line of bakers. My Grandfather [that’s him at the start of my Do lecture in the link] was a baker who in the 60s and 70s pioneered small scale milling, slowly risen breads and wholegrain products. Whilst I was growing up, falling in love with food, my dad and uncles were baking below at Hobbs House Bakery, below where we lived. We spent all the time we could on the 600 acre organic farm, where wheat the bakery needed was grown and milled. This great love and food filled start, propelled me forward, I won Young Baker of the Year not long after I’d finished baking collage, this led to opening a bakery cafe with my wife Anna where I taught bread making and in time got plenty of TV work. The TV work is where I got to share my love of great food and all things baking with a much bigger audience. 2009, I made a documentary with BBC4 called In Search of a Perfect Loaf, then my brother Henry and I made 3 series of Fabulous Baker Brothers for Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. During this time I became an ambassador for Tearfund, an international development charity, and I’ve had the opportunity to bake, in a hopeful way, around the world in some of the hardest places to live. In the last couple of years I’ve baked for a few life changing days with RCK in Calais, where 12 of us made and served 3000 hot meals everyday, made mostly from donated food. I’ve written a book, Do Wild Baking, spent time in Germany learning more about wholegrain baking and fresh milling, and setting up a micro-bakery in Kenya with two local mums that has a Mockmill at its heart. Needless to say all of the things above, have been an attempt on my part to answer some of the big questions we face as a society, namely how can this thing food, that we all need and so many of us love, hurt us and the planet so badly? The Long Table is the best chance I can imagine to answer some of this, giving hope and a positive way forward to those of us that have cooked, baked and eaten together. Our strap-line is feeding change, one bite at a timeGrace Network is the parent community benefit society that holds a safe place for all of these ideas to propagate and is a fertile field for these seeds of ideas to healthily grow. The Long Table was set up nearly a year ago as a community interest company, and will be 80% owned by its employees, the remained returning to the mothership so it can continue its work. Since then we’ve done a dozen pop-ups, and raised money to build a kitchen and dining space within two shipping containers. The idea here is that if we can prove the concept is viable, we can share what we’ve found and invite others to join in and in this way we hope to see The Long Table proliferate. I’d like to emphasise that big as the food issues are, we believe the real energy behind our approach, is with the NEET’s and people with barriers to employment that we are sharing skills with and creating work for. This is where the biggest social benefit will come.

Tom Herbert
Natural Wine
Wright's Wines

We love natural wine and feel it is a great fit with the spirit of the meals we are doing which have at there heart handmade sourdough flatbreads made with freshly milled grain. We hope you get to try the wine our friends at Wright’s have selected for us. Bread and wine done well is a very special thing indeed.


All of these wines [below is just a selection available at the time of publishing from The Long Table] are from small growers, who make wines that we find exciting, vibrant and delicious. In general they are at the very least organic, rely on natural yeasts for fermentation with minimal additions in the cellar, sometimes none. The list is subject to change, the wines are from small producers and sometimes are of limited availability.


Jacques Fevrier

Jacques Fevrier


Jacques Fevrier is a former sommelier who after falling in love with natural wines, decided it was time to make them himself. He chose Oudon, not the most fashionable of locations, but a place where the terroir was varied, there were quite a few varieties to work with and he could afford to actually buy some land. He’s a thoughtful, skilled winemaker making understated wines that reveal themselves to be packed with personality - a rising star of the Loire. All the wines go through Malo, which is unusual for Melon De Bourgogne wines and hence none of them are classified Muscadet even though he is in that appellation. 

ELSASS CONNEXION 2017 - £5 per 125ml Glass

Sauvignon from the estate of Les Maison Brulees in Touraine, direct press into old 400l barrels. 1g/hl sulfur at bottling. 


Laurent Fell

Laurent Fell


Laurent Fell has some of the highest vines in the Ardeche, on south facing slopes at 500m altitude on the edge of the wild and mountainous Cevennes forest. He’s on his own up this high, which is beneficial as there is no risk of pollutants from other vineyards and plenty of biodiversity. His wines are at once deep, juicy and refreshing, with a freshness from the cold winters at this altitude. All vinified in tank to preserve the freshness of the fruit, and bottled with zero additions, these are wines of immense drinkability and value. 

LO RAVI 2017 £5 per 125ml glass 

Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon with a short maceration and in a supremely gluggable style, this is a fresh wine brimming with fruit for everyday drinking. 


Ariane Lesne

Ariane Lesne


Ariane Lesné worked as a retailer, than a wine agent, then made the move into producing her own wines after falling in love with natural winemaking. She worked at an estate in Burgundy for 5 years, before taking over the reins at Emile Heredia's estate, Domaine Montrieux at the end of 2014. She lives there now with her Husband Martin, a potter who uses the ashes of Ariane's vines to make glazes for his pots. 

PETILLANT D’AUNIS 2015  £30 750ml bottle sorry NOT BY THE GLASS

Direct press of Pineau d’Aunis from young vines, a parcel farmed organically in the same village as Ariane’s own vineyard. 18 months of aging in bottle on lees, then disgorged. No sulfites added. 


Joseph Jefferies

Joseph Jefferies


Joe Jefferies is a guy from Warwickshire who went to the South of France to help his Dad do up a house. He met a girl, fell in love and never looked back. Joe worked as a cycle tour guide for a number of years, but after drinking the wines of, and becoming friends with Remi Poujol and Bernard Bellahsen of Domaine Fontedicto he started producing himself, taking over his stepdads vines and finding other north-facing vineyards in this area which is on the plateau of an old volcano, looking for freshness and minerality in his wines. All of the wines are produced with zero additions and speak of the basalt they come from, with crazy minerality and freshness. 

LA CABANNE DE JEANNE 2016 £6 per 125ml glass

30% Grenache Blanc, 30% Marsanne, 30% Terret Blanc & Gris. For this vintage, Joe macerated the Marsanne, for 9 days in whole bunches. Savoury, textured and long. 

Wright’s Food Emporium
Wright’s Wine

Sunday Lunch at The Long Table

On the menu

This was our first Sunday Lunch at The Long Table. For the first time we had lots of families coming with children. We had a full house with many people back for more.


Made by Jack and Tom using freshly milled grain, risen with Hobbs House Bakery 63 year old sourdough starter. The grain is a Heritage blend developed by archaeobotanist John Letts and grown at the Dutchy Home Farm in Tetbury. The grain is derived from medieval varieties found deep in thatched roofs and is prized for it’s flavour. The flatbreads were baked in a Chadwick Pizza oven made in Stroud. These breads are the same as the ones Dorothy and Roselyn have started baking in Nakuru Kenya with The Long Table micro-bakery we are helping the to start.


The carrots came to us from Cornwall, thank you Lizzie Macintosh. They were many glorious colours from almost white to dark purple. Heritage varieties were “gleaned” from a field where the harvesting had just happened. Carrots not meeting the required cosmetic standards were left waiting to be ploughed back into the ground. Not these ones. They might have been very wonky, but we scrubbed them and roasted them before blitzing them with toasted cumin seeds and a little local honey and rapeseed oil. Topped with black sesame and sumac. 


These are Organic and from our friends at Stream Farm in Devon. Please have a look at the brochure they have supplied. Their farm is a wonderful place to visit, the ethos that underpins the place is inspirational and the produce as I hope you’ll agree is second to none.


The vegan option. This mighty marrow came from Horsley Flour and Produce Show where it won 2nd prize in the largest marrow competition. A whopping 66cm long. We’ve stuffed it with British split fava beans from Hodmedods, capers and a fresh tomato sauce. 


Most of this was donated by local veg growers. Thank you. 


Surplus white overnight dough bread and sourdough bread from Hobbs House Bakery mixed together with defrosted organic milk left over from the Do Lectures infused with onion and bay. 


Made the proper way using an organic chicken stock. And lots of it. We hope you like it, please let us know if you need any more. 


Our new friend, author and food writer Dearbhla Reynolds of Cultured Club fame showed us a fresh way to enjoy a glut of plums, ferment them. They’ve been chopped with Ashmead Kernal apples from Tom’s garden and mixed together with Korean chilli paste, fresh ginger and garlic, then left to ferment. The culinary adventurous of us will be rewarded with a memorable flavour and a gift to our bio-dome. 


The apples are from trees around these Five Valleys and the quince’s are from Quince Tree Cottage. The crumble has been made with freshly milled organic rye grown locally too. 

Useful Links

Buy 63 year old sourdough starter - Hobbs House Bakery

Real Farming Conference book tickets - Heritage grain archaeobotanist John Letts

Dutchy Home Farm in Tetbury

Buy pizza oven made in Stroud - Chadwick

Info - Long Table micro-bakery Kenya

Lush place to stay - Lizzie Macintosh Cornwall - Red Skies, near carrots

Buy Organic meat and more - Stream Farm in Devon

Buy organic British split fava beans from Hodmedods

Free online lectures - Do Lectures [frozen milk from the recent event] 

All things fermentation - Dearbhla Reynolds, Cultured Club

Meals coming up

Evening Saturday 13th October - FULLY BOOKED

Evening Saturday 24th November - Book now email >

Dinner at The Long Table 18th August 2018

Fancy a delicious and memorable meal out?

We will build a simple menu starting with abundant local seasonal and surplus food that we can gather. 
There will be vegan options.
We will be cooking it with local youngsters keen to learn more about the world of food, drink and hospitality. 

Book by emailing us [click on the envelop icon at the bottom of this page]. Your spaces will only be confirmed when we have received a booking email from you. We will send out confirmation once we have received this. 

The meal will be pay-as-you-feel, so please bring cash so you can pay what you think it is worth. 
Our cash bar will be serving some wonderful natural wine, so make a night of it and plan how you'll get home first. 

Tables, chairs and the space is being supplied by the Stroud District Furniture Bank, if you love it, you can buy it to take it home with you. 

Tom Herbert
A Bishop, a bad lad baking things better and a salty dog with new tricks.

Seeing four youngsters devouring sourdough flatbreads, sitting in the sunshine in front of Gloucester Cathedral was the job satisfaction Jack and I needed after a long day of baking. The sourdough flatbreads were piled high with a bean stew made from beans that had been given to us, and topped with a crunchy slaw made from price slashed cabbages and herbs, all finished off with a dollop of sour cream, a splattering of hot sauce, and little strips of crispy bacon. Their plates were cleaned up. The comments were encouraging. And Jack and I couldn't have been happier. An early taste of job satisfaction for a budding baker like Jack and a much welcomed one for a salty ol’ dog like me.

Last Saturday Gloucester Cathedral hosted a football tournament for local youngsters to tie in with the launch of the Football World Cup. Basically, five a-side teams from all over the county knocking a ball about in a large cage inside the cathedral. As a backdrop, an enormous screen live streaming the TV coverage of the football. Ben Preece-Smith, the Diocesan Secretary, came to the launch of The Long Table and invited us to offer food for this event, and here we were.

Jack had been part of the original Long Table team, he came to us from Gloucester Constabulary and told me of his hopes to be a chef. We started our baking day together in my kitchen, milling several kilos of organic Paragon spring wheat, before kneading the dough by hand in batches and resting it for 4-6 hours. The dough was divided into 150g pieces and shaped into round balls. These were then pinned out with a rolling pin into 7” flatbread and baked for 3 minutes at 250ºC in a Chadwick Oven. I didn’t get done until 3am, but loved every moment. To share what I love of baking with someone keen to learn is a privilege. That we are building something new together adds an excitement. Jack spotted that I added the sea salt to a dough already seasoned. I was able to scrape it off the top into the correct autolysing dough, proving again that baking is best as a team effort.

This Football Tournament at Gloucester Cathedral clashed with a sourdough teaching commitment I had. I would have said no, but for Jack, Charlotte and Will’s  eager enthusiasm, and my hunger to learn more about how the The Long Table team might establish the principle of self-management.

For this event, the first for The Long Table outside of the Brimscombe hub, by saying yes, I was compelled to get the ingredients for a successful event as right as I could beforehand, and then without any hope of micromanaging, I let go of control and created a space for the emerging team to make their own. And make it their own they certainly did. In the space opened up, the team communicated with each other very well, Gen was able to leave early, judging as they did that once the Long Table and the field kitchen was set up, they had enough people power to make it work. Customers responded really well, and my anxiousness about kids eating wholemeal sourdough flatbreads was laid to rest. At one point, in mid-flow the whole tent blew over knocking over the storage shelf and everything on it, the team, didn't panic, picked themselves and our stuff up and carried on. Quite a blow, but the kind of act-of-God drama that builds team. The highlight for me was seeing Jack bellowing “roll-up, roll-up, only three left” and quite literally selling as we dismantled the tent around him. With a backdrop like the ancient and majestic Cathedral, The Long Tables first outing in the field was a beauty. I learnt more about going it *Teal as a way of doing business and I’m hungrier now than ever, the Diocese learnt more about our work paving the way for more, many people got fed healthy and delicious food, food was saved from being thrown away, Jack got a taste of the bakers life and showed us what a passionate salesman he can be, we all got a taste of how good it feels to be part of a team hungry for a better future.

Feeding change - one bite at a time.

Tom Herbert


Thank you's + interesting/useful links

Jack - Baker in training, chef in the making

Will Mansell - Award winning social enterprise incubator

Charlotte - For being up for it and getting stuck in

Genevieve Frosch - For being awesome, encouraging, safe hands

Anna Herbert - clarity, wisdom, action, generosity, love

Sue Beattie - for the dented tins of beans

David Wilson - Head farmer at Duchy Home Farm

Wolfgang Mock - Mock Mill

Bishop Rachel - Gloucester Diocese

Dan Chadwick - Chadwick Oven

*Frederic Laloux - Reinventing Organisations - Teal


Tom Herbert