A beautiful summer’s evening; a community- orientated, independent venue; local food and drink producers; a bar, BBQ and curry. This was the inaugural Food and Drink Networking Club, hosted by Thomson Snell & Passmore alongside fellow founders, Matthew Sankey of Sankey’s fish restaurants and fishmongers, Caroline Kings of blog, Eat Around Tonbridge & Sam Goode from Tonbridge Old Fire Station, our venue.
We were thrilled at the diversity and numbers of attendees for our first networking event in this sector: there was great representation from the food and drink industry including Kent restauranteurs, café owners, artisan producers and breweries who networked alongside bloggers, photographers & journalists from the world of food and drink.
Susanna Rynehart, Thomson Snell & Passmore partner & brainchild of the evening, introduced the Food & Drink Networking Club by explaining the firm’s close ties with Tonbridge and this sector. The roots were planted for Thomson Snell & Passmore, as it is now, back in the 1500s by Tonbridge church curator, Nicholas Hooper, when the town was surrounded by fields, locals working the earth and eating their own produce. Since that time, we have continued to look after farmers and individuals in the area; as Susanna said, “We have a fantastic agricultural and rural affairs team and our various departments act for farmers, producers and local food and drink businesses. What we are really good at is connecting people and that is the purpose of the food and drink networking club.”
Matthew, Sam & Caroline continued by endorsing the aims of the club: to create a supportive group of people working in the same industry; to encourage collaboration; to share knowledge about ideas and developments in the sector; and trade between members.
Matthew Sankey encouraged us all to support the local high street & independent businesses; to collaborate rather than see each other as competition. Matthew is looking forward to the opening of his fishmongers in Tonbridge High Street, expanding the Sankey’s franchise beyond Tunbridge Wells.
The Shipbourne distilled Greensand Ridge gin and tonics were flowing, the TOFS BBQ was busy with the generous Meat Cellar burgers while Tonbridge restaurant Gurkha Planet served delicious curry and rice. As networking events go, it was pretty good!
We plan to host networking club events on a seasonal basis. If you work in the food and drink industry and would be interested in attending the next event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting you and making connections.