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A feast of a talk


The special Guest speaker at our AGM meeting on 15 May was our local culinary hero, Galton Blackiston, the owner and chef patron of the Michelin starred country house hotel and restaurant, Morston Hall  - and the owner of the marvellous fishn’chippy at Number 1 Cromer.

Galton generously brought with him several of his own recipe custard tarts – large enough for a portion for everyone present. It was delicious. So was his talk about his career and the development of Morston Hall.

Norfolk born and bred, he has loved North Norfolk his whole life. After leaving school he tried his hand at cricket, reaching the second eleven of Kent County team. Playing with some great names, he realised that he would not reach the very top in the game. So he decided to become a chef, training with the famous John Tovey at Miller Howe in the Lake District.

Returning to North Norfolk 32 years ago, and prompted by his mum and dad, he purchased Morston Hall where he gradually built a formidable reputation, recognised by his Michelin Star in 1999. He told us candidly of the ups and downs of running Morston Hall, of the challenges presented first by covid and latterly by the economic recession, and some of his experiences with -shall we say – extra-demanding customers.

After he starred in the Great British Menu in 2000, the accolades and customers kept coming. His tv appearances on shows such as James Martin’s Saturday Morning help sustain his reputation. He has trained many now renowned chefs in the Morston Hall kitchen. He has loved every moment in the kitchen, especially cooking breakfast, he said – and his scrambled eggs are something extra special!

Galston let us guess how much fish is cooked at Number One Cromer. No-one got it right. Can you believe 40 tons of cod, 20 tons of haddock and 10 tons of plaice each year? And far more potatoes than you could possibly imagine.

Galton delights in the quality of the local food produce in North Norfolk, although he prefers sheep from places where they “have run up and down some hills”. He warned us sternly never to order “Samphire” with our local caught fish – that’s for Londoners; Norfolk folk order “sampher”!

Galton ended his talk by offering to return to u3a nearer Christmas for a cookery demonstration. You will need to book early for that one! He also reassured us that he has no intention of leaving Morston Hall (so if you were concerned that it was up for sale, don’t be).

And finally don’t forget that u3a is hosting Afternoon Tea at Morston Hall on 18th June. You will need to book on line for that special occasion – see our events page on the website.

David Riddle