Benenden School was delighted to welcome chef Marcus Wareing as guest judge at its first ever Great Benenden Bake-Off.
Twelve teams – each made up of a daughter and parent – battled it out in a suitably chintzy marquee to produce the best sponge cake in 90 minutes. Mr Wareing kindly volunteered to take responsibility for deciding which two teams were crowned the winners.
Mr Wareing, a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals, said: “It was really nice to be invited to come to do this today, it’s been great fun.
“It’s great to see the parent-daughter dynamic. Whatever they are like when they are together at home, it changes when you put them in a competition format. They take this competition very light-heartedly but deep down they get very competitive, which is nice.”
The fun competition was part of the Benenden Arts Festival – a weekend of drama, music, dance, art and food – which the School held for only the second time.
The festival opened with a performance by Cranbrook School’s chamber choir, and it reached its finale with a Gala Concert – featuring Hemsted Forest Youth Orchestra and Benenden School’s chamber choir and ensembles – followed by tea and coffee.
Other highlights of the three-day event included:
- A Jazz Night featuring the School’s Lime Ave Jazz Band
- A concert by up-and-coming pop band Into the Ark
- Ballet and modern dance shows
- Art installations in the woodland on the school’s site
- Theatrical productions by Benenden students including of The 9th Life of Louis Drax, The House of Bernarda Alba and their interpretation of classic 1980s film The Breakfast Club
- Wine tasting sessions (for adults)
- Masterclasses led by a butcher, fishmonger, florist and the school’s Head Chef
- Tours of the new developments on site as part of the school’s 10-year redevelopment plan, A Centenary Vision.
In total more than 800 people across the weekend enjoyed the array of performances and activities.
Benenden School Headmistress Samantha Price: “This has been a wonderful weekend in which we have celebrated all aspects of the arts here at Benenden – from music to dance and from life drawing to food. The Bake-Off was great fun and I can’t thank Marcus Wareing enough for giving up his time to come and try all those cakes for us!
“It was a fantastic opportunity for the girls to showcase some of their extraordinary work and to perform in front of friends, family and members of the community, whom we were proud to welcome to Benenden.
“Events such as this festival take an enormous amount of organising, and thank you to the many people involved in making the weekend happen. When you see how much the girls get out of it and how much it enriches their education, it is most definitely worth all the effort.”