Semi-finalist on The Great British Bake Off in 2017, Stacey Hart not only conquered the GBBO kitchen with her wondrous bakes, pies and pithiviers, but she has gone from strength to strength with the launch of Stacey Dee’s Kitchen. Mum-of-three from Hertfordshire, may have broken off her oven door on the show but in her home kitchen she breaks baking boundaries – whipping up sugar free bakes, loaves to wow and oodles of child-friendly cooks that aim to get the whole family in the kitchen. She may love nothing more than whipping up a traditional challah, bagels and honey cakes and fondly recalls days where she would make bread and butter pud with her grandma Phyllis, but Stacey is a mum on a mealtime mission – be sure to follow Stacey Dee’s Kitchen on YouTube for easy, accessible and scrumptious bakes too good to miss.
Feast on Stacey’s favourite family food haunts in Hertfordshire…
1. I’d like a table for…
I’d like a table for 2 somewhere quiet without children (for my husband and I) but failing that a table for 5 in a lovely pub with a big garden and a large play area! The Artichoke on the Green in Watford is very good for children as well as being great for adults.
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
I don’t really ‘do’ coffee as I’m usually running about with the kids or baking in my kitchen. My house is a great place for a coffee and cake and I often entertain!
3. Best brunch with kids?
Battlers Green Farm near where we live has a lovely restaurant and if we can get a table outside, it’s super in the summer for us and the kids – I love their poached eggs and smashed avocado. Also, Cafe in the Orchard Tea Rooms in Shenley Park is great as they have a delicious menu, healthy kids options and a park and toddler playground for the kids when they get tired of time at the table.
4. Children’s menu must-visits…
We love a good Chinese as there is something for everyone. London’s ubiquitous China Town is fab and a definite must-visit. Giraffe has an accessible menu for the family and they serve a great plain pasta and sauce for my little fussy eater and burgers for the big ones.
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
We often pop to Bills (branches in Watford and St Albans for Hertfordshire based mamas) for lunch with lots of mums as the menu is varied, the kids love it and oh and if we go for an early dinner, be sure to check out their cocktails!
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
Going strong since the last 70s, The Waffle House in St Albans is a great treat for the kids. Not only are there sweet and savoury options but their breakfast is pretty super too and have great veggie dishes such as the colossal veggie breakfast served atop a waffle! For a spot of exercise after, there is St Albans Park bang opposite to walk it all off.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
Ha, don’t take them! No, I’m joking (or am I?!). Always take colours and paper with you and if you have any fussy eaters like I have, check out the menu first.
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
My husband and I love doing date days out rather than nights. We go up to town, have a long lazy lunch and then have a mooch around the shops…just the best!
9. My earliest food memory…
Paella at Ayos beach in Nerja Spain with my family. Ayo, the owner of the restaurant, makes a gigantic pan of paella every day and 40yrs later he’s still there.
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you
I have some fab friends and we love a good day out together. I would only want to be with them (not the queen or a rock star!). Any of my mates around a table with a nice bottle of wine and a sunny day would suit me just fine…utter bliss.