Sparsholt College has teamed up with Luke Matthews, award-winning Executive Head Chef from Chewton Glen, described by Condé Nast as ‘one of the world’s best hotels’, as part of their entry for this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Mighty Greens. Luke has been busy reinventing a watercress, Nasturtium officinale, classic which he will unveil to the VIPs and celebrities attending the show at ‘Press Day’ on Monday 22 May 2017.

Commenting on the opportunity to partner up with Sparsholt College for this year’s RHS Chelsea Show, Luke said: “It is great to support a local college which is just down the road from Chewton Glen and it has been a real pleasure to work with the students who have been really interested and happy to try everything. This is about working with an excellent local ingredient, watercress, and showing it in its best light to educate people to the taste and benefit of good food”.

Luke, who has made a number of appearances on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, was recently joined by the College’s RHS Chelsea team of Horticulture students when they attended an exclusive cookery lesson at Chewton Glen’s latest opening ‘The Kitchen’, a purpose built cookery school, bakery and informal restaurant, which was opened in association with celebrity chef James Martin.  During the demonstration students watched Luke at work as he prepared a number of recipes featuring the mightiest green of all, watercress.

‘The Kitchen’ is a beautiful purpose-built space which is surrounded by lawns, raised beds and a kitchen garden with a fabulous greenhouse as its centrepiece where herbs and vegetables are grown year round, all tended by the hotels team of gardeners headed up by former Sparsholt horticulture student, Darren Venables. While visiting Luke at The Kitchen, the young RHS Chelsea team also met up with Darren, now Chewton Glen’s Estate Manager, who proudly showed them around the herb and vegetable garden he planned and planted.

The College has also joined forces with salad brand Steve’s Leaves and the University of Southampton, where research on watercress and other leafy salad crops has been underway for the past decade. The Mighty Greens garden will showcase a range of edible plants used in salad mixtures, together with the development of watercress from traditional Victorian street snack to the cutting edge work of the University of Southampton in cancer prevention.

Sparsholt College Hampshire has a long history of Chelsea medal success achieving seven Gold medals, three Silver-gilt medals, five Silver medals and three Bronze medals since 1998.

Find out more our RHS Chelsea garden please go to our special Chelsea page at https://www.sparsholt.ac.uk/events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/ and for details on our full range of Horticulture courses please go to www.sparsholt.ac.uk/subject/horticulture/