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The Kitchens: Advent Doors 2018

Written by Eleanor Sanger, posted on Thursday, December 20, 2018

Step through this doorway and enter Christ Church's impressive 16th-century kitchens. For nearly 500 years talented chefs have been fuelling the college's staff and students from this very room, preparing delicious meals with ever more modern equipment in a space that still retains features from throughout half a millennium of history.

Christ Church Kitchen doorThe room that lies behind this door is one of the oldest parts of Christ Church. Along with the Hall, the kitchens were the first part of Cardinal Wolsey’s college to be completed – just in time for Christmas dinner in 1526!

The earliest kitchen door is thought to be one of the original doors, dating from 1525. We’re not sure how many Christmas dinners have been made here in the 493 years since then, but we’re willing to bet it must be quite a few… This year alone our brilliant kitchen staff will have made around 1000 Christmas dinners, so over the centuries that does add up somewhat.

When they were originally built the kitchens were reached via a covered passage from the ante-hall, and other than this the kitchens were completely detached from the rest of the buildings. The main room of the kitchen is pretty big (it’s going to have to be given how many sprouts need cooking), 40 feet square with three huge fireplaces. These days its full of state of the art equipment used to make a wide range of tasty dishes, but the continuing presence of the doors and the fireplaces, plus other features from the kitchen’s history, such as copper pans and tortoiseshells, mean that in some respects the past is still very much felt in this old corner of the college.