An emotional Hugh dropped by River Cottage HQ at Park Farm for the first time to see for himself the damage caused by the barn fire on February 7.
Hugh has been away for the majority of the month on a long distance filming trip in which he had little or no access to the news from Devon.
He witnessed the damage for the first time before seeing for himself the amazing progress the team have made in returning normal life back to River Cottage.
Then he hosted a party to say 'thank you' to the firemen, suppliers and local people who helped River Cottage get back up and running in next to no time.
"It's like being in a magical world"
The first guests to our new space have been impressed. Here's what they had to say about their visit to River Cottage HQ in recent days:
I didn’t know what to expect. I came in yesterday and I was speechless, absolutely speechless. The facilities are amazing, and as the first ones to use it, it’ll be in my memory for ever. I thought Hugh was a workman when he walked past with a high-vis jacket on! Richard Price, South Wales (Four Days at Park Farm).
The facilities are amazing - far more sophisticated then I was expecting. It's great everything is up and running in time for our course. I’ve been cooking all my life and I still managed to learn new things which was absolutely brilliant. Alison Jackson, Wotton-under-Edge Gloucestershire (Four Days at Park Farm).
What I experienced yesterday was incredible. I was taken aback by the friendliness of the people, and the food is simply gorgeous. The space is massive and serves its purpose perfectly. It's modern crammed with brand-spanking-new equipment. Sivanesan Ramamoorthy, Belfast (Four Days at Park Farm).
The team has worked furiously hard to get an amazing teaching facility up and running within an astonishingly short time. Gill Meller and Steve Lamb have taught us beautifully, and Hugh spoke with such grace last night. I am a lucky girl to be having such a lovely time. Sonja Miller, via Facebook (Four Days at Park Farm).
I am also on the course with Sonja and have had the most amazing day. I cannot stop smiling. Thank you Steve and Gill for your patience and to all the staff for your hospitality, kindness and genuine friendliness. You would not have believed it was the first day at the new space! Special thanks must go to Sean, the washing up fairy, who washed up all day with a smile on his face! Becky Mills, via Facebook (Four Days at Park Farm).
The first day in the new space was incredible. Beautiful facilities. Hugh and his team's passion is infectious - it rubs off on you. It's like being magical world. Gerald Swift, Bristol (Four Days at Park Farm).
Given this was the first post-fire event, the yurt and marquee were very welcoming. James Mortimer (Friday Night at River Cottage).
Given the fire I was amazed you were up and running so quickly. The facility was great. Justin Hearn (Saturday Night at River Cottage).
This was our 2nd visit to HQ, already looking forward to planning the third! Roger Shotliff (Friday Night at River Cottage).
As soon as I can scrounge another weekend away from work, I'll be making that 500-mile round trip! I loved the barn and have eaten there a couple of times, but the occasion was STILL an occasion. Iain Fazackerley (Saturday Night at River Cottage).
Amazing turn-around. Fantastic venue! Jenny Rushbrooke (Saturday Night at River Cottage).
Let's face facts it's not cheap, but the quality, quantity and brilliant service made it worth every penny. Dave Newman (Saturday Night at River Cottage).