Brakes’ latest food event was held in conjunction with Love British Food, as part of the celebrations for British Food Fortnight 2018 (22nd September – 7th October).
A breakfast of bacon baps made with Red Tractor British rindless back bacon was followed by a short introduction from Oli Blanc, an ambassador for Love British Food, the organisation behind British Food Fortnight. Love British Food is now firmly established as the biggest national celebration of British food and has proved to be an important influencer in the retail, catering, education and volunteer sectors, playing a pivotal role in establishing a more robust market for Britain’s food.
Guests, including customers and the media, were then treated to a range of British classics freshly prepared by Michelin starred chef Mark Sargeant and former Masterchef: The Professionals champion, Gary Maclean, using a selection of British ingredients available from Brakes.
So why is British provenance so important to today’s consumers? “Increasingly, we don’t know where our products are coming from,” says Brakes Brand Manager, Laura Stockley. “This is creating a culture of distrust and as a consequence we’re seeing consumers opting for locally sourced produce more than ever before.
“According to data from Love British Food 56% of Brits are looking for locally sourced ingredients on a menu and 74% claim they would like more foods made in their local region or close by. And, although Brits are dining out less frequently, we know that when they do they’re willing to spend more. This, coupled with the fact that they’re looking for provenance, represents a good opportunity for premiumisation. Furthermore, the most important categories to focus on in order to add this provenance, regardless of the sector or customer, are dairy, meat and fish,” concludes Stockley.
So, what about the chef’s perspective?
“As a chef and lecturer I know first-hand how important locally sourced food, with strong provenance, is to chefs and consumers,” says Gary. “The team at Brakes Scotland and Brakes have so much passion and enthusiasm for Scottish and British produce. It’s fantastic to see the work the company is doing to support Scottish suppliers, including collaborating with smaller suppliers, and I’m genuinely proud to have worked with the company for almost two years and to see the local lines flourish. I have always been a huge advocate of Scottish produce across the seasons, from shellfish to fresh berries, and I believe Scotland is the envy of Europe in terms of the quality of produce we have on our doorstep.”
“For me, micro herbs have really revolutionised the way that chefs garnish their food,” says Mark. “Back in the day it was batons of chives and sprigs of chervil that didn’t really taste of anything and would get caught in the back of your throat – it was really just putting food on the plate for the sake of aesthetics. The most important thing about anything you cook is that it has to be on the plate for a reason. These stunning micro herbs – basically really small powerfully flavoured garnishes – not only look amazing, but really add to the dish. My favourite is the micro coriander – once you’ve sprinkled a few leaves of this over a curry, or a lovely piece of fish, it not only looks beautiful it also brings the dish together as well as adding colour and extra flavour, which is the most important thing.”
The event also showcased a whole host of new products from a selection of Brakes’ suppliers of British food, drink and equipment.
Ham, egg, pineapple and chips
Mark says: “This unbelievably popular pub classic has been changed and distorted over the years, but when done properly, using fantastic ingredients, there’s nothing better to eat with a pint of bitter. Good quality ham, I prefer smoked, very fresh free range eggs, lovely crispy chips, and the addition of a slice of grilled pineapple for a blast from the past. Add a bit of English mustard and you’ve got a classic British dish.”
Toad in the Hole
Mark says: “Again, a classic British dish, although a pub favourite it can often be served up soggy with poor quality sausages. This is me having a bit of fun by serving everything inside a large Yorkshire pudding so the sausages can be browned all over and the Yorkshire pudding remains crispy. A twist on a classic which I think is an easier way to eat it. Toad out of the hole!”
Creamed broad beans with Woodall’s smoked pancetta on toasted sourdough
Mark: “Nothing says British summer more than the arrival of broad beans. It’s up to you whether you skin them or leave them in their pods, I like it either way. It’s a healthier, summery twist on beans on toast whilst the addition of the Woodall’s pancetta makes for a lovely salty, smoky undertone which cuts through the freshness of the broad beans – a delicious light lunch or starter on some chargrilled artisan sourdough.”
With a business built on quality, reliability, innovation and trust, Brakes UK has been serving chefs across the food industry for 60 years. Every product in our extensive range has been developed or chosen with chefs and their customers in mind, making sure we deliver quality and taste with every bite. We care about where our food comes from and how it’s been produced, which is why we offer complete traceability on all our products, from supplier to plate. We are proud to have one of the biggest ranges of responsibly sourced products in foodservice. From Red Tractor accredited meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables to MSC certified fish and seafood, our food production standards match the toughest requirements of the foodservice sector and meet the highest technical and food safety standards.