From Plot To Plate,Top Chefs Celebrate Cornish Asparagus!

Top Cornish chefs and students from Cornwall College gathered at Tregassow Manor Farm, St Erme, Truro for a Celebration of the versatility of Cornish asparagus. James Mason, Head Chef at No.1 Rock Road led the students in showcasing Tregassow’s splendid spears in delicious canapés.

John and Jennie KeelerThe British Asparagus season is now in full swing; it started at the end of April and will run until June.  Cornish chefs adore the splendid spears cultivated by elite producers of asparagus in Cornwall, John and Jennie Keeler of Tregassow Manor Farm.  It is these expert growers with a farming story spanning 55 years who are behind the delicious spears chefs come to expect to create wonderful seasonal dishes on their Spring menus.

James Mason, Head Chef at No1 Rock RoadThe Chefs’ Forum works very closely with and is sponsored by vegetable wholesalers Total Produce throughout the South West and Wales. This top quality wholesaler is all for promoting to top Cornish chefs, the fantastic growers who supply them with finest quality local fruit and vegetables – This event was staged in collaboration with Total Produce to do just that.  Top chefs demand that the finest Class 1 fine spears be delivered to their kitchens.  In visiting Tregassow Manor Farm, the chefs learned that growing Cornish Asparagus is a labour of love and that each spear is harvested by hand when it reaches just the right height.

Grower John Keeler stated:

“A couple of late frosts have meant that the crop got off to a delayed start, however our not too wet, not too dry weather means that they have yielded an absolutely fantastic crop!”

Canapes prepared by Cornwall College StudentsCornwall College Students preparing canapesStudents from Cornwall College joined South West Chef of the Year winner James Mason of No1 Rock Road to create delicious canapés, celebrating the versatility of asparagus:

Clair Dawe-Woodings, Level 3 Student at Cornwall CollegeThe college champions experiential learning, so a day on Tregassow Manor Farm learning about the provenance of Cornish asparagus was just the ticket.  The students then took part in a competition to design and create an asparagus canapé of their own from the same bag of mystery ingredients.  Clair Dawe-Woodings (20) impressed James Mason with her asparagus canapé. The Academy Nathan Outlaw student won a day in the  kitchen with James and an ‘all expenses paid trip’ to Koppert Cress in Rotterdam, Holland!

Jamese Mason's Demo DishThe plot to plate story continued with James Mason performing a cookery demonstration to his peers of Sea Bass, Pea, Broad Bean, Asparagus and saffron which was delicious!

Asapargus SpearJohn Keeler giving a tour of the asparagus fieldsThe day ended with the chefs being taken on a talk and tour of the farm by John Keeler where he expertly explained the growing, harvesting, classification and distribution processes that lead to Tregassow asparagus arriving in professional kitchens and farmers markets across Cornwall and beyond. The day was a great learning experience for all involved.

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