Top Chefs Take to the Stage to Create A Stunning Fresh Produce Feast at Oliver Kay Depot!
On Monday (17) February, Oliver Kay opened its Midlands depot doors to the great and the good from the Birmingham and Midlands chef scene. The Chefs’ Forum demo stage and Kamado Joe grills were set-up at the Wednesbury depot to celebrate seasonal, fresh produce in style.
Spring is many chefs’ favourite time of year with delicious potato and asparagus in plentiful supply.
Oliver Kay was established 25 years ago from a small warehouse in Bolton. From the centre of operations in the North West, Oliver Kay serve customers both locally and nationally through a series of strategically placed distribution hubs. The Wednesbury depot is one of these and today’s event was a fantastic opportunity for the chefs to see what goes on behind the scenes at the busy distribution facility.
Local potato growers, AB Produce, were invited to the event by Oliver Kay to present their fantastic potato varieties and pre-cut potato fondants to the chefs. Oliver Kay nurtures close relationships between its growers and customers and this was a great example of celebrations the farm to fork story.
Head Chef at the Edgbaston Boutique Hotel, Joshua Saunders joined Oliver Kay Development Chef, Dean Kinsey to create a range of delicious canapes, showcasing the growers’ produce. Dean’s remit is to help Oliver Kay’s customers plan tasty, imaginative and cost-effective menus, using local, seasonal produce.
Indian TV Chef and cookbook author, Garima Poddar cooked-up some potato-based street food delights including purple potato Cauli Kadhi and her grandma’s recipe of aloo – dahi. Garima is also a post graduate student in Hospitality Management at University College Birmingham and brought with her, four course mates to enjoy the day, gain valuable work experience and assist with the catering at Oliver Kay.
Other highlights of the day included a fascinating ‘Tasting Garden’ session with Dutch Microgreen aficionados Koppert Cress, where Paul Da Costa Greaves presented the myriad of species of micro greens, edible flowers and cresses and talked the chefs though flavour profiles and pairings. He also introduced Tom Everard-Fairburn, Head Pastry Chef at Thornbury Castle who recently visited Koppert Cress HQ in Rotterdam with forty other UK chefs. Tom told the audience how interesting he found the trip and how useful the menu development session was to him in exploring various flavour pairings in the Koppert development kitchen.
Walter Rose & Son finished-off the day with an expert beef butchery demonstration, showcasing finest Stokes Marsh Farm picanha (or rump top), rump and flat iron steaks. The Choice cuts were then expertly grilled on the Kamado Joe by grill master Dominic Eaton.
Delicious tender stem broccoli was also seared to perfection on the Kamado Joe and Dean Kinsley used AB Produce potatoes with Walter Rose Stokes Marsh Farm steak to create a delicious dish of beef and textures of potato with potato chips and potato foam, using baked potato skins as garnish (to minimise food waste) and Koppert Cress Cornabria blossom edible flowers.
All chefs worked brilliantly as a team together to showcase Oliver Kay and Walter Rose produce and discussed the importance of traceability from farm to fork. Also on the agenda was food waste management with the iUgis food waste digester and AB Produce talking about their anaerobic digester powering the whole farm and selling energy back to the national grid – The beef farm that Walter Rose works with operates a similar system, using farm waste to power the farm. Adande refrigeration also presented their award-winning sustainable double drawer unit. This all made for a very interesting and interactive demonstrations, championing minimal food waste and celebrating local produce.
Photography by www.tambernard.com