Top Local Chefs Celebrate Amazing Local Produce in Poultry Focus at Dart Fresh HQ

On Thursday 25th February, Dart Fresh HQ in Exeter played host to a series of socially-distanced, Covid-safe cookery demos to showcase the fabulous range of local poultry and fine ingredients.

Dart Fresh has always aimed to be a one-stop-shop for chefs; to be able to give them everything they need to make their lives easier with making just one order and therefore one delivery.

Second generation costermonger and Director John Pritchard was delighted to host a day of culinary excellence and really enjoyed working with the visiting chefs showcasing his produce. He said

“This is a great chance to showcase the journey of where we’ve come from as a fruit and veg company in 1957 working with the supermarkets to becoming and all-encompassing foodservice company and now introducing an online home delivery offer with the onset of the pandemic, which is proving really popular.”

This was the second of a series of culinary focus days to be held at the depot to showcase the vast range of meat, fish, fresh fruit and veg, fine foods and cooks’ ingredients available to top chefs and now, retail customers online.

Some of the produce used included Beechridge Farm Poultry, Truefoods fresh stock, Burren Balsamics apple infused white condiment, Foie Royale, Truffle Hunter truffle sea salt and the finest fresh seasonal vegetables from local growers across Devon.

The Chefs’ Forum demo stage played host to the demos using wonderful fresh produce and the visiting chefs enjoyed using some of the finest kitchen equipment available: Locher Induction hobs, Valentine Fryer from Cuisinequip, Adande Refrigerated draw units for mis-en-place and a Falcon convection oven, all  mounted on a custom-built stainless steel counter unit.  It is this mobile chef kitchen that has been the star of the show at many food festivals and corporate events and so it was great to put it to good use creating recipe films while The Chefs’ Forum is unable to do its usual shows and events – Let’s hope these can resume once restrictions are lifted?!

Charlotte Vincent, Head Chef of The Five Bells (Clyst Hydon), Slawomir Drozdzalski Executive Chef of Puffing Billy (Exton) & Blue Ball and Werner Hartholt, Development Chef at Butlins Minehead, part of the Bourne Leisure Group were invited down to the depot in Marsh Barton (Exeter) to cook their signature dishes on a purpose-built stage.

Charlotte Vincent was first up on The Chefs’ Forum demo stage (sadly without an audience due to current restrictions) to create a film of her signature recipe:

Beechridge Farm free range duck breast with Foie Royale (the ethical alternative to foie gras), fresh blackberries, preserved blackberry gel, seasonal greens and Charlotte’s special veal stock, five spice and recurrent reduction.

Charlotte said

“It was great to visit Dart Fresh as one of my favourite suppliers.  John Pritchard is always so supportive of everything I do and it is great to see where all the magic happens in supplying me with all I need for ‘The Five Bells At Home’. My home meal kits prepared at The Five Bells have proved a real hit with our customers throughout both lockdowns. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I cook a three-course menu that customers collect in a box from The Five Bells and finish at home with my detailed instructions.”

Next up was Slaw and his partner Anne-Marie Rice joined forces to cook a duo of dishes on the demo stage; Slaw, a chef recipe and Anne-Marie a home-cooked family dish for the home delivery customers to garner inspiration.

Slaw cooked a Cornish Smoked sea salt potato croquette with Beechridge free range duck breast, pak choi and sweet potato purée.  Slaw expertly blow-torched the duck skin to achieve a crispy finish which went so well with the succulent breast meat.

He said

I think this is some of the best duck breast I have ever eaten and to know its from a farm just a few miles down the road is fantastic news! I have worked all around the world and pride myself on preparing fine food with global influence.  It was great to play with excellent ingredients at Dart Fresh today and great that Anne-Marie could join in and have some fun cooking which made a change from her profession as a sports therapist!”

Anne-Marie’s dish was comparatively simple to create, but extremely flavoursome. It was Grenadine chicken with rice and kidney beans – A wholesome and hearty dish using local free range Beechridge Farm chicken to feed a family at home.  Dart fresh have a thriving home delivery business and this recipe will be used to create a recipe card for the home cook.

Werner then rounded-up a day of brilliant cookery demos with his favourite dish of Lontong Ayam Seku, an Indonesian speciality of compressed sticky rice, Beechridge Farm chicken cooked in coconut sauce with a tomato sambal and stir-fried vegetables.

He was delighted to have been invited to Dart Fresh HQ to see the extensive range of local produce on offer, he said

“It was great to be able to cook with such high quality locally-sourced chicken, this dish is absolutely delicious and was made even better with the excellent ingredients provided.  It is always fantastic to meet local suppliers and see their operations when sourcing ingredients for our busy kitchens. In normal peak times we do over ten thousand meals per day at Butlins in Minehead, so it was a brilliant opportunity to have a socially-distanced tour of the depot and meet the team behind Dart Fresh in advance of my return to work next week.”

Next month’s culinary focus day will see an emphasis on butchery showcasing top quality Dartmoor beef and lamb and the line-up of top local chefs will be announced shortly!

For more information on Dart Fresh, ingredients for chefs and the new online home delivery service, visit