Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Modern Salad Grower

This is part 2 of our series: A Trip South West.

Matt from The Cornwall Project is setting up links between London chefs and the very best of Cornwall’s producers. That’s how we met Sean, the Modern Salad Grower

Keveral farm is a community growing project, which operates alongside others in the area. Sean is a salad grower there.

We spent hours wandering around the farms, with Sean constantly passing us back little clippings of his incredible micro-herbs, salads, flowers. There was so much variety in these little leaves and petals; some explosive, some subtle, citrus flowers and peppery salads.

Even between farms he’d spot something growing in the hedgerow that he wanted us to get a flavour of.

The last site Sean took us to was a field full of kale and white & purple sprouting broccoli – on top of a rolling hill, with a beautiful view of the ocean. Sean points out his home on a similar hill in the distance. Not a bad place to work and live! We're really looking forward to using Sean's amazing produce in our menu, and going back to visit him again soon.

Monday, 20 April 2015

A Trip South West: Poco + The Bristol Pound

A few weeks ago, Good Egg founder Joel and chef Alex went on a little trip down to the South West to meet some of our new suppliers, and stop in at places we'd be meaning to visit on the way. This is their diary.

Joel and I packed up the old VW Camper with a couple of changes of clothes, two friends, and Baxter the dog.

All set for the first Good Egg supplier trip of the spring. With 2 days full of appointments across the South West, we decided to get a head start, set off in the evening and spend the first night in Bristol.  First stop Poco, The Observer’s ethical restaurant of the Year 2014. They hold a 3 star Sustainable Restaurant Award, something we'd love to work towards. One of the Poco founders, Jen, has already told us all about the great work the SRA do and how Poco are implementing sustainable ideas into every part of their work. We were intrigued to see how a 3 star restaurant of this standard operated – and the menu looked great. The old VW Camper made it down to Bristol in good time and we hit Poco right in the middle of dinner service.

 The place was buzzing. We took Jen’s recommendation on what to order from the seasonal menu, drawn out on large black boards at the far end of the restaurant. Everything was delicious - my highlight was the deep fried mussels and the kimchi. Their April menu is now up online and they’ve been substituted for deep fried Oysters (which sound even better). At the end of the night we noticed a chef weighing the waste from the evening’s service on a fishhook. There was practically nothing in the bag. Poco was impressive on every level. Almost all of their waste is recycled, composted or reused somehow. I can't wait for the day we can string up a waste bag that small after such a busy service. An old friend joined us for dinner – Bristolian Michael Loydd-Jones. He’s part of the team that set up the Bristol Pound, a local currency encouraging local trade. Mikey is a great source of knowledge when it comes to sustainable economics. He gave me a copy of Felicity Lawrence’s book ‘Not on the Label’ which is all about where food comes from and production methods – if that's your thing, I’d really recommend it. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Magic Breakfast

sweetie eggs.jpg

For a while now, we've been a partner to the lovely Magic Breakfast. They're a charity and they work to get nutritious breakfasts served up to kids in schools where more than 35% are on free meals. 1 in 4 of these guys are going into school hungry - or having eaten something like sweeties - which as you can imagine is a hard way to start a working day. 

We do workshops, cook alongs for children and parents - just trying to get everyone thinking about what a healthy breakfast might be, and how to make one cheaply and easily. A few weeks ago we did an assembly with the juniors of Mandeville School in E5. We had chat about what their favourite celebs have for breakfast (who knew Barack Obama was a muesli man?) followed by a cook-off style Omelette Challenge, between teachers, which the kids loved.

As well as this we're trying out coffee mornings with parents - our last we cooked up a Shakshuka demo, for fun, and got everyone to share ideas (and educate us!) about recipes that are affordable, but also that children will actually be keen to eat. 

So far we've worked with Mandeville and Princess May School - with plans to visit other schools in Stoke Newington and Hackney very soon.

It's definitely a learning process for us too as we work out what gets kids most involved. The team at social enterprise Year Here are helping us come up with an impact plan - a strategy to help us offer long term support and visits to quite a few schools. We'll keep you updated!