Eight of our incredible chefs recently visited the Lake District for a foodie experience they would never forget. Starting off at Michelin starred restaurant Angel at Hetton. Chef Michael Wignall, served an incredible 10 course tasting menu. This was followed by visiting numerous farms within the Lake District Farmer’s cooperative. Seeing how forward-thinking the cooperative is, in terms of sustainability and product development.
Owen Stanford, winner of our first BM Family award at this year’s BM foodies, has written about the 3-day trip.
The visit to the Lake District was a really worthwhile trip for the chefs to make. Apart from the chance to spend time with like-minded people, away from the stresses of a kitchen, it was inspirational to see the work and commitment in the farms, restaurant, depot and slaughterhouse.
I have already spoken to several of my colleagues about the process and care that has gone into the meat process. We can sometimes think this is a simple job, when we order meat. We don’t necessarily have any real knowledge of how it got there and where it comes from. I found it was highly beneficial to gain an understanding of this, and now I am keen to spread the word.
Lake District Farmers are quite revolutionary in their quality above quantity approach. Having lived on a farm for 5 years in Northumberland, I know first-hand how ‘blinkered’ it is possible for farmers to become, and I include myself in that category. It can be through no fault of their own, my observation is that it’s very much a generational thing.
The care for the animal at the slaughterhouse. Overnight accommodation for them, in farm surroundings, makes them calm and relaxed, which is good for the animal and the quality of meat they produce.
I was so impressed by the farmer’s forward thinking. Examples included: planting 15,000 trees, rejuvenation of peat land, use of waste products (recycled paper for cattle bedding) and wanting to achieve a carbon neutral business.
The care the Lake District Farmers depot takes regarding the product they despatch. They are so passionate and rightly proud of what they produce.
Finally, the process at the Angel at Hetton. Their chef’s process to produce what looks like a simple dish, was involved and amazing. I liked their approach and thought process, ‘try and try again until it’s just right!’ It was a timely reminder that for chefs, taste is key! We all need to remember why we do what we do, especially after the last few years. With challenges on the horizon for foodservice, we will still deliver on our FOODIES promise.
Thank you, Pete Redman and BM, for taking us to the Lake District. I was inspired. I hope my blog demonstrates the importance of taking part in these visits and the benefits for my chef colleagues.