Back in the summer, our Executive Head Chef Jamian Lewis took his chef team for a day out of the busy kitchens of our London training and conference venues to meet a special group of VIPs – by which, of course, we mean Very Important Pigs.
CCT Venues Chefs (left to right): Peycho Zlatev, Jamian Lewis, Warren Darkes, Shane Fowler
The pigs in question live at Dingley Dell Farm in Suffolk, which is where we buy pork from for the catering in our London event venues.
“We’ve grown to love Dingley Dell after being introduced to them by our Butcher, James Elliot from Direct Meats” explains Jamian. “Traceability is very important to us, and Direct Meats enables us to know exactly where our meat comes from, right down to the individual farm - it’s part of the Red Tractor scheme after all.”
“When we first tried the pork from Dingley Dell we were blown away by its fantastic taste and quality – it really is the most flavoursome we’ve ever tried, coming from pigs who are a mix of two breeds chosen especially for the job.”
Pigs, pigs, everywhere …
Some of our chefs were worried about the day turning out to be a rather dirty, smelly experience (after all, rural Suffolk feels a long way from the kitchens of our London training venues). But they were struck by the sight of large green fields and the smell of fresh country air.
“It was great to see that the pigs live outside in a large open space, with plenty of room to roam and socialise, huts to shelter in and fresh water pools to do what little pigs love most – wallow in the mud” Jamian explained.
“We were greeted on arrival by the brothers who own and run the farm, Paul and Mark Hayward. It’s great to finally get to meet them and put faces behind the produce.”
Back to nature
Jamian and his team were given a tour of the 400-acre farm and it turned out Paul and Mark care as much about protecting the environment as they do about the welfare of their pigs.
They explained how they create wildlife corridors by keeping a two-metre space around the fields for wild flowers to grow. These attract insects, as well as birds and small mammals, leading to a more natural habitat that’s friendly to our incredibly important and endangered bees.
A taste of the good life
Our chefs learned a lot and were also treated to a barbeque of sausages and burgers made from meat from the farm. They left even more assured about the quality of our pork and the quality of life the pigs enjoy.
“The team picked up lots of ideas about what to do with great cuts of pork – such as pork rib-eye – the same cut as rib-eye beef steak, which they’ve been experimenting with pan-frying and roasting.”
So, next time you’re at one of our Canary Wharf conference venues or you hire a meeting rooms in Central London, if you see pork on the menu you can rest assured it’s from a top quality supplier.
You might get to sample some new creative cooking inspired by their day at Dingley Dell.