I always liked eating but I only really discovered the joy of great food when I met our founders – Wendy, David and Ian sixteen years ago. Before that cooking was a bit of a mystery to me and I wasn’t very adventurous either in what I cooked or ate when I went out. Wendy encouraged me to try different exotic things (I say ‘try’ but really WENDY MADE ME!) David James would come over to my house when my children were little, armed with carrier bags and then proceed to create something totally delicious. He showed me different techniques and inspired me to have go and try making things for myself. I am a naturally inquisitive person, so David James has enjoyed sharing his knowledge with me, it usually starts with “Did you know…?”.
Ian’s role has been to educate me about appreciating good wines and learning about food pairings. His insights inspired me to visit South Africa and sample incredible wines and food.
Local and seasonal
Inspired by this trio and now in addition all the other amazing chefs at bartlett mitchell including Pete, Darren and Mark. You will find me most weekends at the farmer’s market buying local cheeses, bread, juices, vegetables and fruits. I know what’s in season and when is the best time to eat it and that’s what I cook with. When I go abroad I try everything (as long as it doesn’t have a face) and read up about the best places to go before I leave.
An appetite for learning
Over the last sixteen years I have learned a broad range of cooking skills. I am always asking the chefs for tips to improve my skills and they are only too willing to share. My leisure time is spent practicing recipes, reading food magazines and eating. I have a serious cookery book addiction that’s goes into cold turkey if it is not added to at least twice a month! I have been a vegetarian for 33 years but have learned that no one was ever convinced with words – instead my approach is to cook creative, flavoursome and nutritious food.
Culture influences behaviour
The reason I am sharing my experiences is because they prove I work in a foodie culture. It’s the foundation stones we were built on, everyone at bartlett mitchell talks about food; what they have made, and where they have been. Our kitchen at Head Office, where all the Accounts, HR, Admin, H&S, Marketing and Sales teams are based always has a stash of interesting goodies to eat that have been brought back from far flung places. These non chef teams even have a fiercely contested cake making competition judged by David James. The whole company goes to the Taste of London food festival – not just the chefs. If we were a stick of rock we would have the word foodies running through us.
I looked up the definition of a foodie in the urban dictionary. “A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation”.
I wasn’t a foodie in 2000, yet over a period of years I believe I have become one – the culture at bartlett mitchell has influenced my behaviour and infused how I think. It also creates a legacy- all my children enjoy cooking and are confident to buy ingredients and have a go. I have our founders to thank – Wendy, Ian and David.
These are some examples of my Autumn ‘makes’ – Pete Redman’s recipe for raw beetroot salad and David James’ recipe for Plum jam.
Have a delicious weekend.