Tim Lee of Wild Harvest UK with his second quarter seasonal update

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd April 2013

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

 In association with

      With Winter moving – albeit sluggishly – into Spring, The Staff Canteen caught up with Tim Lee, general manager of Wild Harvest UK, to find out what exciting new products will be the movers and shakers of the second quarter of 2013 as well as other news from the UK’s most trusted supplier of quality seasonal ingredients. So Tim, what products have done particularly well for you over the last quarter and what is coming in as we move from the end of quarter one into the beginning of quarter two? Well root vegetables were big, as you would expect, but we also saw significant growth in our core products especially in our game and venison which has been fantastic. The game season has finished but venison is still going strong. It’s a new supplier called South Downs Venison that we’ve recently aligned in the last six months and we’ve seen it go from strength to strength. It’s a fantastic product. We’ve seen a huge growth within the molecular gastronomy range but that’s constant and continuous. We’ve also seen some real, significant growth in our fresh pasta offerings as well as some of our core products. Sometimes it’s not so well known that we do a fantastic range of oils, vinegars, sugars, flours and butters, which are all essential products to any kitchen but are still of a very high, premium quality. In terms of what’s coming in now, blood oranges are beautiful; morels are coming into play as well. We’re starting to see Gariguette strawberries coming in soon and alfonso mangoes. Asparagus is obviously absolutely key to us, both the white English and the green English as well, and we’re seeing wild garlic and also monk’s beard coming in. And as we start to move towards the end of the second quarter and the summer? As we move into May and June the quarter becomes a really exciting season and a lot of the fantastic fruits like Charentais melons then the white peaches and flat peaches as well as the heirloom tomatoes, champagne rhubarb from the Wye valley, fresh peas, green radishes, rock samphire, sea beet and all the foraged products. The morels will come into full swing; girolles will be in season; St George’s mushrooms obviously in June. We’ll have the summer truffles and then continue with the apricots, the fresh cherries and all that fantastic, beautiful offering. The summer is a really, really exciting time for us and all the chefs out there. Do you have any new product lines coming in? Yes, we’re moving forward with a British charcuterie company which will be named soon. We’re also going to be strengthening our own brand range, our core offering but also developing our fast moving ranges. We’re looking at an English rapeseed truffle oil so there’s some exciting things coming out. You mentioned that you’ve had great success with your molecular gastronomy products; is that something which you put down to the influence of shows like Great British Menu? It’s great what Great British Menu and Masterchef and these programmes do but it’s not changing what we do because we’re already working with Michelin star chefs and aspiring Michelin chefs so it really just strengthens what we do. Our molecular gastronomy range is constantly growing and we have a fantastic relationship with our supplier, Sosa. We’re their leading distributor in the UK and they’re constantly at the height of innovation. We’re always looking to strengthen our range with them so there’s another 15 to 20 products to choose from within the Sosa range. With new products, particularly the molecular gastronomy ones that chefs might be unfamiliar with, do you have a resource for guiding chefs in how best to use them? We have live demos on key product ranges which are free to our customer base. We’ll get 40 or 50 chefs and we’ll do a complete overview from beginners to intermediate to advanced. We’ve also got our resident molecular gastronomy specialist here who will do bespoke, individual demonstrations for customers. With all our products we’ve got the videos that we’re doing with The Staff Canteen – recently with Andre Garrett and soon to be with Tom Aikens. We’ve also got new videos which we put up on YouTube where every week we’ll do a 30 second update on a product – what it does; where it comes from and so on. But apart from all that we have the knowledge of the whole Wild Harvest team which are 80% from Michelin star backgrounds. Chefs will contact us asking about the seasonal / new products we bring in who have never used them and are very interested in developing ideas and using new products. We’re there to advise them, so we’ll tell them how to use products, what will work with them, pairings of products, the origin, the versatility, how to prep them and so on. So if you’re a Michelin-starred chef looking for top products or an aspiring chef looking for ideas, we can deal with both elements.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd April 2013

Tim Lee of Wild Harvest UK with his second quarter seasonal update

IN ASSOCIATION WITH