‘Education doesn’t stop after college’

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd September 2019

The Koppert Cress Cressperience aims to ‘invest in students’ and educate chefs of all levels on the nutritional benefits of its products. They hope that by showing chefs where the products they offer are produced and the versatility of them, they can break down the misconception that microgreens are just a garnish.

The Staff Canteen joined the trip to Holland with 30 chefs, students and lecturers, to see what makes Koppert Cress one of the world’s leading horticulturalists and to find out why educating the next generation of chefs on the living ingredients they produce is so important.

Koppert Cress Academies

Koppert Cress Academies are launching within a number colleges in the UK after an observation of a complete knowledge gap prompted Paul to set about writing an educational module explaining in great depth the difference between Micro Greens and Cress.

He said: “This document will achieve a combination of theory and practical understanding and food pairing combinations and will perfectly complement the guest chefs and industry experts teaching in the four colleges.”

For more information on the Koppert Cress range, ‘Cressperience’ dates or how to order this fantastic produce, please email [email protected].

“Koppert Cress’ foundation is education,” explained Paul Da Costa Greaves, Koppert Cress Countries Manager for the UK, Middle East and Asia. “We hope that everyone attending the Cressprience will be inspired and learn something new.”

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The Markthal, Rotterdam

The two-day trip to its headquarters in Rotterdam allows the chefs to see wherethe products are grown, it also combines a mixture of chef demos, tours of the local market and educational lectures. It is designed to give chefs a better understanding of the health benefits of these living ingredients, how to pair them with food, how to extract the most flavour from them and ultimately push their food boundaries when it comes to new flavours and textures.

Farnborough College Chef Lecturer, Sean Patterson, said: “It’s vastly important for students to come and learn about the product and where it comes from but it’s equally important for lecturer to come so they can take that knowledge back to college and the students who have not been able to attend.

“Seeing the products being used has taught me a vast amount of new ways to work with it. The students were buzzing and coming up with their own ideas of how they could use the cresses and the methods they had just been shown.”

Microgreens are typically 2-4 weeks old from germination to harvest. The group had the opportunity to see each stage of this process and they were also able to take a look inside the building which houses the speciality products.

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Inside one of the Koppert Cress growing facilities

Gabriella Buchholz is a level 3 cooking and hospitality student at Farnborough College, she said: “I think it is very important for chefs like myself to see how the cress is grown, boxed and how it travels – you should go and see how your ingredients are grown and how fresh they are. I think it’s very inspiring, and I found it interesting to see cress not just used as a decoration. It can be used as a flavour within your dish, or sauce or syrup.

“It’s been a great experience.”

Although it’s important to see where the product is grown, the young chefs and their lecturers were equally excited by chef Franck Pontais’ demonstration of ways to use a variety of the Koppert Cress ingredients – from Yka leaf syrup to injecting Majii leaves with vodka.

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The Koppert Cress team showcased dishes which use their product

“It has opened my mind to a whole new range of ideas of how to use these products correctly,” said Robert Maw, sous chef at The Newbridge On Usk. “Rather than just dumping them on a dish to make them look pretty.”

Koppert Cress have been growing products for over 30 years and they produce 3 million plants a week. The 30 different varieties of ‘cress’ are all selected for concentrated flavour when they are just beginning to grow.

“It has opened my mind to a whole new range of ideas of how to use these products correctly.”

These ‘cress’ or microgreens are full of health giving anti-oxidants, to put it in to perspective a 100g portion of red cabbage microgreens contains 147 milligrams of vitamin C compared to an equal sized portion of mature cabbage which only contained 57 milligrams.

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The Koppert Cress experimental garden 

Aaron Lee, chef and owner of South Manny Falvaz said: “The most interesting thing for me was the nutritional value of the Koppert Cress products. It was great to see how diverse they are, Koppert have gone the extra step and dehydrated them, made oils from them and syrups – I’ll definitely be taking this information back with me and it’ll help me develop my winter menu.

“I’ve been inspired to explore more vegetarian options and I’ll be using the microgreens as a main feature of a dish going forward. A perfect example was the textures of tahoon, the way they used one product to create three different elements on the dish for me was mind blowing.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd September 2019

‘Education doesn’t stop after college’