Family food.pdf - Jenny Linford
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Family food.pdf - Jenny Linford

GREAT BRITISHFOODWINTER WONDERS50 sensational seasonalsuppers to warm youfrom head to toeBEST-EVER BAKESSimple & sublimethree-choc tartGOURMET TRAVELSFabulous foodie adventuresin Belfast, Conwy &St. AustellFAMILY FOODThe producers followingin their forefathers’footsteps£3.99NOV ‘12FREE INSIDE!Your brilliant guide toartisan British drinksGreat & SmallThe highest restaurant, the busiest market, the littlest breweryTOP CHEF SPECIAL: QUEEN OF CAKES RACHEL ALLEN ● SEAFOOD MASTER NATHAN OUTLAW ●SCOTTISH FOOD CHAMPION TOM KITCHIN ● COOKERY TEACHER ROSEMARY SHRAGER

Food ChampionsA Family AffairMany of our favourite foods owe their continued existence to family-run affairswhere recipes and skills have been passed down from generation to generation.Jenny Linford tracks down the producers following in the footsteps of their forefathersGreat British Food 47

Food ChampionsWith almost two-thirds of theUK’s small and mediumenterprises being familyowned,it’s not surprising thatmany of our best-loved foodproducers are family-runaffairs. A number of our traditional foodstuffs, whetherit’s potted shrimps or Maid of Honour cakes, owe theircontinued existence to the fact that the recipe formaking them in a particular way has been passed downfrom generation to generation within a family. This isespecially so in the world of farmhouse cheeses, wherethe task of preserving and maintaining a particular wayof making traditional cheeses has often beingmaintained within families such as the Kirkhams ofBeesley Farm, Preston noted for their crumbly-texturedLancashire cheese, or the Applebys, noted for theirCheshire cheese.Somerset dairy farmer Jamie Montgomery is famousfor his award-winning farmhouse Cheddar, made thetraditional way using unpasteurised milk from his ownherd of cows, animal rennet and using cloth binding. “Iremember Mum taking me along to cheesegradingwhen I was six or seven. It was Mum who kept thecheesemaking going; cheesemaking was verymatriarchal. Cheesemaking within our family goes backonly to 1911 when Grandpa bought the farm, but therewould have been cheesemaking on the farm beforethat, so it was something he kept going.”For Jamie, a key moment in maintaining this ruraltradition came after World War II. “Farmhousecheesemaking was banned during the Second WorldWar. For the majority of dairy farmers it was a reliefnot to have to figure out how to get rid of their milk. Atthe end of the war there was the option to carry onselling milk to the Milk Marketing Board, which formany dairy farmers was marvellous. My Grandpa,however, decided to start making cheese again and alsodecided not to get bigger after the war; very much aconscious decision on his part.“Only a few farmers were mad enough to startmaking cheese again. I think he liked the cycle. Heenjoyed the pigs and no point having pigs if you don’tfeed them whey, so you need cows and cheesemakingto get the whey to give the pigs and then you have thepig muck to go on the grassland to grow good grass.This was a cycle which had grown up in Somerset overmany, many years, which got broken as soon as cheesewas no longer being made on the farms.”Walkers Shortbread of Scotland remains in thehands of the Walker family. “The company was foundedin 1898 by the current generation’s grandfather JosephWalker,” explains Jim Walker, “who borrowed £50 toopen a tiny bakery in Aberdeenshire, then moved toAberlour in Speyside around 1910 where he was joinedby his two sons. During the two World Wars youcouldn’t get sugar, so they just made bread. AfterWorld War II they got back to making treats and, usinggrandfather’s recipe, developed a reputation formaking the best shortbread in Scotland.”Working at Walkers has been part of Jim’s life sincehe was a young boy. “We grew up next to the familybakery. I used to deliver rolls before going to schooland help decorate Christmas cakes. That was a bigexcitement,” he laughs.In 1960 Jim, together with his brother Joseph andsister Margery, joined the company. In those days,Walkers Shortbread employed around 16 people; todayit employs around 1,600. “Our ancestors did the hardwork and laid the foundations,” says Jim modestly.“What my generation did was to start exporting.Scotland had never exported much before. I think wecan justifiably claim that we put shortbread on the mapworldwide.”Walkers Shortbread remains independent and“100% family financed”. For Jim, the family’scommitment to the local community is a hugelyimportant responsibility. “We’re the biggest employerin the Spey Valley. The other employers are distilleries,but they’re very automated. We’re very interdependentwith the village of Aberlour which gives us a largenumber of superb workstaff, many of whom have beenwith us for many years. We try to look after them andthe community. I always say we were doing ‘corporatesocial responsibility’ before the phrase existed.”Generation GameEver since she was a little girl, Anjali Pathak, nowbrand ambassador for Patak’s, grew up knowing thefamily legend of how Patak’s was established. “Mygrandparents came to England in the 1950s with verylittle money, having being chased out of Africa wherethey’d had an Indian sweet business,” she explains.“First they opened an Indian food shop at 134Drummond Street, selling sweets and spices. In thosedays it was hard to get hold of Indian vegetables andspices, so my grandfather started importing themhimself. Then, so as not to waste the fresh produceand the spices, he started making pickles and createdthe first Indian spice paste.”Anjali’s pride at her grandparents’ enterprise andhard work shines through as she talks about them. Herfavourite product is the tandoori paste. “My Mummarried my Dad and had wanted to work with thefamily company. My Grandad put her to the test andasked her to work on the tandoori paste, as he wasstruggling to get the flavour right. She made it thesame day, cooked it for him that night and he said‘You’re hired! Let’s put that spice paste into a jar.’”Lance Forman of H. Forman and Son, London isproud of the fact that his smoked salmon company,founded by his great grandfather in 1905, is “now theoldest producer of smoked Scottish salmon in theworld”. When he joined the company in 1994, “therewas no brand of smoked salmon. No one knew whomade it. To me that was our opportunity. Every chef inevery top restaurant knew of Forman’s and our wildsmoked salmon, but the general public didn’t have aclue and I wanted them to know about us.”Lance’s time with the company, however, had beenmarked by “three disasters in a period of five years”.First a fire in 1998 burnt down three-quarters of their“Many traditional foodstuffs owe theircontinued existence to family affairs”48 Great British Food


Food Championsfactory (the trauma of which caused his father to stepdown from the company), next a terrible flood in2000, after which they built a brand new, state of theart factory. “Within a year, we were told we had tomove out because that was where they were going tobuild the Olympics Stadium. It was heartbreaking.”Tenacity, however, is part of Lance’s make-up. “Igenerally don’t give up with things,” he says. Havingbattled for adequate compensation, H. Forman andSon and its sister company Forman and Field is nowhoused in new premises on Fish Island in London’sEast End, with the smokery alongside a restaurant,hospitality venue and art gallery.New DirectionSucceeding generations often bring new energy toestablished businesses. Rupert Parsons of WomersleyFruit and Herb Vinegars inherited “about 108 productlines” from his father, a creative man and botanicalenthusiast who’d founded the company in 1970.Rupert pared down the range to just 12 products, repackagedthem and has been rewarded by seeingWomersley’s Raspberry Vinegar win the accolade ofbeing of one the Top 50 Foods in Britain at this year’sGreat Taste Awards. “It was the first vinegar my fathermade, so very fitting. He died a couple of years ago,but it’s lovely that it won this top award.”Butcher Callum Edge of Edge & Son Butchers inthe Wirral is a sixth-generation butcher, specialising inlocally-sourced, rare breeds meat. “My great, greatgrandfather built the shop where we are now in1844. I’ve moved the business to a mixture ofwholesale, retail and butchery work. We’ve got one ofthe most traditional butchers shops in the UK withone of the most high-tech slaughterhouses andrefrigeration units behind it,” laugh Callum. “We’vejust been shortlisted for the RSPCA Good Businessaward again, which is great.”He has also introduced a popular series of butcherymasterclasses. “I’m really animated by seeing youngercustomers interested in learning about meat, abouthanging, about rare breeds. Our producers do a greatjob and work very hard, so getting people toappreciate that is rather nice. ”Also in the Wirral, Andrew Pimbley has breathednew life into his family’s fruit farm. Returning toClaremont Farm, having worked abroad in Australia,Africa and Venezeula, Andrew needed, as he explains,“to make a job for myself if I wanted to stay on thefamily farm.” Having diversified the farm shop,Andrew looked at the business model. “My Dad wasselling our asparagus on the open market, not gettingmuch for it. I took our asparagus and started visitingrestaurants, seeing chefs, explaining we’ve got thisfantastic produce, I can cut it in the morning, deliverit to you in the afternoon and it can be on someone’splate in the evening.”Under Andrew’s initiative Claremont Farm alsohosts the popular Wirral Food Festival, now in itsseventh year. “I’m showcasing what we do, showingpeople this is where the food is coming from. I workwith a committee of people to organise it; it’s such alot of hard work.” Claremont Farm also offers cookeryclasses, with plans to expand the farm shop andcookery class offer next year. “My Dad can see thatwhat we’re going now – the direct sales, engagingwith the public, being more open - is the wayforward.”ANDREW PIMBLEY OF CLAREMONT FARM50 Great British Food

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