What is your most popular egg dish?
Our favourite dish is eggs royale but the most sold is the humble fried egg.
In addition to supporting the British Hen Welfare Trust, you also work with
other charities. Can you tell us a little more about this work?
We support the Marine Conversation Society and Fish Fight. We also support
The Clink Charity, helping them to rehabilitate offenders, by offering them
training and employment in our business; one of our employees through the
scheme started working in the bar at RADA and has now applied for a
degree there which we are sponsoring.
We are also concerned about the demise of fruits such as forced rhubarb
and gooseberries, and are doing our bit to help promote these traditional
British fruits. We have also worked with a food writer to save some of Soho’s
traditional old food shops which have struggled due to the flooding of the
market with coffee shop chains.
We notice you also have a ‘Save the Orchard’ project in Somerset – what
does this entail?
It’s a saving apple orchards appeal, recognising that we have lost so many.
It’s in the West Country, where there’s high youth unemployment. In our
small way, we believe we can help support industries like this and we have
planted a whole orchard of trees, naming each one after a client. We also
use their associated products – cider, apple juice, jams, chutney etc.
through the Orchard Pig Company, the commercial side of the project.
Whilst planting trees and repairing the orchards, they are bringing back
diversity – the pigs even eat the rotten apples.
Do you think that working with charitable organisations such as the British
Hen Welfare Trust benefits your business? How much does welfare matter to
your clients when choosing a catering company vs. cost and other factors?
It’s an interesting question. Truthfully, over the last couple of years, I think
businesses have been less focused on charity because of the economic
challenges. But it’s very important to us – whether or not our clients have it
as a priority doesn’t matter – it’s high as ours. We have always initiated in
these areas and our competitors have followed, and we continue to move
forward. People always value quality.
We run ‘make do and mend’ training for our chefs, where we teach them
good housekeeping, i.e. not wasting food, for instance, by using stale bread
for bread pudding; using ripe bananas for a chocolate and banana loaf;
using grapes for an excellent chutney; not just buying chicken breasts but
using the whole chicken. It’s not just about cost awareness. We haven’t
dumbed down on produce, we just work harder to be efficient and
engineer our menus. Our chefs have really grasped that.