With Taste of Grampian looming large this weekend it’s a chance for not only the public to sample and discover new local produce but for one man it’s the perfect opportunity to seek out potential suppliers for his award-winning restaurant.
Richard Yearnshire is Executive Head Chef at Ardoe House Hotel. His passion for local produce and researching Scottish food heroes has been challenging and time consuming but it is a labour of love for Richard and his team.
Richard explains; “We wanted to have a menu at Ardoe that was genuinely 100% created using Scottish produce. We have the most fantastic food literally on our doorstep yet the majority of it is sent to London restaurants or exported abroad. I wanted to show that it is possible to have everything on your plate from a supplier in Scotland. It’s a win-win situation, championing local suppliers whilst ensuring that our food is as fresh as possible. A prime example is that when the fishing boats come in to Peterhead market in the morning, it can be bought and at the hotel by the afternoon and on your plate by the evening. You don’t get fresher than that.”
Richard has been all over Scotland looking for suppliers. With his team of chefs, some as young as 18, Richard took the rare step these days to invest time in getting them out and about by taking them en masse to fruit farms, Peterhead fishing market and slaughter houses so that they could understand fully all the processes of where the food they create at Ardoe comes from.
At Charleton Fruit Farm in Fettercairn his chefs even picked their own fruit and created their own desserts when they got back to the hotel. On a visit to Ingram’s Farm in Inverurie the team got to see the environment and the genuine wellbeing for the cattle and sheep.
Richard adds; “I wanted them to understand the life cycle of the animals, the short miles to the slaughterhouse and how the cows were processed and hung. It’s important that my team have respect for the food we are making and understand what is involved before it arrives ready for us to use in the kitchen.”
Many of the suppliers were difficult to find. Richard received one tip off from someone in Wales about a pig farm literally four miles from the hotel in Maryculter that had a Mangalitsa breed, perfect for succulent pork. Other suppliers were only selling at Farmer’s Markets but Richard has persuaded them to now sell to him direct.
Richard continues; “I’ve found some amazing producers throughout this process and I can now proudly say that our organic chickens come from Grampian, Crème Fraiche from Perthshire, hand-churned butter from Forfar and we even get our rapeseed oil from Inverurie. As seasons vary we will reflect that on our menus. We plan to create a herb and vegetable garden at the hotel so that we can get fresh produce all year round. We’re even about to install some bee hives in the grounds so that our honey at breakfast will be as fresh as you can possibly get.”
So with Taste of Grampian around the corner, it is a prime opportunity for Richard to see 130 local suppliers all under one roof.
Richard adds; ”I’m looking forward to seeing some diverse and new products that could become regular suppliers to Ardoe. Alternatively I’ll also be happy to be approached by any standholder that has a product they think should be on one of my menus.”
The public will be able to sample some of the produce on the Ardoe House Hotel stand 234 in the Exchange Exhibition where they will be cooking hand-dived scallops from Isle of Skye with black pudding from Ellon in a local chilli oil vinaigrette dressing. Richard will also be doing a demonstration cooking Peterhead fish on the Seafood Stand in the fish market area at 11.40am.
As it is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, celebrate the very best local food and drink at Taste of Grampian this Saturday, 6th June at Inverurie.
Organised by Prime Event Management, there will be over 130 food and drink exhibitors, a new BrewFest marquee and celebrity cookery demonstrations with Jean Christophe Novelli, BBC British Bake-off winner Nancy Birtwhistle and finalist Norman Calder.
There is ongoing family entertainment throughout the day and the P&J motor show.
Entry to Taste of Grampian is free. Car parking is £5.