Chefs often specify the origin of ingredients on their menus these days, and this is giving suppliers a higher profile. One company to benefit is Dingley Dell Pork, whose series of "flying visits" roadshow dinners have also created a real buzz from the host restaurants' customers. Amanda Afiya reports
With diners increasingly wanting to know about the provenance of the food in restaurants, chefs have been responding by peppering their menus with the names of their key suppliers. As a result, the profile of suppliers has seen something of a meteoric rise among consumers and many diners - with a keen interest in food - are becoming as familiar with the likes of Goosnargh ducks from Johnson and Swarbrick, for example, as you or I.
One such company to regularly grace the menus of leading chefs up and down the country is Dingley Dell Pork, the welfare-friendly Suffolk-based supplier founded by Mark and Paul Hayward.
Earlier this year, the Haywards took to the road to launch a series of dinners to showcase their products and highlight how chefs are creating cutting-edge dishes using pork. The events not only prove to be a great marketing tool for the pork producer, but they also create a buzz among the regulars of the host venue.
Launched in February, the first Dingley Dell Flying Visit event was hosted at the British Larder in Bromeswell, Suffolk, a neighbour to the Hayward's Woodbridge farm.
"It took about a year to come up with the idea of the flying visits," explains Mark Hayward. "We're not a huge business, and we wanted to do something interesting to promote ourselves. The British Larder is just down the road from our farm, we do a lot with owners Madalene http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/04/09/2012/345250/Dingley-Dell-vindaloo-by-Paul-Merrett.htm" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Bonvini-Hamel] and Ross [Pike] and they've become friends."
The premise for the event is that several pork-loving chefs descend on a particular venue to cook a course for a pig-based tasting menu with matching wines. Following the inaugural event at the British Larder, Caterer and Hotelkeeper caught up with Dingley Dell's visit to chef Paul Merrett and restaurateur Greg Bellamy's gastropub with rooms, the Victoria near Richmond Park.
Cooking alongside Merrett was rising star chef and 2011 Acorn Award winner Paul Foster, of Tuddenham Mill near Newmarket; Mark Poynton, chef-proprietor of restaurant Alimentum in Cambridge (and winner of an RSPCA Good Business Award); Bonvini-Hamel and Pike, from the British Larder; and leading pâstissier and chocolatier William Curley, who produced a dessert featuring pork.
"The chefs enjoy the aspect of just doing one course," adds Mark. "It's not great pressure and it works on a social level for them, too. Eventually, the idea crystallised into the format we have now."
Supported by the RSPCA's Freedom Food scheme, the events are designed to showcase the versatility of the pig. At each event, Mark Hayward educates and entertains guests with tales and facts about the animals, while master butcher John Kent, of Direct Meats, gives a demonstration.
The third event was held earlier this week by Poynton at restaurant Alimentum (13 June), while the fourth (on 26 September) will head north to Rochdale where chef Andrew Nutter will be cooking alongside fellow TV chefs James and Chris Tanner, Poynton and Foster.
ABOUT DINGLEY DELL PORK
Dingley Dell Pork was established in 1999 by brothers Mark and Paul Hayward on their farm near Woodbridge in Suffolk. Today, Dingley Dell Pork is also produced on two other East Anglian farms under their strict guidance.
The Haywards believe that great flavour comes from happy pigs, which they achieve with a mix of naturally balanced nutrition and a stress-free environment. The pigs are born, reared and grown outdoors. At any one time, they have about 8,000 pigs which are Landrace-Duroc crosses mated to purebred Large White boars. The finished pork is 25% Duroc, 25% Landrace and 50% Large White.
DINGLEY DELL'S FLYING VISITS MENU AT THE VICTORIA
Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket, Suffolk
â- Thalassitis, Santorini, 2009, Greece
Restaurant Alimentum, Cambridge â- Pork rilette, braised jowl, acorn praline, pineapple and chickweed
â- Larry Cherubino, Ad Hoc Wallflower Riesling, 2009, Australia
MADALENE BONVINI-HAMEL AND ROSS PIKE
The British Larder, Bromeswell, Suffolk â- Crispy pig's head, ham hock Scotch egg, salsify and cauliflower and shallot piccalilli, nasturtium leaves
â- Perez Cruz, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, 2010, Maipo, Chile
The Victoria, Richmond, London â- Asian Dingley Dell pork: 12-hour belly vindaloo with coconut sambal, jungle-style cheeks with soured mango noodles, dim sum with blood orange and fennel
â- Rioja El Talud Rosada, 2010, Bodegas Martinez Laordern, Spain
PÁ¢tissier-chocolatier, Richmond, London â- Amedei dark chocolate entremet with a smoked bacon caramel and served with apricot compote and lemon thyme ice-cream
â- Quady Winery, Elysium Black Muscat, 2010, Madera, California
Wines sponsored by Hallgarten Druitt and Novum Wines (see wine notes below)
Thalassitis, Santorini 2009, Greece
Style Dry, extremely crisp and mineral
Notes This is 100% Assyrtiko grapes from the Episkopi Vineyard made by "the George Clooney" of Greek wine, Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. Thalassitis means "from the sea" because these vines withstand searing hot summers irrigated only by the tangy dew from the sea mist. This uniquely fresh white wine is so deliciously dry it's like sucking on a frosty volcano!
Larry Cherubino, Ad Hoc Wallflower Riesling 2009, Australia
Style Aromatic and fruity
Notes Larry Cherubino is a true winemaking legend. This is a single-vineyard wine made with intense fruit, creating this fresh and aromatic beauty from down under.
Perez Cruz, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2010, Maipo, Chile
Style Rich, fruity and full-bodied
Notes Beautiful wine from Chile's Alto Maipo Valley which pumps uniqueness into the grapes - blackcurrant, a hint of fresh mint and even a tropical tang. Smell it. Guava anyone?
Lanzado Rioja Crianza, Bodegas Martinez La Orden 2006, Spain
Notes Sexy, ultra-modern Rioja. 100% Old Vine Tempranillo spends 383 days in French oak barrels and is then unleashed direct to your palate. Earthy with a touch of oak on the finish, this wine is incredible value and worth bathing in.
Quady Winery, Elysium Black Muscat 2010, Madera, California
Style Sweet and rich
Notes Elysium is Greek for heaven and no wonder winemaker Andrew Quady has named this wine in such a way. Black Muscat grapes, magenta in colour with a haunting rose-like aroma. A rich berry flavour which is superb with chocolate desserts, vanilla ice-cream and blue cheese.
[William Curley's Amedei dark chocolate entremet centred with a smoked bacon caramel and served with apricot compote and lemon thyme ice-cream ](http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/15/06/2012/345251/Amedei-dark-chocolate-entremet-centred-with-a-smoked-bacon-caramel-by-William.htm)
[Paul Merrett's Dingley Dell vindaloo.