Fresh and local: cooking up culinary delights

Published : Tue 27th Aug Author : National Trust

We’re not just a cup of tea and a scone after a great day out. In fact, we’re so much more than that. We’re one of the UK’s largest catering businesses, with c.180 restaurants and tearooms across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Catering is at the heart of our visitors’ experience and we put a lot of love and care into all the food we serve up, whether it’s a freshly made sandwich or a fine dining experience. And as the nation’s biggest farmer, there’s a strong link between food production and conservation. Fresh and local: by using ingredients grown by our tenant farmers and recipes that promote ‘spirit of place’, we play an important role in growing the nation’s love of special places here in Catering. One of our big challenges at the moment is balancing individuality of each property with consistency across the organisation. Our commercial operations are crucial but nothing is more important to us than the uniqueness of our properties and the incredible visitor experience each one has to offer.

We pride ourselves on offering an excellent quality of menu and right now, we’re working hard to make it even better, to use even more of our own food and to enhance the experience that visitors have in all of our catering outlets. How are we going to do this? By putting in place frameworks to give properties more power to make their own local decisions and tell their stories, in line with our brand and core purpose. We’re also working with our food ambassador, Michelin-starred chef, Angela Hartnett who was trained by Gordon Ramsey. Angela and her team are working closely with our Development Chef, Clive Goudercourt to inspire and produce delicious recipes. We’ve been developing our ‘Cook Book’, a seasonal menu planner and recipe bank which is already having great results in our pilot properties. One of our recent big success stories is our relationship with tenant farmer, Jeremy Benson who rents space on the Sherborne Estate in Gloucestershire. In his two converted farm buildings, Jeremy and his team mill, press and bottle a range of yummy apple juices which are now available in all of our properties!