Love food and look after local: the catering ethos at Calke Abbey
Fresh, locally produced food has always been important at Calke Abbey – in fact, it’s embedded in its history. Until the outbreak of World War Two, the garden at Calke Abbey produced enough fruit and vegetables for the Harpur-Crewe family, as well as surplus that they sold at local markets. And sourcing the highest quality local produce is something that’s also incredibly important to Calke Abbey’s current Catering Manager, Steve Butterworth.
Steve joined Calke Abbey as Sous Chef five years ago and clearly made a strong impression, as he swiftly moved up the ranks to Head Chef, and now Catering Manager. Before joining Calke Abbey, Steve had worked in a variety of hotels, restaurants and pub kitchens where he’d become disillusioned with the catering industry. Fortunately, his new role at the National Trust was just what he was looking for.
“When I joined Calke Abbey, I became enthralled by the National Trust. I’d never worked anywhere that shared my ethos and passion for making exceptional, locally produced food from scratch. As a chef, it doesn’t get better than that.”
Working with local growers and tenant farmers, the catering team at Calke Abbey make sure that all of the produce they purchase is top quality. Confirming their commitment to providing seasonal, ethically-produced and sustainable food, Calke Abbey has recently been awarded the Food for Life Partnership’s Catering Mark.
“Achieving The Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark demonstrates to our members and supporters how, as a food business, we’re constantly striving to improve our standards. It’s all part of making sure that each and every meal we provide is made up of seasonal, traceable, healthier, sustainable and fresh ingredients, free from trans fats and nasty additives.”
Recently committing to achieve the Food for Life Catering Mark across all its properties, The National Trust has now attained a Catering Mark for 134 of its places across the UK. The Catering Mark accreditation is a sign that The National Trust is really starting to gain recognition in the food industry.
“We’ve started with the bronze standard, but our goal is to continue improving our sourcing standards over the next two to three years. We’re already thinking ahead to the next award, which involves tightening our production regulations to make sure our produce is as fresh and sustainable as possible.”