From the source
Great food starts with great suppliers - the people who grow, tend, and manufacture their products.
From north to south, east to west, we scour the country for the best ingredients. It’s important to us that our suppliers are knowledgeable and passionate about their products. So it’s a given that sustainability and ethical practices are high on their agenda too.
With venues and events spanning the length and breadth of the UK, local provenance is a key consideration, both for our clients and Sodexo. Locally sourced food tends to be fresher and more sustainable, as well as reflecting the particular location of each venue setting.
Read below to find out more about a small selection of our suppliers.
White Lake Cheese
White Lake Cheese operates in deepest Somerset, on a family-run farm for three generations. True to their artisan roots, all processes are still carried out by hand using all the traditional methods.
Just as Roger’s grandparents started making their own cheddar many years ago, in 2001, Roger started experimenting with goats milk for cheese. Quickly, his products became favourites at local farmer’s markets. In 2016, a local farmer had some leftover sheep’s milk, so Roger experimented and soon produced an award-winning range of sheep’s cheese. There are now five varieties in the collection.
Pete of White Lake Cheese – also a master cheese-maker – met our chefs at a Sodexo supplier day, and together they decided to create a bespoke cheese for Royal Ascot. Roger and Pete’s Royal Ascot cheese is washed in cider brandy, rather than saltwater. The cheese’s texture is akin to soft Manchego – with toffee and nuts in the aftertaste.
Smithy Mushrooms Ltd - Lancashire
Over the last 20 years Smithy Mushrooms have established a reputation for reliability and consistency.
At Smithy, production is timed to the minute. This means the team can continuously handpick, and so create a constant supply of premium quality mushrooms. Smithy’s grow a range of exotic mushrooms, including Grey, Yellow, and Pink Oyster mushrooms, as well as Portobello, Pholiota, Phliota Nameko, Eryngii, Shiitake, Maitake and White Beech mushrooms – all grown here in the UK.
Cultivated at their three-acre farm in Lancashire, Smithy imitate the mushrooms’ natural environments at every stage to ensure optimum quality. For example, Oyster mushroom varieties are usually found on trees, so Smithy keep them in upright bags and in humid conditions.
Red Oak Farm
George Coles is a passionate farmer who truly cares about the welfare of his herd. He keeps 300 cattle at his spacious farm alongside the River Ouse, from Simmental Crosses to Red Angus’. His herd enjoy freshwater meadow grasses and home grown feed.
Almost all farming processes are carried out in-house. George keeps very close to the cattle to make sure stress levels are as low as possible. Cows are born on the farm, grow on the farm, and don’t move until it’s time for slaughter.
George is a true food hero. He is pushing the boundaries of animal welfare as a leading expert in animal husbandry. He has also pioneered the use of thermal imaging to detect health problems in his cattle, which reduces the need for antibiotics.
Inverawe Smokehouse – Taynuilt Argyll, Scotland
Established in 1974, Inverawe Smokehouse is the largest branded Scottish supplier of smoked seafood. Using oak logs in hand-built traditional brick kilns, the smoking process can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. The oak logs give a subtle but distinct flavour. The time the fish takes to smoke is entirely reliant on the skills of the master smokers, who are trained to understand exactly when the fish is ready. This craftsmanship has been passed down through generations.
Inverawe Smokehouse are committed to reducing their environmental footprint. Their policy on salmon sourcing is integral to this. All their fish come from farms committed to sustainable production, excellent husbandry and organic feeding policies.
All Inverawe Smokehouse’s salmon is Freedom Food certified by the RSPCA, and the farms have never had to use antibiotics. The fish are hand-fed – which means they are observed every day in person. The smokehouse also maintains low stock densities, which ensure that the fish have room to grow up healthy.
The smokehouse has won many industry and consumer awards, including many Great Taste awards. They were even awarded Royal Warrant of Her Majesty the Queen in 2001.
Chalk Stream Foods
Chalk Stream Foods are based just outside Romsey, where the founders, Arthur Voelcker and Hugo Hardman are proud to fish in what they call ‘Hampshire’s secret larder’.
It’s all about the trout – specifically Chalk Stream trout. Their farms are on the world famous Chalk Streams, the Test and Itchen, often described as being ‘gin clear’.
As Arthur explains ‘it is this clean and constantly flowing water that provides the perfect habitat for our trout to grow. With around two tonnes of water entering the farm every second our trout are always swimming giving them great muscle structure as well as being very lean’.
Fish husbandry is led by Pete Ware, known as the ‘fish whisperer’. He is on site every day, feeding the trout right through to when they are harvested. Each fish is sorted by hand to check for quality by Pete and his expert team, and each one is harvested to order to ensure absolute freshness. With hand fileting and smoking done locally, Chalk Stream Foods are able to get their prized fish from water to waiter in 48 hours.