The latest news has to be that Severn & Wye’s web site, after a massive overhaul, is back online. This means that customers can access copies of BRC and MSC accreditations and lots of other useful company information. Details about our sustainable eel projects, info on Var Salmon, you can even look at old copies of my newsletter or for those of you with technology you can follow more of my mumblings on Twitter. For Severn & Wye this is a giant leap into the unknown so we would appreciate your comments and follow if you are on twitter.
Last Monday was the National Restaurateur’s Dinner at the Dorchester. A fund raising knees up attended by the great and the good of the restaurant world. On the same night it was the Tatler Restaurant awards and the launch party at Chez Bruce of Bruce’s Cookbook. (That’s what you call planning). I remember it was exactly a year ago after the 2010 NRD dinner Bruce Poole, Rowley Leigh and I did a fair amount of digestive sampling in a bar somewhere. Bruce told us his publisher was giving him a hard time over the completion of his book. I remember him telling us how writing newspaper and magazine articles had been a joy but this cookbook malarkey was proving to be a long and painful experience. So on the odd subsequent occasions we spoke on the phone I would enquire how’s the book going, the reply was always the same …………’tough’. So when I heard it had finally been completed I rushed round for a copy. Well the reason Bruce found the book so difficult is simple… it’s good, in fact it’s very good. I sat outside the restaurant and thought I’ll read a couple of pages before I drive off. 30 pages later I was hooked and had difficulty putting the book down. Bruce has a calm and unassuming manner and it’s on the page, along with lots of personal anecdotes and stories. The recipes are detailed and the publisher rather cleverly has put a greaseproof jacket over the cover. This is a cookbook that’s going to be used and covered in stains in no time. In fact it’s already had a rub down with a damp cloth in our household. ‘Refined Rustic’ is how Bruce likes to describe his cooking, and bloody marvellous is how I would describe his book.
It was also this week that Blueprint Café celebrated its 21st birthday, sixteen of those years with Jeremy Lee steering the ship. I have it on good authority it was a day to remember.
This Saturday 14th May is Gloucestershire’s Young Farmers County Rally just down the road at Stroat. If you are in the area they deserve your support. This is a really well run club for young people and you don’t have to be a farmer to be a member. Our own Amy Williams who works in the shop weekends and when she is home from university, won the cookery competition last year with her hot smoked eel dish . We wish her similar success this year. The rally will feature the usual country pursuits such as drinking and eating, decade dancing (not sure what that is but sounds fun), vegetable carving ,Young Farmers Got Talent competition ( the organisers heard Simon Cowell is back in the UK) + many other attractions. Remember our shop is only up the road for retail therapy, and our fish counter is sure to have something to tickle your fancy. I hear we have some extra-large crabs coming in on Friday.
Back to fishy matters, I have a long list of those of you after sea trout and wild salmon. All I can say to you is we need rain. The few fish coming through are commanding high prices but the 1st of June sees the opening of the sea trout and salmon season in England so we expect to see more fish on offer then.
The 19th May is the launch of the Sustainable Eel Standard at the Fishmongers Hall in London. As members of the Sustainable Eel Group we shall be attending and displaying our own ‘Tanks in School Scheme’. We have already sited several tanks in local schools this week plus one in our Smokery’s shop. Many more will be sited over the next few weeks including one at Westminster Catering College and one at Thames Valley University. Anyone interested in attending and supporting us at this event please give me a call.
Our Var Salmon Tags will be arriving next week so we shall officially be launching ‘Var Salmon’ on the 23rd June. Anyone interested in samples or prices do not hesitate to give me a call.