Leading Restaurant to Sell Its Surplus at 'Gourmets' Market'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 8, 2007 | Go to article overview

Leading Restaurant to Sell Its Surplus at 'Gourmets' Market'


Byline: By Sally Williams Western Mail

The head chef of the Felin Fach Griffin, the first high-profile restaurant in Wales with a certified organic garden, is opening up a pioneering "gourmets' market" this spring. While we have all become familiar with farmers' markets, chef Ricardo van Ede, 40, who was the youngest chef in the Netherlands to win a Michelin star, at the age of 21, has come up with the idea of a "gourmets' market". At his market stall, he intends to sell off surplus organic produce from the organic garden to passers-by and diners at the popular restaurant with rooms, overlooking the Brecon Beacons. He says the garden venture has led to a big change in his thinking; the Dutch chef is now working towards a switch to only using British produce - so out go the olives from Italy.

Ricardo said, "Having our own organic kitchen garden has made a huge difference to my cooking and it has changed the way I think too.

"Instead of just talking about global warming and climate change, I thought it would be much better to actually do something.

"Our garden currently has salad leaves and herbs but in a few weeks we will have beans, strawberries and lots of produce.

"We won't need all of it, so it makes sense to sell the extra quantities to customers from our door, together with our homemade fresh bread and preserves.

"In future, I'm hoping it could lead to a permanent shop."

Although it may sound strange for a Dutchman to say that he is only going to buy British, Ricardo admits he is glad to be living and working as a chef in Wales.

He adds, "Living here in Mid Wales makes it easier for me to source local food because this country has far more choice than the Netherlands does. There will be no more mushrooms or olive oil from abroad here, we want to source locally instead."

He said the Wales-England border has a wealth of tasty, fresh produce - but you just need to seek it out.

"We already use smokeries and there is an oil producer we can use in Herefordshire and there is even a snail farm," he says.

"We have so much British food available, you just have to know where to look for it because specialities are not always well publicised."

After a two-year conversion period complying with Welsh Organic Scheme Standards, the 400 square metre garden was certified as organic in April by Quality Welsh Food Certification, one of the UK's authorised bodies for organic certification. …

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