Ingredients & Suppliers
A great meal starts with great ingredients. Many of our relationships with our suppliers stretch back over decades and we’re proud to be working with some of Britain’s very best farmers. Good food shouldn’t cost the earth, and sourcing responsibly is one of the most important and complicated aspects of what we do, incorporating taste, quality, traceability, sustainability, animal welfare, soil health, air miles and more…
All our pork is higher welfare and comes from British pigs reared in the open air. Almost all of it comes from Dingley Dell, a family-owned farm in Suffolk where the pigs are born, reared and grow outdoors all year round. They have won numerous awards for quality, enterprise and conservation and they share our belief that responsible animal welfare and great flavour goes hand in hand. They are also on a mission to protect our ecosystem. By rotating the use of the farm’s land, they’re working towards providing food for a million bees.
Both the pork steaks we cook with and the pork in our sausage rolls (which are made for us externally by Higgidy) also come from higher-welfare farms.
Our commitment to higher-welfare pork was recognised with a Good Pig Award from Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) in 2016.
All of our beef comes from the UK and Ireland, from cows reared outside on grass. All of our Beef comes from approved farms, which means the farms are all monitored independently to check animal welfare standards, food safety, traceability and environmental protection. For our meals with diced beef, we use silverside and top rump.
We only use higher-welfare chicken from British farms in our kitchens. In 2017 our commitment to higher-welfare chicken was recognised with a Good Chicken Award from Compassion in World Farming, an organisation that has been championing and campaigning for improved animal welfare since 1967.
All our chicken is fully traceable, with the birds reared in barns with natural light and significantly more space to roam than is the industry standard. Temperature levels are monitored and controlled, and a stable environment is maintained at all times. Working with farmers committed to animal welfare and sustainability is at the heart of our sourcing policy at COOK, so we visit every chicken supplier to make sure we are happy.
Reared outdoors with freedom to roam 24hrs a day, COOK turkeys are raised to the highest welfare standards on small farms in East Anglia and have been recognised with a Good Turkey Award by Compassion In World Farming.
Fruit & Veg
We source produce from around the world to ensure the best quality and availability in season, while ensuring, wherever possible, we prioritise the use of British ingredients to reduce food miles and our impact on the environment. All of our produce is traceable back to source.
We will continue to work hard to minimise the use of imported products and focus on seasonality and working with British growers. We started working with Kent-based Provenance Potatoes at the start of 2018, and by the end of the year, we’d made them our exclusive supplier of potatoes.
We are very proud to work with Silver Hill Farm, one of the world’s most prestigious suppliers of duck. A family- owned company based in the Republic of Ireland, they started 50 years ago with six top-quality ducks, which have been developed into their own breed, which is famed for its taste. They are involved with very step, from breeding to processing, and run with a zero carbon footprint on their farms. The ducks are reared free to roam in barns, to protect them from the harsh weather conditions (duck down is not actually waterproof). They are graded AA by the Global Food Safety Initiative.
Duck is always popular around Christmas. If we need wild duck in our seasonal specials, that currently comes from Ben Rigby Game, which is wild shot. The Duck & Plum Paté is made externally and, although the duck used is currently not up to our normal higher-welfare standards, this is something we’re working on.
Sausages & Bacon
Our pork sausages are made exclusively for us by Speldhurst, a company based in Kent that has its roots in a recipe created by Joe Lovett, a village butcher, over 50 years ago. All of the pork sausages, sausage meat, and the ingredients they supply for our Christmas range, are free from preservatives and artificial flavourings, and made from higher-welfare pork from the UK and, occasionally, Ireland.
Wild boar sausages come from Direct Meats and, as implied, the meat is from wild pigs that roam freely.
Curd and Cure, a Kent-based supplier we’ve worked with since 2008, supplies our bacon. It is currently raised to a higher standard (so it’s not from ‘factory farms’) but still not one recognised by a welfare scheme.This is something we’re working on improving.
We source lamb from the UK (normally Wales) and New Zealand, depending on the season and other issues affecting the supply chain. It is all grass-fed, farm-assured lamb, irrespective of where it’s sourced from, and we can trace all our lamb back to the farms on which the animals were bred.
Fish & Seafood
All of our white fish comes from approved fishing grounds and is traceable back to source.We only use suppliers that support the activities of the Marine Stewardship Council and are committed to sustainable fishing. The fish is prepared to our exact specifications and delivered daily to our kitchens.
Most of our salmon comes from higher-welfare Scottish farms, although our sides of salmon and smoked salmon are supplied by Coln Valley, which also uses Norwegian salmon. The Smoked Salmon & Pesto Tartlets are made externally and the salmon is sourced from Norway and the Faroe Islands, as well as Scotland, and is currently not higher-welfare.
We only use prawns which are certified to a four star standard by the Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP), which is the highest standard they recognise. BAP is the world’s most trusted, comprehensive and proven third-party aquaculture certification program. It has been improving the environmental, social and economic performance of the aquaculture supply chain and growing the global supply of responsibly farmed seafood since 2002.
We don’t use much game outside of our seasonal specials for Christmas, but almost all of it comes from Ben Rigby Game. Since 1979, this family-run business has built strong relationships with some of the best estates across England and Ireland. For their venison, they work with The Royal Parks and The Forestry Commission to source wild deer from sustainable forests and managed estates. Pheasant, duck and other small game are sourced from sporting estates in England.
All of the eggs we use are free range. They come predominantly from the UK, and occasionally from the continent.
We received a Good Egg Award from Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) in 2011.
All of our milk and cream come from farms in the UK, predominantly from the south of England.
Cheddar is from A. J. Barber’s, who have been making cheese since 1833 and the oldest surviving Cheddar- makers in the world. Based in the West Country, they work with the local farming community and are the sole guardians of the country’s last remaining traditional cheese starter cultures (the friendly bacteria that begins the cheese-making process).
All of our other cheeses come from approved suppliers in the UK and Europe.
Apart from the olive oil in pesto and other sub-ingredients, we use cold-pressed rapeseed oil in our savoury kitchens. It comes either from Claire and Guy Eckley’s arable farm, or from Laura at Kentish Oils – both are based near our savoury kitchens in Sittingbourne, Kent.