Ten Miles From Field To Fork At The Gallivant
The trend for locally sourced ingredients in restaurants is one which is continuing to grow in popularity, with discerning diners keen to know the provenance of the ingredients on their plate. Increasingly consumers are embracing the benefits of local, fresh and good quality food with the emphasis on seasonality, sustainability and traceability – and the desire to know how far their food has travelled from field to fork!
At The Gallivant, the coastal restaurant with rooms across the road from the dunes and the beautiful sandy beaches of Camber (named as one of the Top 50 Beaches in the World by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine April 2015) chef Danny Perjesi and owner Harry Cragoe have set themselves an exciting challenge - to source 95 - 100% of the fresh produce used in the kitchen from a tiny 10 mile radius.
When Harry first took on The Gallivant, some 5 years ago now, the kitchen supplies arrived by lorry from across the country. Having explored the surrounding area and realising what wonderful variety and quality was on their doorstep Cragoe decided that local and fresh was the way forward, and has been working with local producers and suppliers ever since.
He explains "As a young boy I still remember the excitement of eating the first English summer strawberries with straw coloured raw Jersey cream from the farm in the village, new season local potatoes with lots of butter and the first Spring lamb reared in the fields around us with fresh mint sauce from the garden. Nothing compares to eating hours fresh English produce. It is extraordinary, incredibly exciting and unrivalled in my opinion."
Head chef Perjesi and his team are very fortunate with their location, in what is often described as the 'larder of England'. The Gallivant kitchen enjoys fish and shellfish caught in front of the Gallivant by Joe and John and delivered daily, wonderful Romney Salt Marsh Lamb, beef and pork reared by Todd up the road in Brooklands, all manner of game shot from the local estate and an abundance of fruit and vegetables grown by a select group of nearby farms. As a result virtually everything has only travelled a handful of miles, often delivered by the person that reared, caught or picked it hours earlier.
Cragoe says "I thought a lot about the title 'locally sourced' and didn't think it was specific enough and therefore easily abused, after all, just what is local, 10, 15, 20, 25 miles? So I came to the conclusion that 'local' should mean somewhere close enough that if push came to shove you could hand deliver it and 10 miles sounded about right."
The only downside is that they can't serve the area's renowned lamb all year round! "We sometimes get asked why we don't sell Romney Salt Marsh lamb all the year round like all the other local restaurants and we politely point out that lambing doesn't start until late March and after about September the lambs aren't really lambs any more...."