Chef Andrew Wilkinson says working with good suppliers is top of the list when it comes to sourcing his ingredients for Artisan at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle.
I get my vegetables from … Ken and Tracy Holland. They grow more than 80 varieties of vegetables at their garden in Little Harle, Northumberland, and their produce is second to none. The duo provide us with carrots, micro-herbs and beetroot, as well as other quality seasonal vegetables.
Foraged ingredients … are from forager Andy Young. He supplies us with an array of wonderful things, from wild garlic and mushrooms to sea vegetables, collected from top-secret locations as far north as Berwick, down to North Yorkshire. He drops off a basket of ingredients to our kitchen in a matter of hours of picking them outdoors – you can’t get any fresher than that.
Our meats come from … Bishop Auckland-based Crane Row Farm, which provides our kitchen with loins of pork and pork belly – for our popular Sunday lunches – as well as pigs’ heads, shanks and trotters, which we use in everything from croquettes to rich jus.
Fish is sourced from … the day boats at Frank Round Fish Merchants, based at North Shields fish quay. They are our go-to supplier for top quality, freshly-caught fish such as halibut, turbot, mackerel and pollock. As a restaurant located close to the North East coast, we’re fortunate to have an abundance of fresh fish on our doorstep.
Working with really good ingredients … is paramount to producing good food, and that means working with the best suppliers to source the finest seasonal produce. That’s why we change our menus monthly, to reflect the ever-changing produce we use. Day to day, we’ll make subtle changes to the dishes and garnishes on the menu depending on what’s been delivered to our kitchen that morning.
At this time of the year my favourite ingredient … is wild garlic. It’s versatile and packs a lot of flavour, and it pairs beautifully with the likes of ragu of dry aged beef or grilled turbot.
I could not live without … salt – plain and simple! Seasoning is so important in enhancing the flavour of a dish and it can transform a mediocre plate of food into something exceptional.
My guilty pleasure is … creamy butter. It can really lift the flavours of a dish.
Main course or dessert? I’m a main course man. I appreciate everything that goes into making desserts and patisserie but personally, I prefer savoury dishes – in terms of cooking and also eating them. They’re much more satisfying.
If I had £100, I would spend it on … dinner for my wife and children. It would give me a chance to take a break from the kitchen, too!
Photography by Sean Elliott Photography.