Producer of the Month: Jemima Palmer-Tompkinson, the Potted Game Company
As it is nearly August, and the grouse season, we thought it only fair to game to give it a nod. And there was one sensational product co-created by one very passionate and incredibly talented lady, who we had to feature
Shrimps may soon start living up to their name as there is a definitely a new pot on the block, whose integral ingredient is a bit more robust and earthy. The Potted Game Company preserves an array of delicious and plentiful native game using the ancient British culinary art of potting it in butter. Potted grouse with truffles, potted pheasant with smoked bacon and hazelnuts and potted wood pigeon with walnuts and ginger are just a few of the range the company offers.
In creating The Potted Game Company, Jemima and her business partner and co-founder Rory Baxter, not only make use of the abundance of British game available, they also make the likes of eating pheasant and partridge a far less daunting prospect for the uninitiated whilst simultaneously bringing the historical art of potting into the 21st century. No mean feat.
And it is seriously good. Seriously. Jemima is a girl who lives and breathes the countryside and cooking; she grew up beating on shoots, plucking pheasants as a teenager and has catered for friends, family and paying guests for years. She knows what she is talking about and she knows what people like to eat. This precious passion and knowledge means that she and Rory have created an incredibly versatile product. For it is as delicious spread upon a crust of old bread, as it is taken on a picnic for all to dip their knives /fingers into (forget hummus) or served as a starter alongside some melba toast.
The most brilliant thing is that the process that sets this product apart - the potting - is actually preserving it, so each 65g pot has a long shelf life of up to two weeks in the fridge and six months in the freezer.
- What do you enjoy most about producing Potted Game?
Watching people who have never tasted game before or who are slightly suspicious of it, trying one of our products and surprising themselves by really liking it. Many people are nervous about tasting our potted wood pigeon with ginger and walnuts for example, but then once they have tasted it they seem to just want more. We also love meeting lots of other food producers at shows and farmers markets who are passionate about what they do.
- What do you enjoy the least?
Long hours in the kitchen - which is freezing cold in the winter and boiling hot in the summer.
- Why should we buy British produce?
Buying British produce supports our economy, and has a low carbon footprint. Game shooting preserves tradition, our British countryside and keeps many rural people in employment.
- What achievement are you most proud of?
Last year we won three gold stars for three of our products in the Great Taste Awards and our potted wild boar with smoked ham hock and sherry was voted one of the top 50 products in the country. We were also voted one of the best emerging brands by the head buyer of Fortnum & Mason. When we heard that we were truly thrilled.
- What are your predictions for the future of British food and if you were Prime Minister what would you do to encourage more people to buy British?
I think people will continue to eat more British food and more game but it will take time, especially with the financial climate as it is and food from Europe often being sold for a cheaper price. Similarly, the majority of the British public are still relatively nervous about trying game as they assume it will be very strong.
If I was Prime Minister I would focus on food education at school - in growing, preparing, cooking and learning historically, geographically and economically. This would involve interactive lessons, guest speakers and trips to farms and factories.
- Best budget tip?
If you haven't yet - have a go at cooking a meal from scratch - even beans on toast or tomato soup rather than buying it ready-made. You may think you are terrible at cooking but armed with a simple, well-written recipe you will be surprised at how easy and how much cheaper it is. Practice makes perfect!
- If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food?
Britain gives good game!
- What other British food producers do you rate?
There are loads of brilliant and diverse food producers in this country, such as Woodhouse farm in Leicestershire, who do the best hog roasts I have ever eaten - their pork is to die for. Arthur Alsop and Nik Walker (Alsop and Walker) make a delicious cow's milk cheese called Lord London. Rhug Estate salt marsh lamb, Peter Crumbly (The Cotswold Curer) are two other fantastic producers- the list is endless!
- What's on the menu this evening?
On the menu tonight are some pork chops. We raised 2 pigs last year, they went to slaughter at Christmas and we still have lots of delicious meat left - in truth, I think we will be eating pork for quite some time.
- How can people get hold of your produce?
You can buy our products in Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, The House of Bruar and online at British Fine Foods for more infomartion see our website or our Facebook page our follow us on Twitter: @PottedGameCo