Welcome to our news and events page
Hear about our latest news stories and activities each month.
Talented young chefs from across Hampshire, Dorset & the Channel Islands impressed judges with their culinary skills and flair at a competition held at Havant & South Downs College.
The Rotary Club of Gosport has organised the District heats of the Rotary Young Chef competition for the last three years as part of a prestigious national event.
Twelve students took part in the challenge which was to cook a three-course meal for two on a budget of £20 against the clock.
Mayor of Havant, Councillor Peter Wade, supported the competition by attending and presenting the prizes of chef’s aprons and cookbooks which were provided by Totton-based food service company, Harvest Fine Foods.
First Place was awarded to Izabella Darmanin from Havant and South Downs College whose menu included: Starter – Mackerel pâté with fennel and cucumber; Main – Cod loin with fried quails egg served on a bed of crushed potatoes and chive white wine butter sauce; Dessert – White chocolate cheesecake with orange and passionfruit.
Harvest Fine Food’s Senior Category Manager, Phil Clark, explained why competitions like this are important: “At Harvest, we are committed to supporting the Rotary Club of Great Britain in this excellent initiative to develop young talent in our region. It is a fantastic opportunity for budding young chefs to experience the pressure of a professional kitchen and show how creative they can be. Congratulations to everyone who took part – the food was superb.”
The winners will now go to Exeter College at the end of March for the Regional competition where they will compete against students from the West of England. The winner from this group will then go on to the National Final in Leeds on 27thApril.
L-R Back row: Oliver Clift of Emsworth Sailing Club; Clive Wright of Lysses House Hotel, Fareham; Phil Clark, Senior Category Manager, Harvest Fine Foods
Front row: Astrid Davis, Winner Isabella Darmanin, Savannah Nash
Here is his gorgeous dish of Venison loin, trio of beets, caramelised shallots, dauphinoise potatoes, venison jus, romanesco and heritage carrots.
Thank you to everyone who entered – we were overwhelmed by the beauty of all the dishes that were created. It was a very tough decision this month!
His entry for the Farmhouse Hearty Breakfast theme was this amazing smoked haddock salad, poached egg, sauteed new potatoes and wholegrain mustard vinaigrette.
We love learning more about our customers and were very happy when Chef Michele Mirabile of The Master Builder’s in Bucklers Hard very kindly agreed to tell us about more about himself and his work.
Chef Michele Mirabile receiving his prize for winning the December #MakeItPlateItShareIt competition from his Harvest Business Development Manager, Darren Hughes.
Why did you become a chef?
It is the most exciting and interesting job. It’s about feelings. You put your heart and soul into it. It’s like being an artist.
Have you had any formal culinary training?
I spent 5 years at catering college in Italy. My main education came from my grandma (Nonna Loretta), who was extremely strict, passionate and a perfectionist.She was practising slow cooked food processes years before kitchens started using the same practices.
What helps you unleash your creativity in the kitchen?
The thought of always trying to outdo myself. I WANT TO BE BETTER TODAY THEN I WAS YESTERDAY!
Most of my creativity and ideas come when I put my children (Elizabeth and Frank) to bed. It’s peaceful and quiet and it’s the most important time because that’s when the ideas come.
How do you make your magic work in the kitchen?
It’s important to have a good team working with you. THE TEAM IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT FOR ACHIEVING SUCCESS.
It’s like a family. You need communication and respect. Treat people as you would like to be treated. When everyone respects each other like human beings, that’s what works best. That’s how I think WE make the magic work in the kitchen.
I like my guys to think of us like the Spartans in 300. *chef laughs*
How important is gaining a Michelin Star Rating to you?
It is an important achievement, however I feel it is more important for me to have a fully booked restaurant. Gaining a Michelin star gives you the input to focus more and more. The pressure is high and the expectation that comes with it is high.
How important are serving plates to the dining experience and how involved are you with choosing / designing them?
It is important. The excitement can be limited though because as chefs we get bored. The plate enhances the beauty of the food, but not the quality. The quality comes from the food/produce and the provenance. I choose the equipment in the kitchen and we are currently choosing the new plates as we speak.
What do you predict will be the big food trends for the next 12 months?
Vegetarian and vegan. Healthy food is EN VOGUE. With seasonal veg, this trend can only get bigger and bigger.
What is your favourite ingredient and why?
Beetroot. The sweetness, texture and variety. You can do a lot with it. It’s a must have in my kitchen along with scallops and peas.
What are your 3 kitchen secrets?
Calmness, teamwork and selecting the best suppliers.
With calmness and teamwork, you create the job.
With the best suppliers and the 2 traits I said earlier, you can create something special!!
Common Quotes from Chef
“THE CHEF DOES NOT NEED TO SHOUT AND SCREAM.”
“HAVING THE POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT CONTROL
Click here for more information about The Master Builder’s at Bucklers Hard.
City College Awards Evening
On Wednesday 7th November, a team from Harvest Fine Foods attended the 2018 City College Awards in Southampton and we were delighted to win the Employer Recognition Award. Learn more HERE.
Hampshire Care Association and Harvest Fine Foods Host Care Cook Workshops
We were pleased to announce that as a patron of The Hampshire Care Association, we sponsored and hosted Care Cook Workshops for healthcare professionals, who were part of the association, on Thursday 18th October. Read the full news release HERE.
Harvest Fine Foods supplies the UK’s first zero plastic solution
Life Water is the first UK company to produce a zero-plastic solution, where pure, natural spring water is sold in 100% recyclable tin cans and enjoyed by people on the go, with the aim to alleviate the world water crisis. Find out why we are delighted to be working with them from our Sales Director here.
A “‘No deal’ Brexit could cost food retailers and suppliers £9.3bn
According to a recent article in Farming Sector, a “No deal” Brexit could cost food retailers and suppliers £9.3bn. The Barclays report shows specific duties in result of a no deal will disproportionately target certain products including meat, cereal, olive oil, wine and sugar-based foods”. Read what our managing director has to say about how it could impact our customers here.
Find out about our NEW competition.
Make It, Plate It, Share It to win a £20 from Love2Shop HERE.
Harvest Fine Foods Emerges as one of the UK’s premier food service enterprises.
Read the full article, which appeared inside FoodChain magazine HERE.
We are delighted to introduce our fantastic 2018 Christmas selection. We have carefully selected the essential items, as well as the indulgent specialities, which we feel will help make your Christmas a great success. Download the full The Harvest Fine Foods Christmas Brochure or contact us for a hard copy.
We are sponsoring the Rotary Dorset Bike Ride
With its seventh annual event, the Rotary Dorset Bike Ride is returning and hoping to exceed £250,000. Cyclists of all ages and abilities are being urged to saddle up once again for the 2018 Rotary Dorset Bike Ride to help raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK. After the success of last year’s event, which raised over £41,000 with more than £37,000 going to Cancer Research UK, the ride is returning once again this autumn for all the family.
Read the full article HERE.
An update on weather related crop shortages
The European vegetable processing sector have raised concerns about potential losses to crop quantity and quality as a result of the very hot summer and prolonged drought conditions in all leading European production regions.
Learn more HERE
Students battle it out in Tri-College culinary competition
Culinary students from Fareham College, Highbury College and City College Southampton all took part in a MasterChef-style intercollege competition, aimed at bringing the three colleges together and allowing the students to show off their cooking skills in a professional kitchen environment…
Read the full article HERE.
Country Range – The Award Winning Brand
It’s been a fantastic week for Country Range Brand with a “Magnificent 7” individual product awards…