‘Cooked From Scratch’ – who are they?

About Claire – Owner of ‘Cooked From Scratch’

“I’ve been a passionate foodie for many years and have cooked for most of my life.
Fed up with convenience foods, I made the momentous decision a few years ago to not buy or eat anything that’s not cooked from scratch. The reasons are many and we only have to see the food stories in the news, almost on a daily basis, to make us think about what we’re actually eating.
That decision reignited a love and passion for cooking I’d forgotten I had. I’ve since attended courses to improve my skills and read literally hundreds of books and magazines as well as cooked everything we eat as a family on a daily basis (including our bread, pasta, jams, chutneys, sauces, cakes, biscuits and just about anything else you can think of) from scratch.

People really enjoy my food, and so many don’t have the desire, time or skills to cook, but worry about what is in the ready-made food they buy – so as a result, I decided to completely change career and offer people the opportunity to have the same quality of food that we enjoy as a family. And Cooked From Scratch was born!”

What’s our Food Hygiene Rating?

I am fully registered with the local council, have attended and passed the required Food Hygiene course (obtained 100%) and have received help and advice from the council in relation to food hygiene. As of 22/10/14, I have been awarded a grading of 5 for hygiene.

What about qualifications?

I have attended numerous cookery courses over the years, includng an advanced course at the Culinary Cottage in Abergavenny.  Recently, in order to gain that ‘piece of paper’ I have undertaken & passed the certified Masterclass with Angela Gray at her cookery school in Llanerch Vineyard.  I have also recently undertaken the Advanced Masterclasses.

What’s in our food?

It depends what it is – but you can rest assured that everything is 100% cooked from scratch.  There are no sneaky shortcuts or processed ingredients.  If you have a buffet, the bread will be homemade (as well as everything else).  You won’t get sandwiches made from supermarket bread.

What about the quality?

Being a passionate foodie, I know that the quality of ingredients used is paramount to producing a fantastic finished dish.  So, I will use the best quality ingredients I can to produce the food, for example, a chicken dish would never be produced using the cheapest chicken breasts from a supermarket.  Whereas there is a place for & a requirement for mass produced, quick growing meat that’s not what I’m about.  See more info on this under the Suppliers section.

Do we use local suppliers?

Yes, as much as possible.  I am always looking for Welsh companies who can supply me with the ingredients I need to produce my food.  Supporting local business is very important to me.  This is an ongoing process and I will update with news on our suppliers whenever I can.  If you can recommend a local business, please feel free to do so.

Where do we get our fruit & vegetables?

I am very pleased to be working with a local business based in Tonyrefail & Cardiff- W R Bishop, suppliers of fruit & veg to many Cardiff restaurants & cafes as well as more local businesses.

It’s very important to me that my fruit & vegetables are supplied by a local company, but also that the produce is Welsh or British when in season.  Why, for example, buy strawberries from Spain in the middle of the summer when British strawberries are at their very best at this time?

Where do we get our meat?

Again, using local suppliers is very important to me and I am pleased to say I am working with Penrhiw Organic Farm for the majority of my organic meat. Should they not be able to supply me with what I need, then I either source my meat from www.farmison.com (high quality, fully traceable meat) or I will buy the highest quality meat I can source from a supermarket. The meat will always be at least free range, corn-fed etc., but preferably organic.

What about fish?

All the fish I purchase for my products is MSC certified, sustainable and responsibly sourced.  Wherever possible it is line or pole caught also.  If a dish contains white fish that does not have to be a certain variety, I will use a sustainable fish such as Pollack to take the strain from those in short supply.

What are our views on seasonality?

This is of paramount importance to me – dishes available will always relate to the season in question.  The content of buffets will be adjusted to reflect what’s in season.  After all, imported strawberries in December will never taste as good as our own in July.

Seasonal food is better for us – it’s fresher because it hasn’t been imported half way across the world, it tastes better and it also makes it special.  Something that is only available for a short period of time, such as asparagus, is always going to taste better than something that’s around all year – it has to be savoured, looked forward to and enjoyed at its optimal best.

Are all the ingredients organic?

After much deliberation and a period of time using organic meat and dairy in all products, I have decided to give my customers the choice with regards choosing organic or non-organic.

As I find myself moving more and more towards using organic ‘everything’ personally, it was a natural step to bring this into the business.

However, not everyone is bothered about having organic and not everyone can afford to pay for it. So, choice was the solution.

But, even non-organic versions of the products will contain high quality ingredients – it will never be the cheap, mass manufactured chicken, battery eggs etc.

With regards to meat, you can be assured it will always be free range, corn-fed etc. at the very least.  There are many hard working, committed farmers out there who strive to produce high welfare, high quality meat but are not able to invest financially in the organic certification process.

Eggs will always be at least free range and Welsh.

Everything that can be will be British and farm assured.  There are exceptions of course – for example, we don’t grow lemons and limes in this country.

What about people with allergies or specific dietary requirements?

Please just let me know – recipes can be adjusted or special dishes produced to ensure your needs are met.
 I am lucky enough to be able to work with a qualified food nutritionist (Ruth Thomas, CRT Training – http://www.crt-training.co.uk/index.html) should the need arise, so inform me if you have very specific requirements.

Committee Member – Pontyclun Business Community

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Area Leader – 4Networking

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