The Producers … Fuud Catering, Leigh on Sea
PUBLISHED: 11:01 02 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:01 02 September 2014
TO say Richard James has his fingers in many pies would be no exaggeration. As a trained chef, Richard, who owns his own outside catering business after training in London, has worked for many years in restaurants in Southend. He was great friends with the former owner of the Pipe of Port restaurant in Southend and when he heard they were giving up their purpose-built kitchen they owned for making their well-known pies, Richard jumped at the chance to take it over.
‘When I began the event catering business I was initially sharing a kitchen, but due to the demand for BBQs, weddings and corporate events, I quickly outgrew it and so I was looking for somewhere of my own. Steve not only let me take over his kitchen, he also trusted me with all of his cherished pie recipes, so now we supply the pies to the Pipe of Port.’
The most popular is the Chicken and Chestnut pie which won an award at the Great British Pie Awards last year. Richard is keen to work with local suppliers and uses ales from the Brentwood Brewing Company for the Steak and Ale and Chicken and Ale pie recipes and also for the Christmas Puddings he makes once a year to a recipe which won him a Great Taste Award.
It was also by having the kitchen that he was first approached by Helen Perry. Helen had been producing finger foods for babies for the past two years, but was looking for a professional kitchen environment so that she could expand the business. With Richard and Helen working together, they launched Fab Finger Foods for children of six months upwards.
‘We supply a range of foods which are sugar, salt and nut free. We also do food which is suitable for vegetarians and some dairy-free options too,’ adds Richard.
Although the range is somewhat limited at present, there are plans to expand it further in the near future. Currently available, the choices include broccoli and cauliflower fritters, beef and pea samosas and banana bread and apple rolls for dessert. All the foods are supplied frozen, so you can order them from the website and they are sent by overnight courier. They are also available via selected farm shops and delis, while Richard visits baby shows too and there are plans to supply nurseries and playgroups in Essex.
‘We just want to provide parents with a choice of nutritious baby food, which is a bit different too,’ says Richard.
You may also see Richard at some of the Essex festivals this summer. You’ll find Richard in ‘Franc’ — a 1968 Citroen HY van originally from the Cavagnac region in France, although Richard actually found it in Colchester.
‘It’s been converted to a fully-equipped street food van and there’s not many in the country, so it’s quite rare. It certainly turns heads and I hire it out for private events too.’
Get the taste
Unit 15 Progress Business Park
55 Progress Road
Leigh on Sea
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