COOK Co-founder Dale Talks Potatoes

Posted on 27 January 2016

Tags: Good Business, Good Relationships, COOK Co founder

 Last year we got through 507,000kg of potatoes in the COOK kitchen. Whether you put that weight in Blue Whales (five) Donald Trumps (5,633) or cats (103,469), it’s a hard figure to get your head around. Suffice to say it’s a lot of spuds.

We asked COOK co-founder and chef extraordinaire Dale to give us the low down on this, the most humble of vegetables.

Q. What’s the first thing you think of when we say ‘potato’?

A. My first ever job. After leaving college I worked on a cruise ship called Northern Star. The year was 1973 and I was a 17-year-old desperate to leave home and see the world. As it turned out, my adventure only lasted four months because I got homesick and missed my girlfriend. My job was peeling potatoes, up to a tonne a day, then cutting or slicing them up depending on what they were for. I really was a spud basher!

Q. What is COOK’s potato of choice?

A. We use Maris Piper potatoes as they are a great all-rounder and have a low water content, so they make great mash. Occasionally we use other varieties if the quality of the Maris is not 100%.

Q. Where does COOK get its potatoes from?

A. At the minute our potatoes come from a farm in Essex, AWM Potatoes. Plenty of suppliers offer pre-peeled spuds, but they have normally been given a wash with a mild chemical to prevent them decolouring. We don’t want those chemicals in our food so we peel them ourselves in the COOK Kitchen. Until a couple of years ago we did it manually but now we’ve got a very clever machine called a rumbler. (What I wouldn’t have given for one of those on Northern Star!) Then we ‘eye’ them and cut them by hand. Normally we’re looking at about 2 tonnes a day.

In the next couple of days we’ll be sharing the recipe for Dale’s ultimate potato dish: a twist on Sauté Lyonnaise. So keep your eyes peeled. (See what we did there?)

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