Life is Sweets
Posted on 30 November 2023
Puddings are a big part of COOK, in fact it could be said that the idea for COOK was borne out of a pudding. Ed and Rosie, who run the business, are brother and sister; their parents, Andrew and Anne, used to run their own small bakery. Their handmade frozen cakes were so popular that Ed started wondering why no-one was making savoury meals in the same way.
He persuaded one of his favourite clients, Dale, to quit his job and join him. Even though the original name has changed from the rather prosaic Cakes & Casseroles to COOK, the business’ founding statement remains the same to this day: “To use the same ingredients and techniques a good cook would use at home, so everything looks and tastes homemade.”
It wasn’t long before another member joined team COOK, a lovely lady called Liz Dove. She was busy making cakes at home, one of which Ed happened to buy from a local farm shop. He thought it was so good that he found Liz’s name on the packaging and tracked her down. She retired a couple of years ago, but for over two decades she was the power behind the puds, converting an old cow shed into our first real puddings kitchen.
Since then, the kitchen has moved to new premises in Ilton in Somerset and, as ever, the founding statement followed. Always has, always will. The stirring, mixing, patting, baking, layering, rolling is all done as you would at home, it’s just on a bigger scale – mountains of meringue, crates of cream, pallets of pavlovas.
Despite there being a fair few miles between Kent, where our savoury kitchens are based, and Somerset, there are always lots of the team wanting to visit the Puddings Kitchen. Recently, it was the Brand Team’s turn. So, we packed our bags – leaving plenty of space for some take-home goodies! – and off we trundled.
The trip was a treat, from start to finish. As soon as you pull up in the car park wafts of deliciousness hit you … it makes arriving a pleasure and leaving painfully hard.
The smells are sweet, but so is the atmosphere, so welcoming and friendly. It really is like a big family, which makes sense when you meet the many family members working here. Lots of mother and daughter duos, and a husband and wife team too. Sarah, the General Manager at Puddings, comes to work every day with her husband Ollie, the marvellous Maintenance Manager, who says he looks forward to getting out of bed each morning and coming to work. It’s a happy place to be.
He’s right. We smiled our way around the kitchen, practising the utmost self-restraint not to dive headfirst into the mixing bowls. The highlight for all of us was watching the rolling of the roulade - an art form. In fact, one of the greatest perks of the job is having an extra-long roulade rolled especially for you if you get married, one that’s long enough to feed all the wedding guests. It has to be said that there was a quiet moment, as some of us contemplated a second marriage for this reason alone!
So, when you next tuck into a COOK pudding, enjoy knowing it was made by hand with great care by the fantastic team in Somerset. More than just a sweet treat, these puddings comfort and cosset, they’re the food equivalent to a big, warm, friendly hug.
Mel, Brand Team