Make Your Menu British: Top Tips From Jonathan Taylor

On a recent trip to Chicago, and in my latest article, I detailed some of the latest food trends that were taking over the States; topped potato products, self-service style restaurants and one dish concept restaurants seem to be taking the industry by storm. One trend that I’d like to go into more detail on is provenance - how this is being achieved in the US and how we can do it in the UK.

One point that I made in my previous article was that the US, given its size, focusses less on provenance and regionally sourced food and more on ‘freshly prepared’ ingredients. “Live” food and meals being made to order played a big part in the foodservice industry – freshly prepared sandwiches, onsite bakeries, rotisseries and smokehouses are just a few examples of how America is showcasing ‘provenance’.

However in the UK, a country 40 times smaller than the US (in fact there are 11 states that are bigger than the size of the UK) provenance can be achieved not only on a local level but on a national level too. Not only is this important to do as it helps support local and national businesses and economies (and tends to be fresher too) but eating ‘regionally’ has long been part of our cultural and culinary heritage. Think Yorkshire puddings, Cornish blue cheese and haggis! What’s great about Britain is that, unlike our friends over the pond, we’re able to showcase ‘provenance’ in our restaurants, hospital canteens and schools relatively easily, all it takes is a couple of fine tweaks to make your menu even more British.

Without too much of a “Sales” spiel, at McCain Foodservice we pride ourselves on being able to say that our 300 UK growers are a fundamental part of our business. We're committed to using British potatoes wherever possible, making it an easy way for caterers to create a British menu all the year round. McCain is a leading supporter of the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme and all of our UK growers are members.

With British Food Fortnight (19th September – 4th October) only around the corner here are a few suggestions on how you can transform your menu.

Serving suggestions - British Themed Topped Potatoes

British Food Fortnight is a great opportunity for creative chefs to combine the growing trend for Casual Dining with British favourites, while still making a healthy margin. It’s also a great opportunity to capitalise on some of the other growing trends in the US and put a British twist on them, topped chips is a great way to do this.

First of all, you need to ensure you’re selecting the right chip to be topped! In my humble opinion, the chunkier the chip, the better; why not try our Gastro Chip!

Combine them with British themed toppings and promote them as part of a British Fortnight special menu.  I’m sure there will be plenty of great ideas on show during the week but here are a few of my favourites to get you started: 

“Cheese & Pickle” - strong cheddar, lightly melted and topped off with a couple of spoonful’s of your favourite pickle.

“Chips & Gravy” – hailing its way from northern England, generously pour rich onion gravy onto thick British chips. Chef’s tip… try adding some stuffing mix to your gravy to give you that complete Sunday dinner taste.

“Curry & Chips”- lightly spiced curry sauce, finished with toasted coconut and a spoonful of mango chutney.

“Cheese & Bacon” – add a generous topping of thick Wensleydale cheese sauce, with shards of smoked back bacon.

Looking for more recipe ideas for the Casual Dining industry? Take a look here