Central Foods builds test kitchen modelled on the kit used by its customers

Gordon Lauder, managing director and Paul Hunt, executive chef

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has opened a new product development kitchen at its Northamptonshire headquarters to help in developing and showcasing the products it offers to foodservice operators.

The kitchen will be used by executive chef Paul Hunt and other members of the team to prepare items supplied by Central Foods, which will be served to visiting buyers from wholesalers and other organisations.

The kitchen has been fitted with the latest state-of the-art equipment including induction hobs, combi ovens, fryers, griddles and microwaves.

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It will also be used to trial new products that the company is considering listing, as part of its commitment to sourcing and offering high quality, on-trend products for foodservice operators across the UK and beyond.

“This new facility enables Central Foods to improve the way we showcase our products, as well as ideas of how best to serve them,” explained Gordon Lauder, managing director of Central Foods. “It will also help us when trying new products that we are considering adding to our range – helping us to keep abreast of the latest trends and continuing to offer our customers an appetising selection of food products that go down well with their own customers.”

The company supplies more than 400 different lines, ranging from vegetarian and free-from items, meat products, bakery items and canapés through to buffet products, desserts and puddings.

It currently sells to more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers, and foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry including schools, universities, pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, leisure centres, garden centres, cafés, care homes and many other outlets.

Chef Paul Hunt was brought on by Central Foods last year to showcase products supplied by the company and to take part in demonstrations and sampling sessions to help promote the range available.

He has been advising on the fit-out of the new product development kitchen to ensure that the state-of-the-art catering equipment installed matches the equipment used by chefs and professional caterers in their own kitchens.

“We have worked with Paul to make sure that we are developing food products using the same equipment that our foodservice customers will be using. This ensures we are confident any products we launch will perform exactly as they should in our customers’ kitchens, allowing them to easily replicate the dishes,” added Mr Lauder.

“The development is an extension to our current offices and has a glass roof, which fills the room with natural light – allowing us to showcase our products in the best possible way and take images for use on social media, to offer inspiration to chefs and kitchen staff across all types of operations.”

MAIN IMAGE: Central Foods managing director, Gordon Lauder, and executive chef, Paul Hunt, in the company’s new product development kitchen.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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