Black Dog Deli, Walberswick
Most people leaving the rat race of London, for a slice of country life in Suffolk, relish the idea of a more stress-free pace of living. But chef Andrew Storer, who returned to the county four years ago, after 20 years working in the city, says he’s more rushed off his feet than ever since taking on the Black Dog Deli in Walberswick in 2015.
“Working for the Roux brothers was a doddle compared to this,” he laughs. His foodie venture earned him a place as a finalist in the Best Newcomer category of the EADT Suffolk Food and Drink Awards this year. Andrew’s passion for cooking and making everything from scratch has led to the chef obsessively chopping, stirring, rolling and baking a huge amount of products for the deli. There’s hardly time for him to stop for coffee during his working day, which typically starts at 6.30am and ends around 10pm. It was his obsessive nature and need to sell only the very best that impressed the judges.
Andrew doesn’t just make quiches, sausage rolls, salads and cakes. He’s also churning out fresh homemade pasta in the autumn and winter months. And such is his reputation for frozen home cooked ready meals that he’s thinking about getting a production kitchen and finding someone else to manage the deli, while he rustles up all manner of epicurean delights to supply his own business and other delis and shops.
“My plan was always to open a deli and do something like I do now,” he says. “I try to use my chef skills to make all I can. My kitchen is tiny, and I think what we can do in that tiny kitchen is amazing. I try to keep it different all the time.”
At the moment he’s busy packing up picnic boxes for daytrippers to Walberswick, filled with hot chorizo salad, dressed crab salad, or maybe one of his much-loved sausage rolls with salad. His oven is working overtime baking brownies, flapjacks and dainty fancies studded with local raspberries for the hundreds of people flocking to the coast at the weekends.
As cooler weather sets in, and he reduces the shop hours to Wednesday to Sunday, Andrew’s trusty pasta machine will come out. It’s well worth making a trip to the shop just for a box of his delicious pasta. He can make around 400 pieces – from langoustine ravioli to wild mushroom and truffle casoncelli – at a time, and they sell out in a flash.
“Pasta’s a big thing for me here. I love making it. With my wife being Italian I spent six months there and did a stage (internship) trying to learn how to make pasta. It’s hard work in this little kitchen!
“I’m very proud of what I can do here. I became a chef because I love food – I’ve been cooking since I was 13 years old. And the feedback is incredible, people really do like us and often say to me, ‘You’re the person who makes this place, and that’s something because the food’s amazing’.”