Fitch in the Kitchen:
EDP Norfolk Home Chef of the Year, Mark Fitch, joins the team to share his love of Norfolk cooking
New column from our Home Chef of the Year
Ibecame the inaugural EAT Norfolk Home Chef of the Year at the glitzy awards evening at Open on 10 September. Less than a fortnight later, I was booked onto a sourdough bread making course, a birthday present from Mrs F.
So when I made my pitch to his editor-in-chiefness for a few EDP Norfolk column inches, the obvious starting point was a nimble, but also personal, tour of what local cookery classes are available. The previous course that sticks in my mind was a couple of years ago, as a mere aspiring home chef, at Marsh Pig Charcuterie in Claxton, just south of Norwich.
Then, I made (and importantly, returned home with) sausages, bacon and bresaola. Of equal importance were the easy-tofollow notes on cold and hot home smoking that I have used ever since. Yes, it’s all on the web, but so is how to change an oil filter or brew gin, and I’ll wager you’re that much more likely to actually try these things if you’ve been hand-held initially through the process by people who, without exception in my experience, are knowledgeable and fun and have generous stocks of alcohol.
So on to our day with chief baker Emmanuel (Mannie) Hanjiandreou at Bread Source on Upper St Giles Street in Norwich. Our bakes for the day were a white sourdough, a dark rye bread and a beetroot loaf.
Each one starts with the preprepared magic sourdough, taken from Mannie’s various ‘mother doughs.’ There is a fair amount of fermenting wizardry, I’ll admit, but again, the notes we were given are clear and detailed.
We lunched as our efforts proved. An exquisite quiche, buttery and creamy, with crisp salad, followed by cheesecake. Wine flowed. After baking, we left for home with our breads, a host of goodies from Bread Source and two special little mothers of our own with which to carry on the magic.
I have already met a number of fabulous Norfolk foodies since my September success, including Zena Leech-Carlton at Lodge Farm in Bawburgh. A trained chef and food writer of 30 years’ experience, she provides a host of cookery classes on food from around the world.
I dropped in recently and made Vietnamese spring rolls which we devoured with a host of dips, including kecap manis, a sweet Indonesian soy sauce
– a revelation for me. Potential food students of Norfolk – I have mentioned but three establishments willing and able to educate and entertain.
Of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention one of the judges that found in my favour and is, for the time being at least, one of my fellow columnists, Richard Hughes. Learn and enjoy!
ABOVE:Mannie and Mark take a lunch break