Pershore College is supplying a top London restaurant with a range of unusual micro veg, micro leaves and herbs.
Students from a mix of different horticulture courses are growing the fresh produce for top chef Simon Rogan’s restaurant, Fera at Claridges.
They are cultivating a range of quirky “micro” ingredients for the chef, including a range of kales – such as Russian, red, and blue curly – radishes, carrots, turnips, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes and edible flowers.
The crops, which are overseen by commercial manager John Farmer, are harvested once a week in various quantities and are a result of a partnership between the Vale of Evesham-based college and the chef that started around a year ago.
Pershore College’s intermin principal Tamsin Jones said: “The academic benefits of this partnership are amazing – our students are able to see how produce goes from field to fork within six weeks. We become growers ourselves. It adds a bit of diversity to the curriculum.”
Pershore College communications officer Madelyn McAlpine added: “We knew they [Fera] were looking for a growing partner in the Vale of Evesham and they were aware of Pershore’s horticultural heritage.”
The partnership is thriving to such an extent that both Simon Rogan and his executive chef Dan Cox are giving a free talk at Pershore on 20 May (2015) on “Growing Perfect Ingredients” as part of the college’s summer season of events to celebrate its 60th anniversary (to book place at www.warwickshire.ac.uk/events).
As well as celebrating its 60th anniversary and growing food for the top chef, the college – which is part of Warwickshire College Group – is also currently undergoing a multi-million pound redevelopment that is seeing the building of a new glasshouse facility.
Pershore is also set to form further strong links with industry by developing ‘field to fork’ educational courses as part of the government’s new Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) project. This is seeing the Vale of Evesham become one of eleven new FEZ zones to better enable and promote the growing of local food.