First Trade Show. The hunt for suppliers begins.
Last week I went to my first ever trade show on behalf of Zymologists.
Bidfoods, a wholesale supplier of ingredients, foodstuffs and catering supplies had a expo at the Old Trafford Cricket ground, which gave you the chance to talk to a number of suppliers of everything from coffee and ice cream to napkins and chopping boards, and of course, try free samples of their food products.
It was a great experience to be able to go and see what options are available so early in setting up the bakery, to help me get some inspiration for the menu, and get some ideas for the equipment that I may want to add to the kitchen. Choosing the right equipment and tools is really important to make sure that you can keep things sanitary and clearly identified, especially when dealing with allergens, or minimise the amount of wasted effort or space in day-to-day baking.
One of the key aims of Zymologists is that I want to offer exciting and innovative recipes and great tasting food to my customers, and that can only be achieved with the best tasting ingredients from high quality suppliers. The only way to ensure this is to try items myself, and to ask suppliers questions about where their items come from and how things are made. If products are mediocre or have poor providence, then I do not want them in my bakery, and I don’t want to serve them to my customers.
Key items I was looking at today were sandwich filling ingredients such as cheese, prepared meats, sauces/condiments and salad vegetables. It was a little hit and miss, with many things on offer being underwhelming but my biggest success came from a very unexpected area: vegan cheese!
Historically, I have always found vegan cheese to be very disappointing, if not downright offensive, but today, for the first time, I tried some that was not just acceptable, but genuinely nice, clearly things have come on from the tasteless blocks of grease that I had encountered before.
I am very please to be able to offer this dairy free alternative, whilst knowing it has not compromised the flavour of the meal
Another success was talking to supplier of plant based packaging materials that are 100% biodegradable. While I want to encourage people to utilise reusable items such as coffee cups as much as possible, I realise that this is not always an option especially for takeaway orders, so being able to provide plastic free cups, bags and cutlery is great. Again, historically these products have felt a little flimsy or have started dissolving while you are still using them, but these were solid and robust, so I am pleased that these will be suitable.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of the attention to detail and care that is going to what I am doing at Zymologists to give a great product and experience that means you can enjoy your meal and know that your doing the planet good at the same time.