CHA members cook up for Independents’ Day

Some 30 members of the Cookshop & Housewares Association (CHA) gathered at Eckington Manor Cookery School in Worcestershire last week to take part in the CHA Independents’ Day 2013.

CHA members cook up for Independents' Day

The theme of this year’s event, held on June 17, was ‘Come Dine With Me’, based on the Channel 4 series of the same name.

The attendees – all independent retailers – found out how to use products supplied by the event’s sponsors to create dishes to impress their fellow delegates (or ‘dinner guests’).

The first session of the day was sponsored by Le Creuset, who brought along its group home economist Judy Harper. She led a demo on how to make spelt blinis with mustard sour cream, beetroot and smoked mackerel, using the Le Creuset toughened non-stick frying pan and black professional spatula. Once the demo was completed, it was over to the teams to replicate the tastes and presentation.

Marcus Findlay of Nordic Ware took to the stage next, with a

session entitled ‘Top of the Pops’, which consisted of making pie pops and cake pops. Marcus set two challenges: to make pastry and mini pies in a pastry pop press; and, while these were in the oven, to decorate some pre-made cake pops and present them in a dome cake pop stand.

The third challenge was to create summer burgers and guacamole using burger press machines provided by Dexam. The supplier also demonstrated a host of different products including the Chef’n Veggie Chop, Garlic Zoom, Safe Slice mandolin and lemon and lime press.

The Veggie Chop was voted the top product of the day by the retailers present – many saying they had seen it before but not realised how simple it was to use, and how well it worked.

The final session of the day was from DKB. Food campaigner, farmer and chef Rachel Green talked about and demonstrated the importance of seasoning and flavouring.

Delegates were set the challenge of preparing two dips: a salsa verde and a garlic mayonnaise accompanied by lamb or salmon. They used an assortment of DKB tools and gadgets, such as the Cole & Mason pestle & mortar, the Zyliss knives and peelers and the Zyliss Susi 3 garlic press.

The team who impressed the judges most throughout the four sessions, and won a bottle of champagne each, was ‘Baking Buddies’ consisting of Sarah Wood of Trevor Mottram, David Wright of Steamer Trading Cookshop and Claire Cattle of Overt Lock.

CHA said it would like would like to thank the event sponsors – Le Crueset, Nordic Ware, Dexam, DKB – and headline sponsor bira direct, for making it a fantastic event which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

The CHA is the national trade association for independent cookshop and housewares retailers. CHA has been supporting retailers since 1994 and is a specialist division of the British Independent Retailers Association (bira).

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