Local food in Jersey - A menu for all seasons with Ormer's Shaun Rankin

09/01/14

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Harvesting Jersey Royals by hand on the island's east coast

Local, local, local. It's the buzz-word in the food industry and restaurants pride themselves on the provenance of their ingredients. Is it so that we can feel better about consumption, or is there a benefit in eating food that's gone from field to fork in as little time as possible? Jersey, an island where it's more about food metres than food miles, is home to a crop of chefs who work closely with island farmers and fishermen to get the best local seasonal produce onto their menus. A leading light in championing local producers is Shaun Rankin, chef and proprietor at Ormer Restaurant, one of Jersey's four restaurants with a Michelin star. We spoke to him to find out why fresh, locally-produced food always has pride of place on his menu.


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Shaun Rankin and his team at Ormer

You're known as a champion of Jersey produce, and every vegetable side dish at Ormer features local seasonal produce. How important is this to you?
Yes, every vegetable side dish at Ormer is locally produced from the Jersey Royals through to the asparagus. I've been fortunate to cook all over the world so I can honestly say that Jersey's produce is world class. I've always let my menus be led by seasonality, ensuring the diner experiences the best quality and flavours, and here in Jersey we're fortunate to have a wide range of ingredients on our doorstep, not just seafood, vegetables and meat but also foraged ingredients from the coastline and woodlands.

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How fresh is fresh? Can ingredients go from field to fork in the same day and what difference does that make to flavour?
Absolutely. In fact Jersey Royal potatoes can be transferred to Ormer within an hour of coming out of the ground; the flavour retained when they are this fresh is phenomenal. I'm fortunate to work very closely with local growers Fungi Delecti who ensure that fresh ingredients are delivered to the restaurant and deli every day.

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What message about Jersey produce would you like Ormer's diners to take away with them?
'I think the flavour of local produce speaks for itself and hopefully ensures that people understand the hard work that has gone into nurturing the product. This island is full of passionate producers and some real characters that Jersey can be proud of.'

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Sourcing the freshest local produce...
 
Jamie Racjan from Fungi Delecti adds: 'Products like Jersey's tenderstem broccoli, or asparagus have a story behind them. They're grown here in the Jersey sunshine by small producers, so you know you're really eating with the seasons. And as Jersey's so small, you can be eating produce grown just a mile or two down the road on the same day it's picked, like our Jersey Royals for example. When they're in season, we wait for the farmer to dig the Jersey Royals out of the ground and then get them straight to the restaurant in time for lunch. It means that chefs are getting the maximum amount of flavour and freshness into their menu, which can only contribute towards Jersey's growing reputation as a centre for excellent food.'

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Jamie Racjan of Fungi Delecti and Shaun Rankin pictured at Fungi Delecti's Trinity location.

Shaun Rankin is Chef Proprietor of the Michelin-starred Ormer Restaurant in Jersey. Visit Ormer's website here, or click here to book a table.

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