By SAM BUTLER
Lecale Harvest, an award-winning producer of gourmet meat and seafood products, has launched an innovative and delicious three-strong range of ready-to-eat dishes for home cooks.
Lecale’s new Kitchen range reflects the company’s roots in classic French cuisine of its founder Patrice Bonnargent, originally from Tours in the Loire and based in Northern Ireland for almost 30 years.
Produced at Harvest’s state-of-the-art processing operation at Ballynahinch in County Down, the Kitchen range features established French style dishes: Beef Bourguignon; Confit Duck Cassoulet with pork belly and Toulouse sausage; and Confit Duck and Puy Lentils. Each pack contains two 330g servings.
The small company, which is owned by Patrice, wife Joy and daughter Perrine, has already established business in GB, including customers such as Cotswold Fayre, and has won a Blas na hEireann Irish Food award.
Patrice, commenting on the new range for the growing number of home cooks due to lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic, says: “Our new Kitchen range is based on quality ingredients which are readily available for excellent suppliers in Northern Ireland, which we’ve used to create the ready-to-eat meals using classic French recipes which I’ve cooked from my upbringing in France and since coming to Northern Ireland.
“We’ve been encouraged by the success of our existing dishes such as pork belly and beef brisket as well as our range of seafood pates and also influenced by our market research which has indicated that cooking from scratch at home is now an important trend that’s set to grow, especially in the short-term.
“Each of the new gourmet products in the Kitchen range offers two servings for a complete and convenient main course experience,” he adds.
Patrice has vast experience in food production in both Northern Ireland and France.
His successful business began in growing and marketing fresh oysters, mussels and other seafood. He developed his own sustainable oyster and mussel beds at Killough on the Down coastline.
In addition to selling these locally, especially to high-end restaurants, he exports the fresh products to France.
He launched Lecale Harvest to develop the Killough oyster business around 20 years ago and subsequently decided to diversify into the creation of other dishes due to the seasonal nature of seafood in Northern Ireland.
The first step was the creation of an extensive range of pates in jars three years ago and subsequently moved into other food products.