A range created with the finest local ingredients and made in Belfast has been awarded four stars at this year’s Great Taste Awards, joining some of the most impressive local food products in Northern Ireland.
Henderson Wholesale’s The Chef range has seen four of its fresh, pre-prepared meals receive one star each by judges elected by The Guild of Fine Foods, who described the meals as “a great ready meal for anyone’s table” and “a wonderful rustic, homely looking product”.
The award winners include family favourites chicken and broccoli bake, lasagne, Irish beef stew and mango chicken curry, all made by chef Carl Johannesson and his 27-strong team from the dedicated Henderson Kitchen in Randalstown using ingredients from local suppliers, including K&G McAtamney, Bradmount and Henderson Foodservice.
Judges also said of the chicken and broccoli bake: “The sauce is stunning, full of chicken flavour.
“This has been very well made to give a great tasting morish comforting product”.
The Irish Beef Stew, they said, was “very tasty, warming and wholesome” and of the lasagne, “great comfort food”.
The Chef is one of Henderson Wholesale’s most popular own-brand ranges, with the company investing £120,000 earlier this year to give it a fresh new look and broaden recipe development.
The brand comprises more than 40 mains and sides, meals for one and well-rounded under 500 calorie meals and is available at 70 Spar, Eurospar and ViVo branded stores across Northern Ireland.
The Great Taste Award Stars come as the team gets ready to launch a new Autumn/Winter menu in the coming weeks.
Neal Kelly, Fresh Foods Director at Henderson Group, says the quality of local produce here is second to none: “Receiving such recognition as Great Taste Awards confirms that local collaboration and sourcing is what makes really great, fresh products for our retailers to offer shoppers.
“We know our shoppers are looking for convenience, value and quality and they get all of that and more in The Chef range, with each recipe created with local tastes in mind.
“Our own brand ranges generated sales of £14 million in 2020, which only serves to boost our local agri-food industry, keeping food miles down and using local meat and produce from suppliers and farmers here.
“The Great Taste stars are fantastic recognition for the hard work, research, collaboration and end product that chef Carl has produced with his team and our local suppliers.”
Chef Carl Johannesson added: “Being able to bring together flavours from around the world, using ingredients that we have personally been out to taste and research, and make this
experience collaborative with our top farmers, suppliers and growers in Northern Ireland is a chef’s dream come true.
“I’m very proud to be The Chef behind The Chef and credit the whole team with this fantastic recognition from the Great Taste Awards.”
This is the sixth year of success for Henderson Wholesale and it own-brand ranges, picking up a total of 18 stars since 2016 awarded to enjoy local, The Chef and desserts by The Kitchen products.
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