Changes are happening in a National Trust café near you. With the introduction of our new food policy, expect something fresh and local at your special place soon. Clive Goudercourt takes time out to tell us more about his part in the new food initiative.
Who are you?
Clive Goudercourt- Development Chef for the National Trust
What does a development chef do?
A lot of it is around developing recipes and menus that can be utilised by property teams, the cafes and outlets. There’s a lot of engagement in it as well, listening to teams and customers, what the best sellers are, the best sandwich style, that sort of thing. And then looking at recipes that we currently use and see what way we can adapt them to make them more attractive in terms of value to customers with the aim to make it a more enjoyable experience.
What is the new food policy and what’s different about it?
What’s different about it is at the moment there’s a whole team driving this policy, with a greater skill base about how we can drive our core food strategy forward. Its about giving customers what they want, but also doing that in a way that’s in line with the Trust’s values and beliefs around food. So procurement, production, utilising English produce, things like that.
What do you hope to achieve through the new food initiative?
I hope that we can use more local products and utilise more local producers of food. Showcasing farmer’s work produced on NT land or in NT properties. A really good example is Jeremy Benson (one of our tenants in Gloucestershire), whose juice drinks are now in every Trust outlet. Another great case includes the Wimpole estate in Cambridgeshire, where they produce huge amounts of produce at the farm on the back of a large investment going into the local land.
Ultimately what id like to achieve is all about our catering outlets serving and selling food that our customers find very enjoyable, and hopefully encouraging them to come back for more so that our restaurants and cafes become more of an integral part of the visit to a NT property. I want us to have a compelling offer, representing great value out of the food we make in the kitchens on premises.
Do you have a favourite NT Cafe? What’s your special place?
I love them all for different reasons; I still have a long way to go in getting round them all. The project that I’ve been working on for the past year has been taking me around 8 or 9 different places. The combination of things I appreciate the most are the location of the property, the environment of the kitchens and the teams that work in there. I don’t really have a favourite place, however if I had to choose it might be the place I originally started work with the National Trust, which is Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. It’s my local place and being where I started it holds special memories for me.
What’s the best thing about working at the National Trust?
The best thing about working for the National Trust for me is the diversity of the teams, you can visit two properties close to each other but be completely different in what they do and offer. From big cafes in stately homes to remote ones in the peak district of Derbyshire, to tiny little ones in the middle of a town centre, I just think its such a diverse business in catering that we’ve got. Being a part of that and actually being a part of this new food policy at a time where we’re starting to drive it forward and make a difference with the teams we work with is terrific. For me it’s the combination of people, places and the ethics behind what the Trust stands for when it comes to food.
You can discover more about the Trust’s enticing new food policy in the summer edition of the National Trust magazine, including news about the involvement of Michelin starred chef Angela Hartnett, and a recipe for a sumptuous summer salad.