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The Elephants Head in Hackney has partnered with start-up food supply platform, Foodchain to bring high quart fresh produce to the pub’s kitchen.
Time and again I have been disappointed by less-than-average pub grub or restaurant menus , so as a food writer I am fascinated by the way technology can improve the food industry for consumers. There is already a crossover market foodtech which will drive this forward. My forecast is that new technologies and big data analytics will allow consumers (Vada readers) much more insight into the food their eating, and for chefs to be able to more easily tailor their menus to meet local trends.
Who are Foodchain?
Foodchain is new tech start-up company who offer food suppliers and chefs a platform to connect, effectively revolutionising the way that chefs connect with their supply chain across the UK. They use technology to cut out the middleman (albeit they could still be considered one, but at a much lower mark-up), who enable delivering direct from the farm, boat or artisan’s studio, ensuring 100% transparency. Suppliers are able to share what they have available that day, and chefs can then choose to get in contact to purchase fresh produce. The carefully curated roster of Foodchain suppliers already features some high-profile names, including RU London Wild Fruits, Old Spike Roastery and George the Cheese Merchant.
This platform could lead to future developments to allow chefs to choose producers based not just on quality, or reputation, but also on location, meaning more locally-sourced produce.
How have Elephants Head pub gained
The Elephants Pub is one of the latest venues who have signed up to Foodchain. They can choose from a live feed of produce where the core elements of The Elephants Head menu are based, ideally with a smaller mark-up than traditional wholesalers. They effortlessly craft their menu around what’s in season, all from a range of high quality, British suppliers within the Foodchain community.
Elephants Head took this one step further, and last week allowed select customers to choose ingredients available via the app, with the chef curating a menu from these. Two important observations from this event: as a consumer, I knew the provenance of ingredients before I even arrived at the pub, and secondly this was a challenge of the chef’s creativity. The tasting menu started with breads, pickles and mutton chorizo to start, burrata, moved on to a selection of tempura seafood, followed by slow cooked goat and roast chicken with jersey royal potatoes. A cheese selection (from George the Cheese Merchant), and finally a rhubarb crumble.
The Hackney pub is taking advantage of the daily specials on offer from Foodchain, creating delicious dishes for their weekly changing á la carte menu that are inspired by the best ingredients available on the app. Traditional plates such as Crispy Cod Cheeks and Toad-in-the-Hole will be given a fresh, modern twist.
The benefit for consumers
Whilst Foodchain is not a consumer facing app, the outcome of using this platform is that chefs can promote a menu that is more focussed on local produce and quality ingredients. Having a better, direct relationship with suppliers (rather than via wholesalers) will mean consumers should be better informed about the heritage of the food their eating, and have access to more seasonally changing, British produce.
The Elephants Head is located at 43 Lower Clapton Road, London, E5 0NS.