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In the Kitchen with Phil and Liam

Added 988 days ago. 11 February 2019

Welcome to our behind the scenes feature taking you inside the Wiltshire Farm Food’s kitchen with chefs Phil and Liam, who have been creating award-winning dishes with us for over 10 years.

So, if you’re intrigued as to what goes on behind the stove, our Head Chef Phil and Development Chef Liam, tell us what we can expect to find – along with great tips on must have essential items and staple ingredients!
We sat down with Phil and Liam over a cuppa and a slice of Ginger Drizzle to find out more.

Let’s start at the beginning! What inspired you to become a chef?

Phil: I developed a love of food from a young age, and so decided to study cookery at college. It was here I fell in love with the passion and energy of the professional kitchen and haven’t looked back.
Liam: Having worked in different roles within Wiltshire Farm Foods, I progressed into the kitchens over time. Completed my training with various qualifications and haven’t looked back for over 10 years now!

So you know your way around the kitchen and never fail to produce fabulous new meals for the range – but where do you find your inspiration?

Liam: I often find inspiration when I’m out and about. For example, the idea to create the Lamb with Redcurrant & Red Wine Sauce was inspired by my local farm shop. After speaking to the waiter about their menu he suggested I tried the braised lamb in a red wine jus with seasonal veg and creamy mash. Everything complemented each other really well and I thought our customers would love it, so I’ve made my very own version of the dish – let me know what you think.

Phil:  We are continually taking feedback and inspiration from our own customers too. We get our customers to try meals which are in development to find out what they like, in order to use real feedback to make our meals the best they can be.

In particular, when we are considering new meals for our customers with special dietary requirements, we look at what is popular across all our other ranges – so those with a texture modified diet or special dietary needs can still enjoy all their favourite meals.

What’s your favourite meal from the WFF Range and why?

Liam: Undoubtable, I would have to say the Chicken in Red Wine Casserole is a delicious choice – full of flavour, it’s also the very first meal I developed for Wiltshire Farm Foods. If you haven’t already, definitely give it a try.
Phil: Either the Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding, or I really enjoy our Chicken Jalfrezi or Chicken with Black Bean Sauce and Rice from our Indian and Chinese Range for some real authentic flavours and spices.
And don’t forget the pudding!
Liam: Absolutely, everyone deserves a sweet treat. I love Crème Caramel as it takes me back to my childhood when my Grandparents used to give it to me.
Phil: This ginger drizzle is hitting the spot. I often opt for something traditional like a syrup sponge

Do you have a role model within the food industry?

Liam: I would have to say Tom Kerridge – he does great British pub grub using good quality ingredients with a twist or a special touch to impress.
Phil: I’ve always been a big fan of Shaun Hill, a chef many in the industry look up to. He’s spent nearly 50 years in the kitchen and has headed up various Michelin-starred restaurants throughout his career. As a chef, Shaun tends to stay under the radar always focussing on the quality of ingredients to make some sensational seasonal menus.

What is one meal that should always be on any menu?

Liam: That’s easy. A good roast dinner – it’s a British classic tradition – I have one every Sunday.

Phil: For me, it’s all about British classics too – but I couldn’t pick one, so it’s got to be either Roast Beef or Cottage Pie.

Do you have a favourite ingredient from the store cupboard? 

Phil: I have two: Salt and Lemon juice. Both are flavour enhancers and can be used to lift all sorts of flavours, savoury or sweet.

Liam: Chilli – anything with Chilli! I love to add kick and spice to any meal.

What is the most essential item in your kitchen?

Phil: Speaking literally, I have to say knives and a dishwasher. I couldn’t do my job without them!
Liam: That’s true. I think, apart from usual knives and essentials, that a hand blender is a great piece of equipment. I use it for stocks, sauces, etc. and it can help you be even more creative with your cooking and flavours.

I’m sure like most of us, you’ve felt the pressure in the kitchen on a few occasions! But what’s the largest number of people you’ve cooked for?

Liam: Got to be Wiltshire Farm Foods Awards Evenings.
Phil: We held an event when we won our first Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2006, I cooked for 175 people – including the Duke of Kent who was visiting our kitchen. It was a real honour and a privilege.

Finally, if you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would be your top guests?

Phil: My top three dinner party guests would be; Peter Kay (he’s a funny man and we’re both from Bolton), Martin Johnson (I’ve always been a big rugby supporter) and Sir Ranulph Fiennes (the British explorer - he’s always been another idol as he’s just one of a kind).
Liam: Russell Howards! He’s a great news/stand-up comedian – he’s just brilliantly entertaining and so funny. What more could you need at a dinner party!

Delivering award winning meals for over 25 years

Since Wiltshire Farm Foods began in 1991, our chefs have been striving to deliver the most delicious and nutritious meals for our lovely customers who enjoy food made with care and attention.
Here at Wiltshire Farm Foods we think our menu should be as varied as our customers are individual! Blending traditional meals with a variety of new flavours and options, we are proud of the menu we offer. That’s why we have careful crafted a section fit for a variety of diets and taste buds, including a range of special dietary needs. View our full range here.
As always, the proof is in the pudding! Order one of our frozen ready meals for a true taste of what goes on inside Wiltshire Farm Foods kitchen.

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