Jane Rodmell is the lovely owner and director of All the Best Fine Foods. She graciously met with me over a morning cup of tea and passionately discussed her dedication to a sustainable lifestyle. The force behind All the Best, a celebrated author and an experienced chef, Rodmell indulged me with her ideas on why good food is important to her.
GFR: What does the idea of Good Food mean to you?
JR: For me, Good Food is wholesome food, natural food. Good Food is about getting as close to the source and as close to the earth as you can get, with as little interference from preservatives or additives.Good Food makes me happy. I love simple food, beautifully prepared. It can be as simple as three beautiful ripe tomatoes and a slice of goat cheese on a crispy baguette, with a glass of wine. That, to me, is simply beautiful and represents wholesome Good Food.
GFR: How do you implement your philosophy of Good Food at home and at All the Best?
JR: At various stages of my career, I used to spend hours and hours preparing what I would think would be the perfect beef bourguignon or the perfect roast chicken. I think that there are techniques in cooking that will enhance the character of what you’re preparing. If you make short cuts, it can diminish the quality of your dish. For example, when making curry, I think that it is important to start with the whole spice. Rather than opening a jar and using ground coriander that has probably been sitting in the cupboard for months, I take the time to toast and grind the spice myself. Taking a short-cut can affect the taste of a dish that could have been just wonderful. So when I’m cooking at home, I tend to avoid taking short-cuts.
At All the Best, Chef Olivia approaches food with the same perspective as I do. She was trained in the classic French manner, however she is not interested in very elaborate sources. At All the Best, we are interested in knowing the ingredient that we are working with, so that the technique used on it will only bring out the very best of that ingredient.
GFR: Do you ever assist Chef Olivia in the kitchen with cooking and preparing meals that are to be sold at All the Best?
JR: I’m not. They would send me out of the kitchen. For one thing, I’m too slow. A professional chef in a professional kitchen has to work very efficiently. Each chef will have their own station where they know preciously what they are doing. It’s a very fluid and well orchestrated schedule. There is not much time for someone like me who would be asking mundane questions. I love to talk and teach others about cooking.
GFR: Do you have any predictions for the future of good food?
JR: At All the Best prepared foods is the part of our business that we have seen grow by leaps and bounds. Peoples lives are so hectic and we have found that people want easy family meals.
GFR: I couldn’t help but notice that All the Best offers Chef Vikram Vij‘s frozen, prepared side dishes. Do you think more chefs will be participating in offering prepared foods?
JR: The technology for preparing freshly prepared food and offering it in a convenient pack has developed very quickly. In Europe, they are ahead of North America. The company Mark & Spencer has developed a way that allows them to carefully flash freeze or Tetra Pak food for easy consumption. It’s been seemingly difficult to find technology that preserves the flavour and the texture of food once it has been frozen. I think that there will be huge advances in the way food is frozen, but it will involve a huge capital investment. It will happen.
picture provided by Cottage Life