Garden Gourme partners with award-winning chef for growing flexitarian market

Nestle’s Garden Gourmet has teamed up with award-winning chef, Jesse Dunford Wood, to inspire chefs to extend their plant-based repertoire. Helping food operators provide greater variety and choice for the growing number of vegetarians and 36% of consumers wanting to reduce their meat intake.

Owner of Parlour and Six Portland Road and celebrated food writer, Jesse is known for his quirky take on contemporary British cuisine, with signature dishes like ‘Cow Pie’ and twists on classics like Gala Pie and roast dinner.

Applying this skill to Garden Gourmet’s range of plant-based meat alternatives, he has reworked menu favourites to create dishes including a Chicken-Less Caesar Salad, Sensational BLT Burger, Glazed Meat-Style Balls with Broccoli Couscous and Deluxe Burger Sausage Roll.

Designed for vegetarians, flexitarians and meat-eaters alike, Jesse’s dishes show the versatility of plant-based dining. And that it’s possible to give consumer comforting classics with the health and low-carbon benefits of a plant-based diet.

Jesse will be presenting the recipes in a series of online videos and, to further demonstrate the versatility of plant-based, he'll host a Garden Gourmet cooking demo at the Plant Based World Expo on 15-16 October, where he'll be creating a meatball style dish with his favourite product from the range – the Garden Gourmet Sensational Burger.

The recipes are part of Garden Gourmet's #FlexUpYourMenu initiative. Taking a 360-degree approach towards evolving menus and food service, this provides a toolkit for food operators that want to keep up with consumer trends by building sustainability into their menus and operations.

Rohini Alam, Category Manager for Nestlé Professional, commented, “Jesse is the perfect advocate for Garden Gourmet. He's well-known for his refreshing takes on modern British classics. He’s also a strong believer in the future of plant-based and has the confidence and skill to transform plant-based meat alternatives like Garden Gourmet into delicious dishes, which will appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

As food operators experience ongoing challenges in their supply chain, it’s good planning to have a selection of back-up dishes, which can be rapidly prepared using ingredients from the freezer. Spun out with only a few fresh ingredients, these recipes are ideal and can tick extra boxes for nutrition.

Plant-based dishes are often seen as healthier options, without the indulgence associated with traditional meat-based dishes. Switching up language on plant-based is one of the focus areas highlighted in our #FlexUpYourMenu toolkit. And Jesse’s recipes prove that you can have the best of both worlds, creating dishes that are big on flavour, while offering diners a lower carbon footprint.”

Dunford Wood said, “I work hard on my menus in the restaurants to include a variety of colourful, delicious and proud dishes that stand up to the traditional protein and veg dishes that we serve. They must be relevant, and of equal standing within the menus, have depth, texture and excitement - as much as the rest of the menu.”

“It’s a pleasure to work with the Garden Gourmet team to inspire chefs and operators to dial up their plant-based offering. Garden Gourmet’s products are a great way of contributing in a small way to environmental issues we are having. The biggest thing we can do as humans to help the planet going forward is certainly to eat less meat.”

Garden Gourmet offers nutritious, more sustainable plant-based alternatives to conventional meat products, helping people to live a lifestyle with a reduced impact on the environment. Developed alongside nutritionists, the products are high in protein and a good source of fibre, making them, ideal as part of a balanced healthy diet.

The product range includes plant-based burgers, mince, meat-style balls, and fillet pieces, which are versatile enough for use in a selection of dishes. And the cook-from-frozen format means minimal food waste for operators.