Yemi’s Food Stories: Behind the scenes at Harrogate’s Fodder
by
Last updated Nov 10, 2023
Yemi and Mehdi (middle) with other local chefs at the Great Yorkshire Show.

When I started the food column, one of the first places I wanted to write about was Fodder, because it’s a place I regularly go to for fresh produce.

Fodder stands for everything the Yorkshire Agricultural Society believes in – a passion for Yorkshire, its farmers and local producers. It is also the only farm shop café of its kind in the UK where 100% of their profit goes back to YAS.

It’s as much a Harrogate icon as any.

Nestled within the Great Yorkshire Showground, there isn’t a more fitting tribute to the county’s farmers than a place that champions and sells their produce.

I first met Mehdi Boukemach, the head chef, at the Great Yorkshire Show, so I was delighted to spend some time behind the scenes with him in the kitchen. He and his truly diverse team includes chefs from the UK, Brazil, Poland, Italy, France and South Africa.

This diverse team means you get the tastes of different cultures peeking through the Yorkshire ingredients. Mehdi describes his food as “inspired by different cuisines using Yorkshire ingredients”.

Arancini and salads

The arancini is made from pearl barley and textured with a range of mushrooms including portobello, forest and shimeji, paired with a creamy Ribblesdale goat’s cheese. This is served with a spiced tomato sauce with a touch of local honey for a well-rounded flavour.

One of the more popular dishes is quiche. Mehdi’s serves it with a mooli and carrot salad with a touch of oyster sauce and a sprinkle of nigella seeds. It was like eating a savoury version of crème brûlée, and I can see why diners have not allowed it to be taken off the menu.

Other salads to accompany dishes include a Middle Eastern-style chick pea salad and fresh leafy salads with a drizzle of French dressing.

One of the staff members inside Fodder’s farm shop.

Burgers, stock and steak

“The Fodder way” is to use whole animals and ensure nothing goes to waste. Stocks are made every day from the bones, which become the base for many dishes and their homemade gravy.

The burgers are made from the brisket and seasoned with Maldon salt and black pepper. Nothing else needs to be added when you are working with high quality produce. The amount of fat in each burger ensures it remains juicy and delicious.

Another popular dish is the open sandwich. I watched the steak sandwich being prepared using perfectly seared bavette steak, topped with creamy Yorkshire blue cheese. It is served with a tomato sauce topped with onion jam and a salad, so you get a balance of sweet, salty, umami and a touch of acidity.

I left the Fodder kitchen with an appreciation for the amazing work that goes into producing the dishes. I saw the team’s love for the produce they use, as well as respect for local farmers and suppliers.

The front of Fodder.

The café and farm shop

The café serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea as well as coffee, tea and sweet treats.

The talented team of chefs bakes fresh scones, flapjack and (giant) Yorkshire puddings every morning.

The site also offers Fodder on the Hoof – an original 1950’s Airstream Caravan — serving hot drinks, bacon butties and quick lunches for those on the go.

Along with everything you need for your weekly food shopping, Fodder has a wide range of crafts, gifts, and cards.

In the lead up to Christmas planning, you can order your festive food from turkeys, pigs in blankets and side dishes to desserts and ice cream to be delivered from Fodder.


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