For a few weeks now we’ve been stocking incredible quince and fig membrillo jellies made by Global Harvest in Gillingham, Dorset. The first thought is inevitably to use them as a delicious cheese course accompaniment but their application is limited only by your imagination. They’re perfect with roast belly pork, terrines and cold cuts, they work equally well with desserts and add texture and intense flavour to all kinds of dishes. They are the sort of secret weapon ingredient innovative chefs love, so it comes as no surprise that Global Harvest products have been seen on Great British Menu recently.
We had a chat with founder David Mason about his journey in the food business and the success of these very special products.
Where did the inspiration for Global Harvest come from?
My life in the world of food began in Constantia, South Africa. As a young child I spent hours in the kitchen hanging around the pleats of my mother’s apron, listening, learning and tasting fresh raw ingredients and understanding at a young age how food should and would taste. Since that day nothing has changed (except the hanging around aprons bit). I’ve listened to what chefs want, I’ve paid close attention to English, European and Global food habits, I’ve studied the trends and demands of the culinary world that excite me, which in turn have helped me to discover and create some of the newest products for the culinary world… Bold statement I know, but taking the lead in something you believe in, enabled the birth of Global Harvest & my journey as a producer & ingredient specialist.
So how did you take that inspiration and make the products a reality?
I learnt many years ago if you want to be a head chef, you’ve got to start by washing pots. This also applies in business, so in the early 1990’s I began my fine food journey as a driver, collecting goods from Covent Garden & Smithfield markets in London. Naturally, my knowledge of raw ingredients grew & grew. The boss at the time was the ex sous chef of Gary Rhodes, The Castle, Taunton. I not only learned how to prep, I also learned how to cook with fine food ingredients, and it has stuck with me to this day.
Armed with this knowledge I started life in the small producer’s world about two years ago when I spotted a gap in the market, and began development on a product for the Foodservice sector that primarily comes from Europe, otherwise known as Membrillo Quince Jelly. I felt so strongly about producing a “British Made” equivalent so began the exciting task of producing & developing not only Quince, but a further 43 new flavours specifically designed for the Chef in the Kitchen. As well as being a small producer I also specialise in food procurement, which means hunting for the newest and most exciting products & ingredients. At this year’s 2012 Great Taste Awards I entered 5 products and ALL 5 won a Great Taste Accolade. Our Damson Plum won 2 Gold Stars, our Quince won 1 Gold Star, the Wild Fennel Pollen won 2 Gold’s and the Wild Dill Pollen 1 Gold Star and finally the gorgeous Acacia Truffle honey with 1 Gold Star. I am both humbled and excited, because in the food producer’s world it’s like winning a Michelin Star.
Try Global Harvest’s gourmet jellies, you’ll soon find you can’t live without them. Click here for details.
Blue jumper, first from right, that’s him with his Dorset Chef pals at last year’s Great Taste Awards.