Food, glorious local food!

May 7, 2024 | WONDER | 3 minute read

From field to fork, by keeping its menu local, The Victoria is supporting a more sustainable approach to the food chain.

It is said that nothing brings people together like good food, and at The Victoria, Holkham’s two AA Rosette hotel and restaurant, it also brings together people who are passionate about the quality of local food.

Norfolk is known for its farming heritage and artisan producers, many of whom rely on the support of the region’s hospitality sector. It is precisely this community-first approach that The Victoria’s Head Chef Michael Chamberlain believes is vital to keep traditional farming practices alive, standards high and which has inspired an addition to his menu – a map showcasing the local ingredients the restaurant champions.

The Vic chef team receiving a delivery from Kirsty, who grows the fruit and veg in the Walled Garden

“Around 95 per cent of the suppliers we use are local to us,” says Michael. “Our menus are seasonal, so in spring you’ll find rhubarb and vegetables grown in the Walled Garden, which travel less than five minutes to the kitchen. Beyond the estate, we look for local ingredients to use and you’ll always find pork on our menu, which is reared at South Creake by tenant farmer Tim Allen and processed by Arthur Howell Butchers in Wells-next-the-Sea.”

At Morley Farm, Tim breeds and finishes the progeny of 350 sows a year, all kept outside and grown slowly to RSPCA Assured and Red Tractor standards. “These days, everyone wants to know where their food comes from,” says Tim, “and when the chain stays this local and you can eat meat with so few food miles, it gives confidence to diners. The industry has been through real challenges and butchers are under pressure to buy our animals as prices rise. The whole chain is acutely aware that if we don’t support each other, we won’t be here in the future. Ours is a good example of how a supply chain can work sustainably if we talk to each other.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Alex Smith who manages Arthur Howell Butchers with his father-in-law. The butcher has its own abattoir, one of a diminishing number in the UK. “Tim is our largest supplier and we’ll process around 40 of his pigs a week,” says Alex. “We try to keep everything we process within 10-15 miles of our door which puts less stress on the animals and has a lower carbon footprint. The pork we supply to Holkham travels less than three miles from us to the restaurant.

“The map has been great in raising awareness of the local supply chain and quite often people come into the shop and say they ate at The Victoria and want to buy the sausages or chops they enjoyed. We are fortunate that Tim raises his pigs to such a high quality and we want to ensure that he and his animals continue to be here for us to use in the future.”

This article is taken from the Holkham Gazette (Spring/Sumner 2024), written and edited by Daska Davis.


Back to Journal Back to Journal

Related journals