Passion Meets Purveyor
We all had an idea Pete was hatching something; something new and something needed but simple and sensible at the same time.
Monday: Day off for chefs and hospitality crew, start of the working week for the rest. But not Monday 13th June. Something different was about to happen.Chef, entrepreneur and Food Perthonality Pete Manifis had invited 60 friends and food types to Trandos Farms to witness the launch of his new venture Passion Meets Purveyor.
Pete lives and breathes West Australian produce, whether rangeland goat from the Gascoyne, unusual seafood species or rare and gorgeous vegetable varieties grown by small producers. Some of these fabulous products are not on the Big Distributors’ radar and that means chefs and retailers can’t always get to them, not without going quite literally out of their way. If the produce can’t get to market it goes to waste, and that is just too heartbreaking on many levels.
The aim is to connect chefs with food producers and encourage sustainable behaviours and relationships. Pete values these relationships, as anyone in the agri-food industry in WA will attest, he is not in this game to make a quick buck and bugger off.
Since moving on from his post as Executive Chef at the world famous In Contro restaurant Pete has had the chance to brew his passionate ideas and considerable energy in to a working plan. A long relationship with the Trandos farming family in Wanneroo, and a passion for their fresh produce helped Pete find the framework required for Passion Meets Purveyor.
“There has to be some sort of evolution in the system. Produce that is not accepted by the big players is still lovingly produced by the growers and we deliver it to the kitchens and tables of our wonderful chefs,” Pete tells us as we chow down on a lot of that produce cooked up by some of those wonderful chefs. “ The point is, the growers don’t know the big guys are going to reject a portion of their produce until it’s been grown so they are left with waste and you guys miss out on that great produce because it doesn’t get in to the distribution chain. And that’s where Passion meet Purveyor comes in.”
Producers can now follow their creative dreams of developing heirloom, speciality and experimental lines of fruit and vegetables in the knowledge that there is an outlet for their produce. Without this opportunity to experiment – if producers are locked in to pleasing the Big Guys only – new, sustainable and almost extinct varieties would not be grown commercially. And that would not be good.
PMP carries a premium range of products, especially seafood, and what Pete describes as 1.5 grade “Look, it doesn’t mean that it’s not right, what is a half point anyway?” Pete asks his guests. “I get that Chefs want premium produce for garnishes to make their dishes “pop” visually or when the menu demands a hero ingredient to be centre stage, but what we can offer is all the stuff we used eat years ago before our likes and preferences were taken off us and bundled in to quality standards documents.” And he’s right. We looked around at the gorgeous baskets of apples, citrus and potatoes decorating the tables and liked what we saw. “Can you believe this is classed below premium grade, whatever that means?” asked Rikki Kaspi, a chef who famously conjours layers of deep and subtle flavours in her Mediterranean dishes.
A packing shed had been transformed in to a charming function space with a bar (it would have been rude not to sample a bloody Mary made with fresh tomato juice, wouldn’t it?). A row of chefs including Josh Catalano and Jerry Fraser are griling fresh corn, prepping tomato and riccotta salad and the most insane brix pastry cornjacks with extra cheese.
The guests had finished a fascinating tour of the Trandos hydroponic nursery and farms neighbouring West Australian Corn Growers packing sheds (I got three more post ideas on horticulture technology). Now we were trying very hard to eat quietly as Pete spoke from the heart about Passion Meets Purveyor.
Verity James played MC, WA Food Ambassador Don Hancey sent a letter of support and Pete, unaccustomed to public speaking as he was, gave us the bullet points and take home messages: Passion Meets Purveyor aims to
- save quality produce from a destiny in landfill.
- offer chefs voice, value and the chance to get speciality products and unique lines
- utilise lesser known Australian fish species
- support innovative farming practices
- educating the next generation of chefs and producers about waste management and sustainability
- supply beautiful, local, seasonal food to our kitchens for everyone to enjoy.
It was great to see the launch of Passion Meets Purveyor at last as Pete had been bouncing ideas off his peers and producers for a while. He has been able to move fast and be flexible enough to come up with a project that will fill gaps in the supply chain and feed chefs’ creative appetites.
We grabbed our goody boxes of fine Trandos “seconds” tomatoes, green beans and pomegranates. I was inspired to turn in to a syrup with molasses and allspice for my morning keffir. As we and scurried for buses and lifts to the not so distant city we say our goodbyes, thanking Pete and the Trandos family for their hospitality.
“I hope it works, I really do ,” calls Pete as we go, “for all us, the chefs the growers, everyone, and especially for me as I need to pay for the new truck.”
And so do I.
Check out the Passion Meets Purveyor Facebook Page
Blog Post Status: Susanna Morley was invited as Crackling and as a food friend by Peter Manifis of Passion Meets Purveyor. While no direct fee was received for this blog post lunch was great and I would have written about the project anyway. Thanks Pete and Trandos farms.