Last Sunday evening a group of friends gathered together in Cardiff at The Pot Café for what can best be described as a pleasantly unique experience. It was billed as ‘The Ethical Chef Supper Club’ and if you get the chance to be a part of one of these evenings, bring a table of your best friends and be prepared to consume a luscious meal. You won’t even recognise it is completely natural, sustainable and vegetarian, except your host Deri won’t let you forget it.
Welshman Deri Reed seven years ago dropped out of a business degree course at the University of Manchester and worked in a takeaway restaurant. As the dark cloud called ‘his future’ gathered overhead he came across the book MEAT by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (of River Cottage fame) and he wanted to learn more about the food chain and what exactly it is we humans consume from factory farms. He read it, was horrified and understood why his mother had raised him and his brother as vegetarians.
As a committed vegetarian myself for 13-years, it was living on a Dutch farm and seeing animals taken out a barn for the first and last time in their short lives and realising that slab of bacon I enjoyed came from an animal with the intelligence of a three year old child, that finally got me to see the propaganda of the supermarket meat section. We’re trained to believe that all meat comes as sterile cuts beautifully wrapped in clear plastic, chemical dye free and perfectly red with that marbled strip. Indeed our UK Progressive Sustainability section has often devoted articles to GM modified Frankenfoods and how addiction to high fructose corn sugar leads to obesity.
Deri knew his future lay in the restaurant business and decided to learn though from the best heading off Café Paradiso in Cork, Ireland. Fresh from this experience he came back to Wales determined to open a top-flight vegetarian restaurant… in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. For those reading outside of Wales, you might as well open it in a suburb of Iowa beef capital Des Moines…
Realising the folly of that idea, Deri headed off to Cardiff where there was a far more cosmopolitan and international clientele. He got his first sustainable cooking gig two years ago at the prestigious Riverside Market and has been there every Sunday. He soon expanded to these supper club evenings.
But fresh with the knowledge of everything fresh, local and sustainable AND being a child of the Internet AND wanting to follow in the footsteps of his idols Hugh Fearnley and Jamie Oliver, Deri has now a number of recipe and cooking videos on YouTube and with loads of personality, I am certain we someday will see him on The Iron Chef or other US cooking programmes.
An engaging man, he joined us at the end of the evening to talk about the menu and his plans. As for the meal, it started with a brilliant roast carrot soup (we all dinged him for the tiny portion served in a large shot glass – kidding it was a liqueur glass but more than one in our party was seen making sure every drop was consumed off of their finger). That was followed by a very original mushroom and spring onion sushi. Wrapped in rice and drizzled with soy and Wasabi…. Mmmmmm.
The main course was Grilled Asparagus, Pembrokeshire Potato Fritatta slices, wilted kale and an onion chutney jam in a bleu cheese sauce. The combination of seet and savory was a joy for the taste buds. Then came the Carmarthenshire Cheese Board and cracker with four local cheeses I will now drive 50 miles to consume! The meal was topped off with a chocolate, cranberry and raisin brownie that again was waaaayyyy too small because it was so good.
Deri has Supper Club Events planned for the next few months at The Pot Café in Cardiff and other locations outside of the city:
Monday – June 18th – Diablo’s – Carmarthen – From 7pm
Sunday – June 24th – The Pot Café – Cardiff – 7:30pm sitting
Thursday – July 12th – Cwm-Deri Vineyard – Pembrokeshire
Sunday – July 15th – The Pot Café – Cardiff – 7:30pm sitting
Sunday – July 22nd – The Pot Café – Cardiff – 7:30pm sitting
Sunday – August 5th – The Pot Café – Cardiff – 7:30pm sitting
Sunday – August 12th – The Pot Café – Cardiff – 7:30pm sitting
The meal is pre-fix and costs £25 per person (wine extra). Visit the website for Terms and Conditions
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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