Behind every great meal is a great chef. We caught up with Phil Rimmer, our Head Development Chef, to find out what goes into creating our delicious Softer Foods range.

 

Introducing Phil…

Phil joined the Wiltshire Farm Foods team in 2005, having previously worked in hotels and restaurants. Phil has 20 years’ experience as a chef, and has won several prestigious awards for his work developing new meals- including our Softer Foods range.

 

What inspired you to become a chef?

I developed a love of food from a young age, and so decided to study cookery at college. It was here I fell in love with the passion and energy of the professional kitchen and haven’t looked back.

 

Do you have a role model within the food industry?

I’ve always been a big fan of Shaun Hill, a chef many in the industry look up to. He’s spent nearly 50 years in the kitchen and has headed up some fantastic restaurants that have gained the interest of the Michelin guide over the years. As a chef, Shaun tends to stay under the radar and is not known to follow trends, choosing to create menus which focus on dishes that are simply cooked, always with an emphasis on quality produce

 

What is one meal that should always be on any menu?

For me, it’s all about British classics – and I couldn’t pick one, it’s got to be either Roast Beef or Cottage Pie.

 

Have the tastes of customers changed during your career?

Whilst traditional tastes have always been and remain popular across all our ranges, there has been a definite shift towards customers wanting more authentic, international flavours.

 

Where does inspiration for new meals in the range come from?

We look at what is popular across all our other ranges – we want those with a texture modified diet to still enjoy all their favourite meals.

 

What is the most important factor to consider when creating a new meal for the Softer Foods range?

I’d say the most important factor is remembering who we’re catering for; who the customer is and the challenges they face day-to-day. We pride ourselves on creating meals that are both delicious and safe.

 

When you're designing a complete meal, what factors do you consider?

Firstly, we look at what is popular across all our other ranges – we want to make meals people want to eat. We then look at the balance of all the key components, this helps us decide what vegetables, carbohydrates and protein elements to include. The most important consideration is if it’s possible to make this as a texture modified meal – there are some ingredients we can’t use due to their texture and we have to predict any challenges we may face creating the meal.

 

 How do you make the dishes in the Texture Modified range taste so good?

We approach the creation of our texture modified meals in the same way as other dishes – we use the same great, flavoursome ingredients to maximise the taste, as you'd find in any other meal.

 

Do you have a secret, favourite ingredient?

I have two: Salt and Lemon juice. Both are great enhancers of flavour and can be used to lift all sorts of flavours, savoury or sweet.

 

What is your favourite meal in the Wiltshire Farm Foods Softer Foods range?

My favourite meal is the Purée Petite Beef Steak, with chips and peas. I also enjoy the puréed Apple Pie and our new Beans on Toast.

 

What is the most essential item in your kitchen?

Knives and a dishwasher. I couldn’t do my job without them.

 

What’s the largest number of people you’ve cooked for?

We held an event when we won our first Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2006, I cooked for 175 people – including the Duke of Kent who was visiting our kitchen.

 

 

If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would be your top three guests?

My top three dinner party guests would be; Peter Kay (he’s a funny man and we’re both from Bolton), Martin Johnson (I’ve always been a big rugby supporter) and Ranulph Fiennes (the British explorer - he’s always been another idol as he’s just one of a kind).