Last week Cohort 13 apprentices visited our suppliers at Cornish Duck Co. Nestled on the river Fal just on the outskirts of St Stephen, our apprentices along with Training and Development Chef Karl, Welfare Officer Charlotte, Head Chef Adam and Chef de Partie Mike, spent the day with owners Roger & Tanya to learn about the daily goings-on at Terras Farm.
Cornish Duck sourcing trip with Cohort 13 Apprentices
Sourcing trips are an integral part of our apprentices’ training journey: it helps them to build a relationship with our trusted suppliers, learn about the provenance of our ingredients and experience first-hand the journey from the source to the plate. After each trip the students have to write a report about the experience, detailing the knowledge they learnt from the day.
Cornish Duck Co have been supplying the Fifteen Cornwall kitchen since the restaurant opened twelve years ago. Passionate about their business and their ducks, each stage of the process takes place on the farm, overseen by a small team. After introductions in the garden learning about the backstory of the business, Tanya took the group to the incubators, known as the ‘inner sanctum’, where the journey begins. The process starts with collecting the eggs before a four week incubation period which mimics what happens in the wild where eggs are rotated by the mother duck to keep them warm. Eggs needs to be monitored throughout process to check they’re developing properly: some are not fertile and some are but just don’t take. Moving to the hatchery, the group got to see four hour old ducklings that had hatched earlier that morning.
After learning about the incubation and hatchery side of the business, Tanya handed over to Roger who took the group on a tour of the processing rooms explaining how they were responsible for every single part of the process on the farm. The business’ motto is ‘quality, service and hatch to dispatch’.
Each apprentice got the chance to prepare a duck with Roger guiding them and giving them tips to improve their skills. During their time in the Fifteen Cornwall Kitchen our apprentices’ spend two weeks on the prep section, learning and perfecting their prepping technique. Apprentice Carissa had just completed her time on the prep section and her newly acquired skills showed when filleting.
Roger led the group on walk of the grounds showing the group different breeds of duck on the farm, where each day 100 eggs are collected to be sorted ready for the incubation process. The group were tasked with collecting the eggs from two of the barns ready for Tanya to start processing.
After a scorching morning in the sunshine and lots of information absorbed, it was time to sample Roger’s award winning gluten free duck burgers and smoked duck, which had just won gold at the Taste of the West 2018 awards. The group finished their visit with a quiz, won by Carissa before heading back to the kitchen.
Our thanks as ever go to Roger and Tanya for allowing us to visit and taking a morning out to show us aound.