Derbyshire-based The Creative Kitchen Company is officially baking and serving up some of the best pies in Britain, after judges presented the business with four accolades at the British Pie Awards 2018.
The news has delighted the team at the Food Innovation Centre, based at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus, who provided specialist support to the food production and catering business.
Their expertise helped The Creative Kitchen Company owner Vicky Clark to establish the shelf life of her products, conducting a shelf life assessment and working along with an external UKAS accredited laboratory for microbiological testing, to comply with labelling and packaging legislation, and by undertaking organoleptic testing, which focuses on the flavour, aroma, texture and visual aspect of a product. All are vital ingredients in the expansion and development plans for any food business.
Among other things, it gave Vicky the confidence and ability to gain accreditation from Coeliac UK – making her one of the first producers offering outside catering in the UK to gain Coeliac UK accreditation.
Richard Worrall, head of project at the Food Innovation Centre, said: “It’s great news that The Creative Kitchen Company won four accolades at the British Pie Awards 2018. The team at the Food Innovation Centre specialises in providing technical expertise to food and drink firms across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and it’s always good to hear about how this has led to successes, whether that be in awards, new product development, or new contracts.”
The British Pie Awards 2018 attracted almost 1,000 entries. The Creative Kitchen Minted Lamb Pie was highly commended in the lamb pie category, and then went on to scoop a gold award. The Creative Kitchen Meat and Potato Pie received a silver award in the meat and potato pie category, while the company won a bronze for the Creative Kitchen Beef & Red Wine Pie in the beef and any flavour award.
Vicky started her food production and catering business in a small way in Codnor, near Ripley, in 2012, but things have really taken off over the past two years. She offers a range of home-cooked products including soups, pies, quiches, vegan tarts, cakes, desserts and treats. Her range includes gluten-free, dairy free and vegan options. The Creative Kitchen Company supplies a number of pubs and independent outlets, as well as selling direct to consumers via farmers markets at Sutton Bonington and Belper. Vicky also provides bespoke catering for dinner parties, buffets, special occasions or for general catering.
She praised the support from the Food Innovation Centre team, saying: “The Enabling Food Innovation Project has been of great benefit on multiple levels. The advice and guidance given has been invaluable, allowing me not only to grow my business but also my knowledge and in turn my confidence within the industry.
“The staff have been so supportive – no question big or small was a problem, with swift responses. I’m thrilled to have gone on to win four awards at the British Pie Awards 2018.”
The Food Innovation Centre, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is part of the Division of Food Sciences at the University of Nottingham. Its experts are looking at a range of global issues affecting the food industry, including ways to reduce waste, and innovative new products and energy that can be created from by-products. They are also focusing on new protein sources.
Richard Worrall added: “The collaboration with The Creative Kitchen Company illustrates how the expertise in universities can be harnessed by food and drink producers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to help them create new products, grow their businesses and achieve success. Congratulations to Vicky.”
For more information about the Food Innovation Centre and the support it offers, visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/biosciences/business/food-innovation-centre.aspx
Photo by Martin Elliott.