Firm’s ‘flexitarian’ cooking challenge

Luke Pearson (left) and Dominic Franks with their starters.
Luke Pearson (left) and Dominic Franks with their starters.

A food business in Boston has held a cook off challenge inspired by the rising popularity of so-called ‘flexitarian’ diets.

Freshtime invited the Lincolnshire and London-based cook and food writer Dominic Franks to their Marsh Lane home for the test, held to raise its profile online and beyond.

It saw Dominic spend the afternoon with the business’ development chef Luke Pearson to create a two-course vegetarian meal using surprise locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

The pair, who had never met before, had 30 minutes to assess the ingredients and brainstorm ideas for their starters and main dish – the latter of which they worked on together.

They were given 20 minutes to prepare their starters, which were judged by Melvyn Prior from BBC Radio Lincolnshire, editor of Lincolnshire Life magazine Caroline Bingham, and Freshtime’s new product development manager Amanda Sumner.

The idea to create a meat-free meal stemmed from the rising popularity of the flexitarian diet, which involves adopting vegetarian eating habits for at least two days a week.

“We are seeing that more and more consumers are making conscious choices to cut down on their meat intake to save the environment and improve the health of their body, mind and bank accounts,” Amanda said. “Therefore, for this challenge, we wanted to showcase the capabilities of fresh produce when teamed with store cupboard essentials; it can be easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to vegetarian food, but the possibilities are endless!”

In the end, Luke’s polenta-based starter narrowly beat Dom’s spring vegetable frittata. Their main was a risotto – find the recipe at tinyurl.com/ya7x7uy8.