Treats during lockdown can be hard to come by, so when the chance of a little Friday night delight is placed in front of you, you take it. No question.
A couple of weeks ago I was clued in to the plans of a Stafford-based catering firm, that has decided to adjust its usual operation to accommodate for lockdown rules.
Regional winner of Wedding Caterer of the Year at the 2019 Wedding Industry Awards, Kemp and Kemp is a well-established name in the West Midlands catering community.
Specialising in bespoke wedding menus and drawing inspiration from seasonal ingredients, the business is run by husband and wife team Richard and Karen Kemp.
Committed to using a flexible and innovative approach to delivering great food and top front-of-house service, the Kemps have built a business based on the mantra that “imagination is the only limitation”, and that a wedding feast should be personal, well-executed and delivered with passion.
However, the situation with Covid-19 has lead Kemp and Kemp to explore a new service – home delivery.
Recently the business launched ‘Kemp and Kemp @ Home’, a service designed to provide people with expertly sourced and prepared dishes, to be finished in their own kitchens and enjoyed in the comfort of their own homes.
A home-delivered meal from Kemp and Kemp is currently available every Friday during lockdown, with a dish of the week – masterminded by Karen – available to order online up until the Monday of the week concerned.
Available to those who live within a 30-minute car journey of Stafford, a meal from Kemp and Kemp @ Home includes free delivery, and NHS workers are also able to enjoy a 25 per cent discount from the standard price.
Tempted by the prospect of award-winning, wedding-worthy food at my own abode, I perused Kemp and Kemp’s online offerings, and was immediately drawn to its inaugural home delivery option.
Let’s do this…
For the first week of its brand new home delivery service, the kitchen at Kemp and Kemp was offering a feast of Greek Taverna Lamb – a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb stuffed and rubbed with fresh oregano, lemon, garlic and mint, and served with rosemary baby roast potatoes and a green bean, red onion and feta salad.
I’ve had a soft spot for Greek cuisine for some time, and an aromatic slow-cooked lamb that surely promised extreme fall-apart tenderness was far too tempting to pass up. Also, even a mention of the word feta sets my tastebuds to ‘tingle’. Surely, this would be the banquet.
Online ordering was straightforward enough, and while there is currently no direct payment interface on the website, customers can pay by making a bank transfer to Kemp and Kemp via online banking.
Having excitedly placed and paid for my order, I had almost the whole week to eagerly await my Friday night feast.
Delivery was made promptly and pleasantly on the Friday morning. Richard himself arrived at my home with the luxuriant-sounding lamb, and professionally and safely conducted a ‘contactless’ delivery, placing the food just inside my doorstep as I stepped back to allow two metres between us.
My Greek taverna feast was well packed, and the all-important storage and cooking instructions were included on an easy-to-follow single sheet of paper.
Resting in the fridge for the course of the day, the elements of my rock star banquet made their approach to the stage as the evening fell, and I cracked on with the cooking instructions so kindly supplied.
Following them could not have been easier, and the lamb, potatoes and salad had been prepared thoroughly and intelligently so as to ensure minimal effort was required on the receiving end.
As the lamb began to cook its aroma filled my nostrils and my anticipation grew. Imbibing the beautiful scent of oregano, garlic and the wonderfully roasting meat, I was convinced I had made a good call, and I was itching to tuck in to what would surely be a dinner worth waiting for.
Adding the olive oil, mustard and lemon dressing to the salad, I couldn’t resist a quick taste of the rich feta and the fresh green beans. The dressing was a perfect match for the sharp flavour of the cheese and the kick of both the lemon and the mustard complemented the green beans.
Indications were that as an architect of flavour, Karen was something of an artist, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into my meal in earnest.
Removing the shoulder of lamb from the oven and carving through it, I was delighted at the tenderness of the meat. I had followed the cooking instructions to the letter and these had yielded a perfect result. My knife glided effortlessly through the beautiful lamb, which fell apart, releasing further fabulous Greek aromas.
After plating up, I finally got stuck in to my feast for the night, which proved to be nothing less than a rewarding delight. The succulent lamb tasted as good as it smelt and then some, with a wonderfully tender texture and the flavour of the oregano, garlic and mint cutting through without being overwhelming. The tzatziki dip that had been supplied was a wonderful accompaniment, blending with the flavours of the lamb and transporting my tastebuds to a genuine taverna in a heartbeat.
The potatoes too were delicious. Again, the instructions provided had resulted in them being cooked to perfection – golden and with a slight crisp crunch. The wonderful flavour of the rosemary – picked from Kemp and Kemp’s own garden – had infused through them to create a taste sensation that was a natural bedfellow to the lamb shoulder.
The supplied salsa verde was a perfect partner to the potatoes – the mint and garlic of its composition giving them a lovely kick that was well received.
The salad sealed the deal on the taverna feast perfectly, and was supplied with a generous enough amount of feta to insure the rich cheese was present in every bite.
Kemp and Kemp’s lockdown delivery service impressed me greatly. My meal had been prepared with thought and skill, and as advertised, was supplied in enough quantity to feed three to four people. Cooking it was a breeze, made so by uncomplicated instructions that were made all the more pleasurable to follow by the touch of humour within them. The food tasted superb – the product of a well-engineered balance of carefully chosen ingredients and preparation skill.
And perhaps most importantly, in context of the current national situation, dealing with Kemp and Kemp was a pleasure from start to finish. The business clearly understands the need for safety at these times, and is also committed to providing a culinary experience that will allow customers’ minds to be taken away from Covid-19, even just for one night.
For their initiative during these difficult times, Richard and Karen should be applauded, and I look forward to using their services again.
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DETAILS Kemp and Kemp, 49 Wolverhampton Road, Stafford ST17 4DH Tel: 0800 644456 Web: kempandkempcatering.co.uk