Chef bucks trend with 'phenomenal' sale of posh ready meals

two chefs

Chef patron Dan Smith, right, and his head chef Fabio Miani. Sales of their fine dining ready meals have meant sales are almost what they'd take for a full restaurant on New Year's Eve. - Credit: Wildebeest, Stoke Holy Cross

An award-winning Norfolk chef said he has made as much money from sales of eat-at-home meals as having a full restaurant on New Year's Eve.

Owners of local restaurants have welcomed the success of their click and collect dine at home meals. But many said sales in no way rival what they would have taken over the Christmas period and New Year's Eve. 

However, Dan Smith, who is chef patron and part-owner of the Wildebeest, in Stoke Holy Cross, the Ingham Swan and the Warwick Street Social, in Norwich, said the sales of his beef wellington ready meals had gone through the roof.

His New Year's Eve meals, £75 for two with a smoked salmon starter, beef wellington for main and chocolate dessert, have sold out.

He said: "Our sales from the dine at home meals sold from the Wildebeest have been phenomenal and we've taken about as much as we'd expect on New Year's Eve.

"It's the location, because it's easy to get to for people. We've taken slightly less than we would at the Ingham Swan because it's further to go and we have the guest rooms there and we haven't really tried selling from the Warwick Street Social as there's so much competition in Norwich from others doing it."

Mr Smith, who won the Master Chef Guild chef of the year in 2017,  posted on social media his preparation of the beef wellingtons, saying: "One down, 60 to go."

He added: "We decided not to change the menu from what we've been doing, to keep it simple so yes, I am a bit fed up with cooking beef wellingtons but the support has been fantastic."

beef wellington ready to be cooked

The sold out beef wellington dine at home dish. - Credit: Dan Smith

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His sought-after 'ready meal' consists of a smoked salmon, apple and cucumber martini followed by a butter puff pastry wrapped fillet of beef with black garlic and thyme duck fat confit potatoes.

The dessert is a dark chocolate marquis, oat crumb and crème fraiche.

chef profile head and shoulders

Chef patron Dan Smith - Credit: Archant

Mr Smith and his business partner Greg Adjemian run the three venues although they have revealed the Warwick Street Social business is for sale, but not because of Covid.

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