When you next board a train you may not expect to dine on Somerset smoked haddock; burrata mozzarella cheese made from Hampshire buffaloes; or prime beef fillet from Glastonbury - but you can. And all three are now front and centre in films that celebrate the renaissance in train dining that has been pioneered by First Great Western.
The films feature Laverstoke Park Farm’s Hampshire buffalo; Brown & Forest’s Somerset smokehouse and John Sheppard Family butchers. They follow First Great Western chef Paul Tregilis on a journey from farm to fork as he learns the backstory of the food he now serves on board. And there is growing evidence that the policy is boosting West Country artisanal food businesses: English tea grown at Tregothnan in Cornwall has just been added to the menu - prompting the grower to plant additional acreage to keep pace with demand and recruit six new employees.
See the Pullman Dining Farm to Fork videos:
In 2013 FGW promised to fill its menu with as many products sourced from as close to the railway line as possible. Now almost 90 locally-made products have replaced their mass-market counterparts - up from 50 since it launched the initiative a year ago. The menu includes award-winning produce from a third generation family butcher, fourth generation family baker and fifth generation family cheese maker.
What the suppliers say
Tregothnan Tea’s Jonathan Jones:
“This contract is great news and gave us confidence to hire new employees for the next level of our growth.”
Smoked salmon suppliers Brown & Forrest’s Tim Towill:
“First Great Western’s policy gives people the chance to try our smoked fish as they travel past. We are a small business - so this matters a lot.”
Cuckoo Food’s Lucy Wright:
“Anna Mackenzie and I met at school aged 13 and now we run Cuckoo Foods. It’s a family-run business. Recently Anna's sister Alexa helped us out part-time after we won the First Great Western account.”
Butcher Richard Sheppard:
“We are at the heart of the First Great Western rail network and the farming community around Bristol. We are proud to bring the two together.”
Restaurateur and Chef Mitch Tonks, who advises First Great Western and appears in the three films:
“The West Country is full of the finest ingredients you'll find anywhere, and these films showcase the producers being championed by First Great Western, I think you'll see why we love what they produce so much!”