Food and Drink October 12, 2011
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Essex born and bred Jonathan Brown

I take great pleasure in introducing this year’s Essex Food & Drink Guide. I was born and bred in the county and now enjoy running my own restaurant here – a lifelong dream that was achieved in 2009.

At our restaurant, The Ducane, we draw inspiration from the natural larder on our doorstep in Great Braxted – a picturesque village set in the heart of the countryside, blessed with beautiful views that have remained unblemished for many years. We have made it our policy to source ingredients locally wherever possible – luckily, in Essex, there’s a superb abundance of ingredients and commodities to experiment with.

The Essex coastline offers quality fi sh and shellfi sh, game comes directly from local estates and beef, lamb and pork are reared on local pastures. Free-range chicken and eggs come from just down the road in Tolleshunt D’Arcy, while Maldon honey, locally foraged mushrooms and a plethora of other wild foods are available too. Residents of Essex seem just as thoughtful about food production – our regulars even bring in home-grown produce from their gardens and redeem them for pints at the bar. It is refreshing to see chefs and diners alike caring about sourcing and utilising local suppliers, which benefi ts the local economy and reduces food miles, as well as providing a truly local dining experience. Essex itself is home to some fantastic establishments, which showcase the very best talent the county has to offer. After recently competing in the Essex Food and Drink Awards, we were surprised and delighted by the stiff local competition we faced, which indicated the depth of culinary excellence in the county. The following pages detail a selection of such fabulous establishments, offering you plenty to choose from when eating out.

Harriet Van Horne tells us, ‘Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all’, and in Essex we certainly enjoy letting go… the results are delicious.


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