26 March 2021, 10:05 AM
  • For The Independent Shopper, Phill Lewis, founder of Dusty’s Pizza and Nook, explores the “symbiotic relationship” between food suppliers and restaurateurs
Inside the local food community of South Wales

Our relationships with local suppliers have always been absolutely crucial to all that we do at Dusty’s Pizza, and more recently at Nook too. As long-standing members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and advocates of the international Slow Food Movement, we have always been eager to seek out suppliers with a similar ethos to our own.

When we first started the business, some six years ago, we used our local farmer’s market to help us discover smaller artisans and producers who we could work with to top our pizzas. This was crucial to helping us start as we meant to go on, working with local suppliers right from day one.

For the last few years we have used Paul’s Organic Veg (based in Monmouthshire) to supply us with fresh fruit and veg for both Dusty’s Pizza and Nook. The constant influx of seasonal ingredients is what inspires us to come up with our regular pizza specials – one recent special, ‘The King’, made the most of seasonal king oyster mushrooms and fresh autumn herbs.

At Nook, our whole ethos is to use the right ingredients, cooked in the right way, at the right time, and our veg deliveries often include some lesser known and experimental varieties. Our head chef at Nook is brilliant at adjusting the weekly changing menus to suit whatever is best at that moment.

On the cheese front, we use Ty Caws, who are local to us in Cardiff. Like almost all our suppliers, their huge selection of British cheeses changes seasonally, reflecting what’s best and when. Our charcuterie comes from Trealy Farm, award-winning artisan charcutiers also based in Monmouthshire. Their ethically sourced ingredients include free-range pork, grass-fed beef, Welsh lamb, free-range duck, and 100% wild boar and venison. Their air-dried beef bresaola is a favourite of ours and often features on the Nook menu; it’s an extremely lean product, rubbed with herbs and spices before curing, which results in a delicate flavour that works well with a wide variety of tastes and textures.

We only ever feature one meat and one fish dish on the weekly menu at Nook. Our meat we source from Oriel Jones, a fourth-generation local farmer and butcher (based on the same road as the restaurant). It was important for us to find a sustainable, ethical and traceable supplier who supports regenerative agriculture and high animal welfare standards, so it was amazing luck for us to be based on the same street!

Our fish comes from Ashton’s Fishmongers. Established in Cardiff in 1800, Ashton’s has been based in the Central Market since 1890 and is one of the largest fish retail outlets in the UK. Throughout the year they have the best and the widest variety selection of fish possible and are always on hand to advise on the seasons best.

On the bar front, we specialise in Natural Wines at both Dusty’s Pizza and Nook, and source many of these from Wrights Food Emporium in Llanarthne, small-scale importers of a variety of natural and low-intervention wines. We place a lot of trust in our suppliers and producers, and we lean on them to tell us which ingredients they would recommend us using from one week to the next. We’re passionate about being part of the local food community here in South Wales, and this symbiotic relationship is key to how we run each of our restaurants. We couldn’t do what we do without them!

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