05 July 2023, 08:34 AM
  • Adam Spicer, head chef at Retreat East in Suffolk, shares his favourite local suppliers and what makes his county's produce so special
Independent Shopper: Adam Spicer, Retreat East

Retreat East is set on a former dairy farm in the middle of the Suffolk countryside, surrounded by meadows, woods and fields. It is a true escape for our guests, complete with our beautiful restaurant set in The Great Barn. 

We are so lucky at retreat east to have our own organic kitchen garden, bees for honey and amazing grounds for foraging. Anything we cannot source ourselves we get from some of the best food producers, farmers and merchants in the country, who supply the most incredible ingredients we can for our guests. We are also passionate about reducing food waste and sustainability at Retreat East so where possible use every part of the ingredients we use. 

Our beetroot dish is a great example of this. We collect the beetroots in the morning, use the leaves for a salad, pickle the stems, remove the skin and dehydrate it to form a powder that is used to make gnocchi. We also juice all the trimmings and offcuts to cook the beets in. 

The suppliers we use have a real passion for what they do, which comes across from the produce we purchase. We have the likes of Mark from Dingley Dell Pork who produces some of the best pigs in the country right on our doorstep; he also has a great passion for the environment and wildlife, which echos our ethos at Retreat East. The pork from Mark is used in a range of dishes from breakfast to our delicious afternoon tea featuring Dingley Dell Pork sausage rolls. 

We also have Jon, our fish supplier, who buys some incredible line-caught Wild Suffolk bass for us daily and a fantastic selection of local seafood such as Cromer Crabs, Colchester Oysters and Native Lobsters. Our seasonal menus mean the dishes we serve to our guests are always changing, fresh and full of flavour. Cromer Crabs are currently featured on our dinner menu in a delicious Cromer Crab Waldorf tart with seaweed.

There is always a great range of delicious local produce on our menu whether guests join us for breakfast, lunch, dinner or afternoon tea!

We have other outstanding producers such as New Hall Wine, Tosier Chocolate, and Fen Farm Dairy to name a few. We really are spoilt for choice in and around East Anglia.

Having worked in the industry for a long time, it is vital to build excellent relationships with your suppliers; we look after them as best we can, and they do the same for us, which in turn enables us to give the customer the best experience we can.