Simple food doesn’t necessarily have to mean boring food, as Charlotte Harding finds out.
Growing up Carole Lindsay was always surrounded by food.
“My whole family has always worked in hospitality and catering,” she reveals.
“It seemed like a dying breed though as my cousins and siblings decided to go into other areas.”
Initially Carole went into the world of broadcasting but felt that her passion lie elsewhere so she took what she calls a ‘leap of faith’ and went back into the kitchen.
“I have always felt comfortable in a kitchen environment,” she says.
“My uncle is on the Master Chefs of Great Britain board and when I was younger in the summer holidays or on weekends I would go and work in his kitchen.
“I have learnt everything on the job from great people.
“I really feel you have to be immersed in it, you have to be passionate and have the right mind set.”
As owner of the Naked Food Company, based at Duncton Mill, her ethos is ‘simple and natural cookery with a twist’.
“It is about getting the best out of the ingredients,” explains Carole.
“I did a dinner party once where I had ten kilos of game and I left it overnight in two bottle of Burgundy red wine, one bottle of port and a mix of cloves and spices.
“I want to get as much flavour out of the ingredients, you can over complicate it with foams and jellies with different processes and chemicals but I want to produce good, delicious food.”
With finishing touches including edible flowers and micro cress the dishes still wow, and many look too good to eat.
So it is not surprising that business is booming as Carole explains that having worked from the bottom up to build it in just a year it has surpassed her three year plan.
“It has been incredible,” she smiles.
“I have loved every second of it.”
Catering for weddings up to 200 people and dinner parties Carole isn’t phased by cooking for big or small groups.
“People always ask me how I am so calm all the time but I know exactly how it is going to play out so I know it will be fine,” she says.
“I am not phased by the kitchen or cooking for loads of people. I just love the environment.”
Carole meets every client as she feels it is important to be transparent and she has been known to work two weddings or events in one day.
“People are often surprised when they see me in the kitchen on their big day,” she says.
“I go through everything with them before and they get an event manager on the day so we do everything from setting up, to sourcing cutlery to cleaning up and switching the lights off at the end of the night.”
Last year Naked Food Company’s menus were influenced by Persian and Iranian cuisine as Carole wanted something packed full of flavour.
This saw her marinating lamb in a range of spices and using edamame beans as a garnish.
She has since moved over to South America with Gaucho steaks with salsa verde, crisp salads and black beans.
“A gaucho steak is a massive cut of rump,” she reveals.
“It is used by Argentine cowboys, they would cut off a big bit of meat and then put it on the BBQ.
“I marinate it, sear it and then slice it. It works great for sharing platters as people can take as much or as little as they want.”
When it comes to weddings sharing boards are still proving popular.
“At a summer wedding the last thing most people want is a big bit of beef with vegetables and gravy, they want something light or they can take as much as they want,” explains Carole.
For starters Carole tends to go lighter with salmon and cucumber ribbons, mackerel and a horseradish sauce.
Alongside the catering Carole also makes cakes.
“I hate marzipan and thick royal or fondant icing so I only make the cakes I like - naked wedding cakes,” she smiles.
The saying may be love at first sight, and although it usually applies to people, looking at Carole’s dishes the same can be said for food.
For more information, visit www.nakedfoodcompany.co.uk
This feature first appeared in etc Magazine’s February edition, pick up your copy today.