Andrew ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, the founder of Yorkshire-based Truefoods doesn’t believe in compromise. Take Truefoods stocks, they have an incomparable depth of flavour and are the foundation for the lush gravies he crafts for Booths. They start with pure ingredients: British-sourced bones, filtered spring water and UK grown vegetables. But as important as what is in them is what is not: no additives, stabilisers, flavour enhancers or colours. “It has to be 100% true and natural,” he says.
It all goes back to his early days as a chef and his training. “When I was a young chef in a kitchen, and a chef told me to put the stock on, he would never tell me to go to the dry stores for malted extract or yeast extract. So I’m not putting that in mine.” Everything that comes out of his kitchens must meet his exacting standards - standards he honed in some of the top kitchens in the world, including three years cooking for the King and Queen of Jordan. He met them when they were guests at a hotel in Scotland where he worked. “The Queen would ask for my bread recipe or my pasta recipe. One day I got a call, ‘Would you like to be their chef?’” During that time, he also cooked for American presidents and royalty from across the world.
Subsequently, Mitch worked closely with Linda McCartney on the development of her vegetarian food range, an experience that got him interested in commercial food production. When he decided to set up on his own, he came up with the idea for a company that would make restaurant-quality stocks and sauces for chefs and home cooks who no longer had the time to make their own. Since then, Truefoods has branched out into gourmet terrines, pâtés and pies, and is a real family affair, with Mitch’s wife Jack working as a director and their younger son Simon in their sales department.
Christmas is a traditional affair for the Mitchells. They are joined in their Harrogate home by their two sons, as well as relatives from Scotland. “I think Yorkshire does Christmas better than Scotland – there’s more of an effort made down here,” says Mitch.
“We start with a big fried breakfast. Lunch is usually carrot and coriander soup, turkey and Christmas pudding,” says Mitch, who mans the stove for the occasion. Jack, meanwhile, is responsible for the trifle. At 8pm, there’s a buffet of Truefoods delicacies. “We’ll usually do some chicken liver pâté and some salmon terrine, with local cheeses and chutney.” On Boxing Day, Mitch dishes up a steak and kidney pie, and for New Year’s Eve, it’s usually Beef Wellington or a salmon en croûte.
But although he’s such a gourmet, for Mitch, Christmas isn’t just about what’s on the menu. “The part I love the best is giving the presents, Frank Sinatra in the background and seeing people’s faces when they undo the wrapping. I get quite emotional about it. There’s just something special about that moment – it’s beautiful.”
Today Truefoods supplies some of the leading restaurants in the world that combined boast over 50 Michelin stars. “As a young chef it was, all about the food and the same remains true now.” Mitch and Aled at Truefoods, Yorkshire.