The Development Kitchen of Dreams: Dan McEvoy, Dalehead Foods

Every well-equipped test kitchen should be able to mirror the processes of the factory. This is key to creating ‘robust’ NPD products, especially when working on products that are heavily processed.

So whatever your wish-list is for your ideal test kitchen, always have in mind the goal is creating products that the factory can manufacture.

That being said, every development chef has a development kitchen of dreams – or at least, a number of dream additions – in the back of his/her mind.

Fitted with equipment and tech seen on key past experiences/projects, thought up from a clear development need or simply plucked from the culinary ether; these kitchens are next level, and are all yours.

I’m no exception, and I can think of five dream additions to my own development kitchen right off the bat.

A walk-in, Himalayan salt-lined, dry-aging room

We actually have a small one of these at our Dalehead Linton site, where we do our dry-aged testing.

Let me tell you – dry-aged lamb is insanely good and a seldom-seen item on any menu.

A virtual reality suite

‘Gastrophysics’ is something we all take for granted as we sit in a newly fitted-out London hot spot or as we dine at a Bangkok street vendor.

Food tastes better when all our senses are switched on. What better than cooking, developing and eating in a fully immersive setting of your choice.

A wok burner (and proper extraction)

When I worked at Nahm for David Thompson, I loved to work the stir fry section.

You would put two woks on the burners for 20 minutes before service and heat them until they were glowing and ready for a busy service.

A skilled stir-fry chef moves the ingredients around a dry wok creating a distinctive smokey flavour known as the “breath of the wok”.

A waste food digester

It’s an unfortunate consequence of NPD work that we create a lot of food waste. We are either trying new concepts or benchmarking current products.

Despite all the ‘green will’ in the world, it’s impossible not to create waste. So what better than to have a heated food digester to turn our waste into compost.

A crystal ball (that actually works)

Talk about plucking from the ether. We all want to know what’s coming next in food and drink. My dream crystal ball really tells the future. No smoke and mirrors here.

Dan McEvoy
Dan McEvoy
Dan is a divisional development chef for Pilgrims UK and helps drive culinary innovation within Dalehead Foods - a higher welfare food production operation dedicated to serving Waitrose with high quality pork and lamb products.

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