Maintenance Issues and Our First Wayfairer Hero

We’re struck by cooker maladies and also shine a light on our first ever Wayfairer Hero.

Getting Our Hands Dirty

This week we’ve come across our first technical problems since opening our doors. When we first bought in equipment for the Bistro our purchasing decisions were motivated by our financial limitations. Having struggled to scrape together the funds to purchase the building in the first place, it should come as no surprise that buying catering standard equipment was going to be out of the question for us, so we opted instead for multiple used New World domestic cookers that have served us pretty well. We’ve looked after them, even going so far as hiring an expert oven cleaner to sort them out when they got a bit dirty a few years ago. We invited Kerry, an expert in oven cleaning in Aylesbury to help us out and then, and have had no problems with them…up until recently.

Although we’d saved money initially in purchasing used units, around 2 years later we were paying for this saving. In the last few week several components in our New World cookers have been failing as as result of the intense strain we’ve been putting them under. Luckily because we bought 4 of the same model, we’ve been able to get hold of a complete range of New World cooker spare parts through a portal online, allowing us to get the kitchen back up and running in a matter of a few days.

Despite being technically hobbled for a couple of lunch services we’re still confident in the ovens that we’re using and, although we’ve got the funds to invest in better equipment, we’re going to hold onto our faithful New World cookers for a little while longer yet.

Wayfairer Heroes: Jeff Naylor – Our Local Organic Baker

Jeff Naylor started working on his wheat farm with his Father back in the late 80s. His Dad was a strict adherent to old school farming techniques – things were done the old way, most of the time using outdated machinery, something that was Jeff tried to persuade his Father to move away from.

As time wore on the financial situation of the business began to deteriorate. Soon it became clear that the old methods that his Father had espoused were simply not good enough anymore – put simply: something needed to change. By the turn of the Millennium, Jeff’s Father had passed away leaving what remained of the farm business to him. Knowing that the future of the farm, as well as the livelihood of those that worked for it were hanging in the balance, Jeff took several calculated risks in order to keep his business afloat.

Having noticed the ever increasing presence of organic and specialist foods at his local Farmers Market, Jeff decided to steer his own farm in that direction to corner a market and supply the local area with the ingredients needed to create their own specialist foods. Arable farming had long been a staple for the farm, but now they focused solely on the production of grains and seeds that would become the core component of Jeff’s signature product: bread!

Nearly 20 years later and Jeff has successfully made the transition from farmer to baker, specialising in the creation of loaves that are perfect for people with certain dietary needs. Although he’s passed on management of his farm over to his own sons now, Jeff still ensures that the employees of his businesses are treated fairly and that his product remains of the highest quality for miles around.

Drop in sometime and try some of our ‘Stuff-on-Toast‘ to taste the quality for yourself!

Getting Stuck Into Some Renovations

Deep cleaning, wall painting and stage building!

We’re going to be closing down for the next few weeks in order to get some much needed renovation work done.

Before the Summer season truly gets into full swing we’ve decided to close down for a few days in order to get some vital work done on the building. Our little Bistro has always been a firm proponent of ‘shabby chic’. Much like the motley crew of excellent folks we have working here, the dining area exudes a cosy warmth and rustic sensibility. However, unlike our staff, this understated style has started to slide into flat-out decrepitude, so we thought it would be a good idea to spend some time breathing some life back into our beloved Bistro.

We’ve spent three days getting some vital work done, hopefully you’ll appreciate the hard work we’ve put in:

Hanging doors…

At several points during these days some of us wished we’d taken time off instead of coming in. None of us had ever hung a door before and, as a result, it was quite the challenge fitting the 6 modern composite doors that we’d managed to get our grubby little mitts on. Whilst not the most exciting addition to our Bistro, we had all fallen foul of the rickety wooden ones that we were replacing at some point during the last year, so we were more than happy to sort them out – we just wish it hadn’t taken so long!

Deep cleaning the kitchen!

When we hire any new team members we’re always transparent when it comes to explaining how much cleaning they will have to do (hint: A LOT!). Our kitchen is kept hygienic throughout our services, however there are always the odd nooks and crannies that evade even our most meticulous cleaners. These three days gave us a clear opportunity to reach into those dirty corners and give them a good scrub. Everyone pitched in (even the bosses!) and the place has never looked better!

Redecorating and sprucing.

Whilst doors were being hung and the kitchen was being scrubbed, a few (luckier) employees were given the task of redecorating the entire Bistro. Although they had to use the previous colour scheme that our customers have come to grow and love, they were give complete creative control over the brand new blackboard murals which will be adorning our walls for the rest of the Summer. These murals are a perfect example of how we allow our employees to take ownership of their workplace, something that we believe is key to their satisfaction.

Erecting the new stage…

After a string of successful music events we’ve managed to raise enough money to purchase a permanent stage for the Bistro. Before this we were using temporary stage blocks which always felt a little amateurish, but our new custom built stage certainly dispels that vibe. Thanks to an investment in rugged foldaway furniture we’ll be able to make use of the space for dining during the day, whilst the space beneath can be used to store our sound equipment.

We’d like to thank you all for bearing with us for the last few days and we hope you enjoy the new renovations!

Get Stuck into Summer at the Way Fairer Bistro

There’s plenty to get excited for in the upcoming months…

Building gets underway and we offer you a chance to learn some plant-based recipes!

Learn from our chefs: Vegan Cookery Course

Have you considered trying vegan food before? We live in an age where ethical eating has never been more commonplace and, although we’re not a strictly-vegan establishment we understand that many folks would like to know what a vegan diet would look (and taste) like! Luckily for those people, our kitchen staff are 50% vegan and love to share their lifestyle with other people.

Talk to one of our staff to find about the series of Vegan Cookery Courses that we’re going to be running throughout the summer. We provide everything that you’ll need to learn: the ingredients, the equipment and the tuition – all you need to bring is an upbeat attitude and £10. In one lesson we’ll show you how to whip up a tasty, nutritious, three-course meal that is completely plant-based. Each lesson will take you through a different three-course dinner plan, giving you plenty of inspiration to pursue your own vegan lifestyle should it be to your liking.

Work on the decking is underway!

After we had a team of surveyors in to check out our messy yard we’ve been able to get to work on sorting out our decking. Our south-facing garden gets a good load of sunshine through these long days making it a perfect location for an outside dining area. If you were wondering if we were planning on applying our same ethical procedures to our building then you would be right! We’ve ensured that the wood that makes up our new decking is completely sustainable, even the varnish we’re using is eco-friendly!

With the help of a local building firm (as well as our a handful of our trusty friends) we’re going to be laying down the decking this coming weekend, so you can expect to be dining in the glorious sunshine within the fortnight – that is, if this English summer stays with us!

We welcome a new dish to the menu…

We always like to keep our menu fresh here at the Way Fairer Bistro and we think our chefs have really outdone themselves with their latest creation. If you’re looking to keep the calories off, or if you’re unlucky enough to have an intolerance to gluten then you’ll love our new Hispanic Omelette. Featuring free-range eggs, Fairtrade avos and even locally sourced coriander this is a dish that offers plenty of nutritional goodness as well as bags of flavour.

Using the avocado instead of mayonnaise, our chefs whip up a fresh coleslaw with lime, cabbage, carrot, onion and a slice of chilli for a spicy zing. All of our omelettes are made fresh to order with a sprinkling of local cheddar and cooked on a medium heat to ensure they stay smooth and silky inside. In a couple of minutes they’re served on a plate with that lovely zingy ‘slaw and wedge of lime for an extra – we give you two because we know how addictive they are!

Come on in this summer to check out the boards to see what other great summer eats we have on offer. 

Oven Cleaning, Pudding Pots and Dairy Farms

Our Chefs Get Creative and Our Ovens Get Cleaned

We hire some help to sort our ovens out and our chefs create a lovely sweet treat that will be guaranteed to get your mouth watering.

We get our ovens deep cleaned

Some jobs are simply too filthy for our crew to tackle alone and scrubbing our well-used ovens is certainly one of them. Although our chefs always make sure that our kitchen is absolutely spotless at the end of each shift, our New World ovens are notoriously tricky to keep clean. As with all of our gear, the ovens are scheduled in for an annual deep clean which guarantees that we stay within Health & Safety guidelines and that our equipment continues to perform at optimum levels.

After taking a look at some online reviews for the best oven cleaners we stumbled across Ovenu, a well-established brand that has seemingly cornered the oven cleaning industry. We gave them a call and we soon had a strapping young lad knocking on our door looking to take our oven apart. After just two hours, Michael had completely dismantled and deep-cleaned all our ovens and left them looking like they were brand new. Needless to say, we’ll be leaving our own positive review in due course.

Fairtrade Banana Peanut Butter

Everyone’s got a favourite dessert and this was certainly a contender when our chefs passed some samples out last weekend. We tasked our cooks with creating a brand new dessert for our Summer menu that put delicious Fairtrade goods front and centre; so that’s exactly what they did with their latest creation.

Our new Fairtrade Banana Peanut Butter Pudding Pot is deliriously tasty whilst also being pretty good for you! High in protein and low in added sugar, these pudding pots are made with Fairtrade tofu, bananas and a big dollop of organic peanut butter. We know our waiting staff had a great time tasting these new puds, so we’re sure you’ll enjoy trying them too!

Honouring our dairy supplier

Each and every one of our new healthy Fairtrade Peanut Butter Pudding Pots are topped with a dollop of delicious fresh whipped cream (arguably detracting from the healthy side of it) that we receive daily from local dairy producer: Jacob Masterson. The quality of the cream really makes this dessert which is why we’ve decided to highlight Jacob as our Wayfairer Hero for his commitment to animal welfare and end product quality.

We sent Oona, our head waitress, down to Jacob’s farm to meet him, as well as the 300 or so cows that he and his team rear, just a few miles away from the Bistro. Here’s Oona’s write up of the visit:

“I’ve always loved cows. Their big dopey eyes are so cute and they’re always so gentle with their young. Although I’ve eaten my fair share of steaks in my time, I have to admit that I might hesitate before I order another one after visiting Jacob’s farm. I know many people don’t like the smell of cows, but it’s something that you get used to when you live in our neck of the woods and it’s certainly something that Jacob doesn’t mind, especially when he has to look after over 300 of these beautiful creatures!”

You can try our new Fairtrade Banana Peanut Butter Pudding Pot for the rest of the Summer.

Ranjit’s Research Trip and a New Weekly Folk Night

New Events and Dishes Abound!

Jendrews Presents… will showcase new Folk, whilst our Ranjit gets inspiration from our local producers.

Jendrews return for a series of Folk events

Following the roaring success of our first folk night with the great Terry Jendrews, we’ve decided to continue holding charitable music events with the celebrated folkman curating each and every event for the next year.

Jendrews Presents… will be a showcase for the country’s finest upcoming folk acts, as well as providing a stage for some of the other elder statesmen of the genre who, like Terry, are looking to dust off their guitars for the occasional jaunt.

Terry has just finished putting together his first lineup, here’s what he had to say about it: 

“It’s an absolute privilege for me to be curating this weekly event for Way Fairer. My show here, just a few weeks ago, was a great success and it raised some much-needed funds for some great causes; with that in mind I’m determined to make each Jendrews Presents… as good as the next, so that we can continue to help out the people who need it most.

I’ll be playing a few new songs to get things going and then I’ll be introducing Jessica Makeware, followed by The Bawdy Brothers. These are all young artists who have shown the utmost respect to folk as a genre and I can’t wait to introduce them to you all!”

We’ll be selling tickets for Jendrews Presents… in the Bistro, so make sure you drop by to pick yours up!

Ranjit’s Trip to the Slaughterhouse!

Whilst 50% of our workforce is vegan, the other 50% love to eat meat.

Although many folks are surprised to find that we serve meat, we stand by our commitment of providing ethical food, which means that we always ensure that all the meat that ends on your plate has been fairly treated whilst it was living and breathing. The way we keep to this promise is by visiting all of our meat suppliers in person, this is easy for us as all our meat is supplied by local producers!

Recently, our newest recruit Ranjit took a visit to our poultry supplier to get an understanding of what we’re about here and to find some inspiration for his first dish. Here are his thoughts, in his own words:

“I’d never been to a chicken farm before, so I was interested to see what Tony, our poultry supplier, had to show me. I’d always imagined chicken farms as being lots of cages and a terrible smell, but when I arrived, it was clear to see that Tony cared for his livestock.

Hundreds of chickens, ducks, pigeons and quails were milling around in carefully segmented fields with oodles of space. Tony showed me the hatchery, where the next batch of birds were getting ready to hatch and he gave me a tour around the ethically-focused abattoir. I left his farm confident that Way Fairer had made the right choice picking him as a supplier, I was also inspired to create a dish that would exhibit the best of what his farm had to offer.”

You can taste Ranjit’s Triple-Bird Curry in the Bistro for the next fortnight – get it whilst you can!

Our Tea Just Got Fairer!

This month’s Wayfairer Hero and a new tea comes to the Bistro!

We celebrate one of our most faithful producers and look to get all Garden Force on our back yard…

Extending the al fresco dining area

The Summer’s now in full swing and with the Bistro now benefiting from more custom than ever we’ve managed to scrape together the money to start making some structural changes to the building.

Since we opened the place we’ve always wanted to make use of the yard are out back – unfortunately it had been treated as a dumping yard by the previous tenants for decades, so it had to proved to be too much of a job for us to handle early on. Now, with more man power and funds than ever before, we’ve been able to get the junk moved and get a good look at the space that we have at our disposal.

This week we had a local engineering team with their survey equipment to take a look at what we can feasibly do with the space. Although the initial plan of simply extending the dining area had to be scrapped, we were glad to find out that we’d be able to construct a decent decking area that would be able to serve the same purpose during the busy summer months. This kind of work can be completed without planning permission which means that we can get started right away!

Celebrating Jackie Tomlinsson: Our wonderful veg grower

From day one, Jackie has been supporting us with our mission to create a restaurant that is ethically responsible in as many ways as possible. Since 1995, Jackie has been cultivating some of the area’s best organic produce including heritage potatoes, award-winning kale and purple sprouting broccoli. Although Jax was disappointed to hear that we weren’t going to be serving exclusively vegan food, she soon warmed to the idea of what we were doing and has been supplying with her delicious veggies ever since.

Despite reaching the grand age of 70 last year, our Jackie remains the sole manager of her land and has become known far and wide as the only completely vegan farmer in the county. We’re proud to have her as one of our suppliers and hope we are cooking with her fantastic veggies for a long time to come!

Now stocking: Clipper Fairtrade Tea

Widely known in the Fairtrade community as the go-to tea for any ethical eater, Clipper Tea was the first Fairtrade certified tea and is the most popular brand of its kind in the UK. Since 1994 Clipper have worked with tea producers all over the world to ensure that they deliver a product that is not only of a high standard, but also puts the interests of the growers first. Tea farmers in India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi receive $0.50 for every kilo of tea that they sell in addition to Premiums which help their communities invest in education, healthcare and other social projects.

Feel free to ask any of our staff about the provenance of any our items on the menu and they’ll be happy to tell you where the ingredients came from and how they worked their way to your plate!

Changes Are Coming To Wayfairer!

We’re making a few changes to the Bistro.

This month we’re introducing a new soft drink to quench your thirst, two members of staff and much more…

Now stocking: Ubuntu Cola

We’ve avoided serving soft drinks at the Bistro for a long time, purely because we’ve found it impossible to find a beverage that adheres to our stringent rules on sustainability and ethical responsibility, that is until we found Ubuntu Cola.

Made by the Natural Beverage Co. (the smarty-pants folks behind froo-t and FruitHit), Ubuntu Cola is a completely Fairtrade cola beverage that is created with the sub-Saharan philosophy of human kindness in mind. Not only is all Ubuntu Cola made with sugar from Fairtrade plantations, but the money from each can we sell goes towards to helping the farmers’ communities back in Malawi.

Staff: Jessie and Falstaff

We’re happy to announce that we’ve got two new starters this week. Jessie has been waiting for a job with us ever since we opened last year and we’re so glad to have them on board.

The whole team here have got to know them during the past year and have always enjoyed hearing their latest news, so we’re proud to have them finally put an apron on and join us at the Bistro. Falstaff, meanwhile, is a relative newcomer to the area. He’s a chef by trade and has already proven himself at being quite the creative – we’re looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the team!

We now offer Gluten-free toast!

It’s taken us some time but we’ve finally got our hands on a gluten-free loaf that satisfies both our stringent ethical responsibilities, as well as the allergen tests required for us to serve Gluten-Free food.

Over the last decade there have been more diagnoses of gluten-based intolerances and allergies, although we’ve always aimed to cater to as many different people as possible, due to the delicate nature of this particular allergen we’ve not been able to promise completely gluten-free food until now. Our Gluten-free toast made in a controlled environment, guaranteeing you a worry-free slice.

Evening Folks session starting next week…

It was always part of our plan to have music at our Bistro and now we’ve got the equipment (and the permission) to do so! Although we’ve been petitioned by many of our regulars to hold an open mic night, we’ve decided to hold off on that plan for a little while, in favour of focusing on a particular genre.

Folk music has been at the heart of our little Bistro for some time now, it’s the one genre of music that ties together all the people that work here, so it makes sense that we invite some of our favourite local performers to play for us. We’ll be holding a weekly Folk session every Thursday afternoon, so come on down and check it out!