A Partridge Green company is celebrating a bumper year after collecting its first local award.
Ginger’s Kitchen, a firm which specialises in chef-prepared meals, is currently engaged in a trial with coffee shop giant Caffe Nero - a potential deal which will cement its reputation as one of the county’s most exciting new food firms.
In just five-and-a-half years founder Dave Cook has gone from working on his own to running a company with 28 staff, who supply delicatessens, farm shops, cafes and countless other establishments across the region with handmade, freshly prepared food.
This year has seen the Huffwood Manor Estate-based firm take on even more staff, pick up new business and win the Manufacturing and Construction award at the Business Matters Awards 2014 - a ceremony hosted by JP South, the owner of the West Sussex County Times.
A trained chef with experience in numerous professional kitchens in London and Manchester, Dave, who lives in Billingshurst, eventually set up Ginger’s Kitchen in 2009, working on his own for a year in the capital, supplying select delicatessens.
But tired of travelling into London and keen to make a virtue of his West Sussex roots he joined forces with friend Tim Breden, who is now his business partner, and set up shop in Partridge Green.
Using suppliers from across West Sussex and the Brighton area, the company’s food has proved a hit with customers.
Dave, who takes inspiration from his grandfather who ran a traditional New Forest delicatessen, said of his growing business: “Whatever the size of business, everybody is so important to us - when it is a community farm in Sussex shop it is so key to us.
“The public is becoming more and more discerning.”
And he believes the Business Matters award is welcome validation for what he and his team do.
He said: “That recognition locally is so important.”