A paté entrepreneur who has launched the world’s first dairy-free chicken liver parfait will spread the secret of his success to members of an influential business group.
Rufus Carter, commercial director of Patchwork Paté, is one of the keynote speakers at the next meeting of Wrexham Business Professionals (WBP) at the Ramada Plaza on May 12.
The group is made up of highly skilled professional firms of solicitors, accountants and other businesses working together to raise the profile of expertise and enterprise that exists in the region and beyond.
The topic for discussion at their May meeting will be Powering Regional Prosperity – Food Glorious Food.
Rufus, 46, has unveiled Patchwork’s latest product, a chicken liver parfait made from margarine rather than the traditional butter which means it’s completely dairy free and, he believes, both a UK and world first.
He explained: “We’d been approached by a chain of restaurants to come up with a chicken liver parfait that was silky smooth,” recalled Rufus.
“We’d usually add butter but we tried with some margarine instead.
“I remember saying to one of my colleagues that we’d just come up with the first ever dairy-free chicken liver parfait and, in fact, that’s exactly what we’d done.
“It was so good that we decided to market it and following a couple of months of development, we have just launched this fantastic new product.
“We showed it at the Food & Drink Expo at the NEC in Birmingham which is one of the biggest trade events of its kind in the world, and the parfait will then go on sale to the public during the first week of May.”
Rufus’s mother, Margaret Carter, a talented home cook who found herself divorced with three children to look after, and Jenny Whitham, founded patchwork Pate in 1982.
With a start-up cost of just £9, they began selling her home-made pâtés to pubs in nearby Llangollen.
As they attracted more and more customers and the business started to expand, they moved the business from Margaret’s house to a purpose-equipped factory in the heart of Ruthin back in 1987.
Despite its commercial scale today, everything is still hand-made in small batches, without artificial colouring, additives or preservatives, to Margaret and Jenny’s original recipes.
Apart from paté, Patchwork also has a range of own-brand chutneys, relishes, biscuits and ceramics.
Rufus added: “The new dairy-free parfait should appeal to the growing `free-from’ market – free from wheat, sugar and dairy. We believe that nothing like has ever been produced, either in the UK or worldwide.
“We’ll be selling it in our traditional retail outlets of stores, pubs, restaurants, delis, food halls and butchers shops right across the UK.
“We’re also thinking of exports, and this new product has lots of potential for us in the future.
“We currently have 25 staff in Ruthin but it’s inevitable that we’ll have to recruit extra staff if it really starts to take off.
“I believe you’ve got to exploit new markets and explore new products or otherwise everything grinds to halt.”
Rufus was delighted to have been asked to address the Wrexham Business Professionals event on May 12 and added: “I’ll be speaking about our development of our dairy-free chicken liver parfait and also stressing how farming, agriculture and food are the absolute backbones of the local economy, especially in an area like Ruthin where providing employment is so vital.”
WBP chair Gill Kreft: “The food and drink supply industry is a massive part of the Welsh economy, it employs 17 per cent of our workforce and generates and annual turnover of £15.5 billion.
“We are incredibly lucky in North East Wales to have some of our very finest food producers based here, companies like the Patchwork Paté, the Village Bakery and a whole host of others who are powering regional prosperity.
“Rufus is a brilliant ambassador for the indigenous food industry and all of us can learn from their experience and we can apply those lessons to spread more success to other sectors.”