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Record breaking wasabi grown in Dorset bought by top chef
MIGHTY VEG: The record-breaking wasabi rhizome grown in Dorset was bought at auction by Raymond Blanc
TOP CHEF Raymond Blanc has snapped up a record breaking wasabi grown in Dorset.
The Watercress Company, based at Waddock Cross near Dorchester, has recently branched out into growing wasabi and officially launched the product this summer.
After growing a wasabi rhizome that weighed in at 0.377grams – believed to be the largest ever produced in Britain – the company decided to have a Christmas auction to raise funds for Julia’s House children’s hospice.
Managing director Tom Amery said: “It’s the largest we have ever produced and nobody else is really producing it here so we think it’s the UK record.”
Harnessing the power of Twitter, bids were taken and Mr Blanc came in with the top offer of £200.
Mr Blanc, owner of the two-Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, described the wasabi rhizome on Twitter as ‘magnificent wasabi art work’. Mr Amery said: “That £200 will be going off to Julia’s House and we have just written a thank you card for Raymond and it’s in the post for him.”
Mr Amery said he has no doubt Mr Blanc will put the wasabi to great use in his recipes and is especially pleased the star chef was the successful bidder as he has always been a supporter of wasabi growing in the United Kingdom.
He added: “His restaurant uses wasabi and he happened to be one of the first in the UK that sample British wasabi so he’s been there right from the start.
“It’s wonderful – I’m really pleased.”
Mr Amery said his firm started growing wasabi around three or four years ago but did not launch the product until this summer.
He said he has been astonished with how successful the product has proved.
Mr Amery said: “We have had a massive amount of orders this winter. We are shipping it from our farm here in Dorset all over the UK and we have also been selling across into Europe. It’s been phenomenal.”
He added: “We have hopefully got some new exciting plans for next year to move it a bit further but it’s been a great launch.”