I first came across Mr Fitz as a food blogger, writing under the name of Cooking With Mr Fitz. He has, however, got his finger in many pies - quite literally! Indeed, it is hard to keep track of everything he does or to realise that he is necessarily behind a particular business name. It is obvious that he is behind The Fabulous Mr and Mrs Fitz - a hot food caterer specialising in all natural hog roasts and barbecues. He is also involved in Simply Samosas and Pie Club GB and Hog Roast GB. But that is probably the mere tip of the ice-berg as he seems to spend most of his time gallivanting around the world in exotic locations catering for VIPs and, it seems, lounging poolside in his mirrored sunglasses!
To use the word "confident" about Mr Fitz is to understate him. He is very much assured that he has food on offer that everyone would want to eat. I have read about and heard about his foodie delights for a while now but it was not until the weekend that I got my first chance to taste some. Often when I have a stall at a food event I take a packed lunch with me - partly because I don't know if I will get a moment to leave my stall to find lunch and partly to stop myself spending the profits before they are earned. But on this occasion I really wanted to see if there was bite behind his bark and if his food was really as fabulous as he would have you believe.
I started my taste experience mid-morning on a reccy-mission to see what I might fancy for lunch. Mr Fitz was enthusing at this point about the new and exclusive Hawaiian buns that he had created in collaboration with Geoff from Geoff's Real Artisan Bread. Geoff is a patient man and passionate about his bread and I know he has worked with other local hot food business, such as Good Times Cafe, to not just offer them locally sourced artisan bread for their businesses but to ensure it is the best bread for their needs. What Mr Fitz needed was a pineapple bread bun to suit his Cajun spiced pork. That morning the buns were ready for their first taste test complete with the pork and all the trimmings and it was Geoff who was to have the first taste. I, on the other hand, tentatively tried a piece of the pork on its own as I am a bit of a spice-wimp and didn't want to ruin my lunch with something overly spiced. It, of course, wasn't overly spiced but it also wasn't lunchtime so I returned to my stall to serve my customers.
When lunchtime did arrive, I found myself fancying the hog roast sausage that Mr Fitz had on offer. I felt I should have been more adventurous and maybe tried the spicy Spanish but it's the spice thing again. Regular readers of my blog will know that I love a good sausage and this was a good sausage - meaty but not overly chunky, seasoned but not overly peppered or overwhelmed with herbs. This, I think, is a sausage I want to buy to cook at home for the family.
Later, whilst wandering past the stall again I overheard Lesley from Kandola's Kitchen making the discovery that amidst this apparent meat-feast Mr Fitz was also able to offer her a vegan option. This brought Debbie from Minkiemoo Bakery out too and later I heard Lesley trying to extract the vegan burger recipe from Mr Fitz she had enjoyed it so much. Like his first name, there are just some things Mr Fitz is not willing to share.
It was 3 o'clock when the afternoon munchies set in again so I returned to Mr Fitz to sample his pulled barbecue pork. This he assembled into one of the now famous Hawaiian buns and as we exchanged banter he piled in some coleslaw made from various vegetables from his friend's allotment and then dolloped in some sort of creamy dressing followed by something green. He didn't ask, he just did. But he was right. Whatever it was, the combinations worked perfectly and it was delicious. Having consumed the bun, I went back to tell him.
"Mr Fitz," I said, "it seems you know what you are doing."
He reeled off a whole load of places and people he has catered for, being the well traveled caterer he is, but said that he was pleased to get my seal of approval too. I felt I should have given him a badge to formalise my approval but sadly I hadn't prepared one!
After a lovely day at the summer food market, enjoying the general good humored love of local food, it was time to head home. As I slowly edged my way past the collapsing stalls, Mr Fitz leaned down to my open car window and handed me a warm silver foil bundle.
"Have you got a family who would enjoy eating this?" he asked as he passed me the barbecued pulled pork. Silly question.
So, this afternoon, in the absence of Geoff and his Hawaiian buns, I made some steamed boa buns and reheated the pulled pork. This I served alongside strips of homegrown carrot and cucumber, chunks of beetroot and lettuce, cooked French beans and some sauted potatoes. Needless to say, the meal was fabulous!