Charlie Hicks – greengrocer extraordinaire

Martin Orbach

We are delighted to announce that Charlie Hicks Restaurant Supplies will be supporting our Masterclasses at The Christmas Show. This means that while watching the cookery demonstrations at St Mary’s Priory you will be able to nibble on seasonal fruits supplied by Mr Hicks and his associates.

Charlie Hicks is a fifth generation greengrocer. Back in the day he plied his trade around the old Covent Garden market, supplying what was technically known as ‘top gear’ – before Clarkson & Co colonised the term –  to the kitchens of London’s finest restaurants.

It was there that he and his colleague – a certain Gregg Wallace – were discovered by the BBC who asked them to present a new radio series to be called Veg Talk. Veg Talk was a kind of unearthly cross between the Radio 4 Food Programme and the Chris Moyles Show.

Foodie guests were lured into the studio where Charlie and Gregg would interview them against a backdrop of market-style banter. They introduced such improbable features as ‘What’s In/What’s Out’,  ‘Veg of the Week’ and, Charlie insists, Radio 4’s first-ever phone-in. Remarkably they were re-commissioned for nine series.

While Gregg has gone on to present almost everything on TV, Charlie never gave up the day-job and made the inspired decision to relocate to the Welsh Borders. Since then he has focussed on supplying restaurants in the South West and South Wales, to the benefit of leading establishments like The Walnut Tree, The Bath Priory and Clifton Lido who all make use of Charlie’s unparalleled knowledge of the fresh produce market.

Charlie Hicks & Freddy Bird

As an added bonus you can get the lowdown from the man himself, when Charlie takes to the stage at St Mary’s Priory in the company of one of his clients, Freddy Bird the up-and-coming chef at Clifton Lido. Moro-trained Freddy Bird is fascinated by the food of the Middle East and North Africa and he and Charlie will be encouraging you to try using some of the wonderful imported fruits that are around now in your Christmas cooking. Think Turkey, not turkey – they say.

The Masterclass ‘Turkey not turkey’ takes place at our Christmas Fair on Sunday 11 December at 12.30. View full details and book online now.

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