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Introducing Bernadette McCarthy, and her range of delicious and convenient vegetarian foods.

Bernadette enjoys living in the small market town of Newport in Shropshire with her partner, John. She has always loved cooking for family and friends and in recent years she has enjoyed experimenting with vegetarian cooking more and more, but she has often wished that she had access to more traditional vegetarian 'easy meals', especially for those busy times when preparing dinners for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians at the same time.

All Bernadette`s nutroasts are handmade using the freshest ingredients. They have drawn great interest from the cookery and vegetarian communities, especially since they reached the final of the Waitrose Small Producers Awards in 2006.

 

The History Of Thank Goodness

1978    John becomes vegetarian

1979    John’s mum creates a great nutroast recipe.

John's mum, Edith

John's mum, Edith

1997    John uses the recipe for giant nutroasts for his New Year’s Eve party and invites Bernadette (and others).

2003    Bernadette realises that no really good nutroast can be bought in the shops. She uses John’s mum’s recipe, creates another two and starts to sell them in her local market. Her nephew Jonathan designs her logo.

         Bernadette at Shrewsbury Farmers' Market

         Bernadette at Shrewsbury Farmers' Market

2004    Bernadette begins to supply Green Fields Farm Shop in Donnington, Telford and to attend some local Farmers’ Markets, using tablecloths decorated by her sister Clare, and gains Vegetarian Society approval for four products. The 45kg mixer arrives in her kitchen.

The 45kg mixer, with Bernadette and Hazel Kelly, who cooked for us long ago and in recent years has been a brilliant stallholder for us, along with her family.

The 45kg mixer, with Bernadette and Hazel Kelly, who cooked for us long ago and in recent years has been a brilliant stallholder for us, along with her family.

 2004    The Vegetarian Society recommends Thank Goodness nutroasts to Antony Worrall Thompson, who writes a superb review in a “Tried and Tasted” feature in the Sunday Express magazine, awarding us ten out of ten.

2005    Online sales begin. Polystyrene boxes can only be bought in bulk and arrive when no-one’s in. Bernadette supplies Harrod’s but on one occasion the carrier misreads the postcode so the nutroasts come back a week later after spending a week in Scotland. Harrod’s are not amused.


 

The first polystyrene boxes arrive

The first polystyrene boxes arrive

2006    Bernadette is a finalist in the Waitrose Small Producers of the Year Awards and is now supplying shops nationwide (and beyond. One customer in Brussels pays silly money to have nutroasts sent by air-mail.) John starts a two-year spell as production manager. 

John modelling a beard-snood

John modelling a beard-snood

2007    We receive a giant order from Holland and Barratt on 3rd December. Six days later (amazingly) we deliver 4500 nutroasts, made by a sub-contractor who has unfortunately not been in a position to repeat the order for us

2008    Claire Garnham writes a glowing review of the Luxury Vegan nutroast in  “Natural Health” magazine: “The flavour and texture of this are perfect, and it’s really satisfying and crumbly – just like homemade but without the hassle! I’ll be eating it twice a week”

2009    Six Thank Goodness products now have Vegetarian Society approval and the list of stockists grows, with Bernadette also supplying some local pubs and restaurants.

The Dickin Arms, Loppington. They do a great nutroast. (Ours)

The Dickin Arms, Loppington. They do a great nutroast. (Ours)

2011    John retires from teaching and returns to full-time with Thank Goodness.   “Perfect Christmas with Peter Andre” magazine reviews the Traditional nutroast – which is basically John’s Mum’s recipe. “The intense flavours and aromas of the onions, nuts and cheese make a delicious combination”. Thanks, Peter!

2012    Our busiest year by far. The kitchen is stretched to bursting point pre-Christmas and in November we have to turn down an order from a supermarket chain.

Bernadette with her sisters – (from left to right) Clare, who produced the table-cloths; Louise, who produced Jonathan and has been a great help doing tasting sessions in shops; and Mary, who produced Fergus, who designed and for nine years ran our website

Bernadette with her sisters – (from left to right) Clare, who produced the table-cloths; Louise, who produced Jonathan and has been a great help doing tasting sessions in shops; and Mary, who produced Fergus, who designed and for nine years ran our website

Bernadette’s son Pete, with grand-daughter Lauren learning the trade. (Pete's been helping us out for years as all-purpose trouble-shooter, dogsbody and expert forker.  Here he is passing on his forking skills. )

Bernadette’s son Pete, with grand-daughter Lauren learning the trade. (Pete's been helping us out for years as all-purpose trouble-shooter, dogsbody and expert forker.  Here he is passing on his forking skills. )

2013    In January we receive our biggest order yet from a wholesaler and decide to move into larger premises, but the next day we receive an offer from a reliable sub-contractor to produce for us under licence. (They’re the Quay Co-op in Cork. After running some trial batches we trust them completely as the team there is dedicated to producing only top quality produce - and it includes Bernadette’s brother Arthur and sometimes Saol, her great-nephew.)

The Quay Co-op, Sullivans Quay, Cork

The Quay Co-op, Sullivans Quay, Cork

In May the first pallets are dispatched to wholesalers in the U.K. and Ireland and Bernadette now has time to do the marketing and product development she’s always wanted to do. 

The 45kg mixer sets off for Ireland at 6.45 a.m.

The 45kg mixer sets off for Ireland at 6.45 a.m.

Marketing .... a Motorway services stop en route for Olympia, 2013.  (Please note the "Thank Goodness" and "Quay Co-op" brands, not the others.)

                                                                               Bernadette at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair, Harrogate, 2014

2015   Product development...

New products now available nation-wide include our Chilli Senza Carne and our Honeyed Cashew Pâté with Orange Liqueur

Tastings of the Chilli at Green Fields Farm Shop, Donnington;                                                  and Tom packing at the Quay Co-op

2015     In our own region our Shroppie Pie is developing a following.  Bernadette and John dreamed it up while chugging up and down the Shroppie - the Shropshire Union Canal - on their narrowboat, craving a satisfying vegetarian pie and being disappointed by most of the veggie offerings in chip shops.  Its juicy filling of vegetables, rice and aduki beans fools most carnivores.  Here's the creation of the first ever Shroppie Pie - for home consumption only - and a shot of its box.

                                                                                                                                               This appears in the local paper the week when the pies go on sale
                                                                                                                                                and we also win the Great Taste Award for our Luxury Nutroast.

2016      More marketing ...  two more UK wholesalers are now distributing Thank Goodness foods and retailers throughout Wales can now order our range, from Essential Trading - another co-op.

With Jaspa in the tea aisle at Essential Trading

With Jaspa in the tea aisle at Essential Trading

In November the Vegetarian Society names two of our products in its top Savoury Six products for Christmas.  One is our own Luxury Nutroast and the other is the dried Gluten-Free Nut Roast mixture produced by Suma, which uses a recipe we developed at their request.

 

2017   We are approached by a major supermarket chain to create an own-brand nutroast for them.  We can't say who they are, but it's nice to be asked.