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Longstanding family business continues to serve Canterbury restaurants

A speciality food wholesale business, which has supplied Canterbury restaurants since 1997, has changed its name and expanded its product line in the wake of the February 22 earthquake.

The business’ managing director, Peter Solotti, wife Grace and son James, who has recently returned from the United Kingdom, are now operating the former PK Wholesale Supplies as Solotti Food Company.

The Philipstown company supplies many top restaurants in Canterbury, including Pegasus Bay Winery, Edesia, The George Hotel and Otahuna Estate. The company’s first customer was Annie’s Wine Bar and Restaurant in The Arts Centre and it had supplied the restaurant for almost 15 years when the recent earthquake unfortunately closed it permanently.

Peter Solotti says the different name reflects a change in focus in recent months.

We have concentrated on developing the range of boutique and artisan products we are able to offer to our customers. We are one of the few suppliers in Christchurch of many speciality products from Italy and other parts of Europe and, in some of the quieter times since the earthquake, we have had time to research and source an even more extensive line of products. The Solotti family were grocers who hailed from Tuscany so we are proud to continue a long tradition of supplying good quality food products many generations later in Christchurch.”

Top quality products available from Solotti Food Company include carnaroli rice (considered by the Italians to be the finest risotto rice), champagne vinegar, Greek kalamata olives, truffle oil, saffron and pomegranate molasses. This is complemented by a range of other products, such as dried herbs and spices, dried fruits, baking supplies, nuts and pulses, oils and vinegars.

James, 32, is enjoying working for the family business again after eight years in the United Kingdom where he managed bars and restaurants across the country. Most recently, he managed the Hard Rock Café in Manchester.

He says one thing that has not changed is the company’s emphasis on personal service. “We are very, very passionate about what we do and we have built our reputation in developing long lasting relationships with our customers. In fact, many of our customers have been with us for more than a decade. Through hard work, determination and innovation we will continue to support establishments which are open during these difficult times and look forward to being part of the new Christchurch.”

Jimmy McIntyre, Executive Chef at Otahuna Lodge, says Solotti Food Company is a trusted supplier with a broad range of quality products. “They offer a good personal service, their prices are competitive and I like the fact it is a family-run business. They also go out of their way to deliver at times that suit us.”

Edesia Head Chef Ryan Henley says Solotti Food Company offers friendly, attentive service. “Managing a kitchen requires teamwork and this includes our suppliers. I believe you need to respect and get along with your suppliers as they play a pivotal role in the smooth running of a restaurant.”

James & Peter Solotti Christchurch 2011

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