Sunday’s win against Premiership leaders Saracens showed what your Sharks can do on the field. But eagle-eyed Sharks fans might have noticed some big changes off the field too.
The sell-out match was the first since the club agreed a partnership with award-winning catering company Heathcote & Co.
The Lancashire-based firm, set up by Michelin starred chef Paul Heathcote and business partner Gary Bates, will provide high quality, locally produced food and drink options both around the stadium concourse and in hospitality suites.
Further details about the partnership will be released in due course but it’s the first step to ensuring every Sharks fan has a matchday experience to remember.
Sid Sutton said: “This partnership is crucial for the future of the club because it’s all about enhancing the matchday experience for our fans to make sure the quality off the field matches the performances on it.
“We’re really excited to be working with Paul and Gary. Their commitment to supporting local, northern farmers and food producers aligns perfectly with our passion for our region.
“I hope the fans saw some really positive changes at the stadium at the Saracens game, and I’m sure that will contain into the remaining home games this season. We’re all excited about what we can do for next season and beyond too.”
Heathcote & Co champions local producers and local suppliers are used as much as possible. Quality meats from Brendan Anderton Butchers in Longridge, fruit & vegetables from Ribble Farm Fayre, and cheeses from top Lancashire dairies such as Mrs Kirkham’s and Butlers, help Heathcote & Co to produce top quality, locally inspired menus.
Pies at the AJ Bell will be produced by Clayton Park Bakery, based in Accrington, while matchday pints will come from local breweries.
In the stadium’s hospitality suites, look out for classic Northern inspired dishes including slow braised beef and Guinness pie with mash and root vegetables, braised shoulder of lamb, hot pot potatoes, sticky carrot, rosemary gravy, Heathcote Manchester Tart & Eccles cakes with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese.
Paul Heathcote said: “I’m really excited to start working with Sale Sharks and absorbing ourselves into the culture of the club.
“Supporting local farmers and local growers as well as employing and training local, young people are key to our ethos and I know that fits perfectly with the passion of everyone at the club to represent and support this region.
“In hospitality, guests can expect great food with fantastic, locally-sourced ingredients and plenty of creativity. And in the kiosks we’ll be serving local beer, local pies and making sure service is top quality.
“We want to make a difference in the remaining games, but we’re also really excited to start planning for the future.”