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Meera Cortesi: How The Truffle Entrepreneur Made a Name for Herself in London’s Top Dining Scene



Walk into any one of London’s top restaurants before service begins, and you will see a flurry of activity – chefs busy prepping, deliveries of fresh produce coming in and tables being laid. You are likely to hear Meera Cortesi before you see her though, with her raucous laugh and her trademark hat; she will be chatting away amiably with the chefs.

Over the last 15 years, Cortesi, of the eponymously named brand, has steadily been making a name for herself as one of the most reputable truffle dealers in London. Family is what led her to the business; in 2005, shortly after the birth of her second child, she needed to find a new career that could take her away from the corporate world of private banking, so she turned towards another passion. Having had a long-standing love affair with all things Italian (she even married one!), her father in law introduced her to a family friend in the truffle business. Perhaps she was destined to make her way into the luxury food market because she found herself with a few crates of the precious fungus and a budding client list from Ruthie Rogers, Angela Hartnett, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducaisse, Fortnum, Masons, and many more only 2 months into her first season. 

It would be easy to say the rest is history, however in reality it has more to do with hard work and an uncompromising eye for quality; fluent in Italian, Cortesi has made her own inroads into the supply chain in search of the best quality truffles that can be found. As with all luxury products, truffles command a very high price. Chefs and foodies alike need to trust their supplier as every season, quality and availability vary greatly. They need someone with experience and integrity to guide them through the purchasing process in this notoriously fickle market, so loyalty is key. 

Cortesi is the face of her business and still makes all her deliveries personally. No two days are the same for her during the season, which is one of the things she loves most about her job. On any given morning she will get phone calls from chefs all around London, from The River Café to Murano, asking for last minute deliveries. Meera spends much of the time on the road, but it’s made worthwhile because she gets to meet the chefs face to face and talk about both food and business. This personal touch may seem quaint, however it’s integral to her success. Cortesi jumped into her new profession during a time when the popularity of truffles were tangibly on the rise, however despite the increase in demand, the market remains intimate and old school. 

She deals in both white and black truffles, the rarest variety of which can go for up to $1,200/lb. The white truffles must be hand foraged and are available for only two months of the year. Black truffles, less rare but still coveted, are available year-round in varying forms. When dealing with her suppliers, Cortesi knows to stay patient and trust the experts. When dealing with her buyers, she always provides absolute transparency into her product batch and price; this is exactly why she has been able to cultivate the staying power that she has.

Cortesi is using her entrepreneurial spirit to revolutionize this traditional and storied industry. We are all keenly aware that 2020 has been a disastrous year for the hospitality industry.  

Being a small operation has meant that she can transform her business model easily and quickly. Though her connections in the restaurant industry are firmly established, she is now branching out into the private market, doing pop ups at luxury delis and teaming up with restaurants to supply take-away truffle kits. What seems evident is that the demand for quality produce has not diminished – whether we are eating out or at home. With that in mind, Meera Cortesi is riding the crest of the wave. Watch this space.

(Syndicated press content is neither written, edited or endorsed by ED Times)

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