Toil & Boil Culinary Stocks Take Advantage of Farm Harvests

A South Kingstown chef’s new brand takes the toil out of preparing fresh, flavorful food


At the foundation of so many culinary creations – from basic soups and gravy to elaborate paella and risotto – is one deceptively simple ingredient: the stock. Johnson & Wales University grad and South Kingstown chef James English is serious about stock, so much so that he opened Toil & Boil, a farm-to-table brand that blends sustainability and flavor.

Having worked in kitchens across the state for the past 12 years, English sought a reprieve from the restaurant scene, and found it in the labor of love that goes into the alchemy of culinary stocks, which he produces in the commissary kitchen where his Sea & Smoke Catering business is also based. “The secret is that, like all things, good stocks take time,” he explains. “We simmer ours for 10 to 18 hours, creating layers of flavors that are unparalleled.”

The harmony of crop-to-stock enticed English. “I love the romanticism of the farmer-chef relationship,” he says. “The farmer working the land, using the Earth, caring for their animals. And the chef, who takes what the farmer has created and uses their own passion and creativity to change that animal or vegetable into more than just basic sustenance, but into food that’s delicious.” It’s a relationship English describes as “symbiotic poetry,” and he pours this energy into a mission that’s unpretentious. “Stocks are the backbone to good food,” he says, and by bringing chef-prepared ingredients to homecooks, anyone can experience a little bit of the magic – without the toil.

Sourcing local ingredients was an obvious choice for many reasons, not least of all the environmental and economic benefits of using vegetables and bones from farmers – many of whom operate using sustainable agriculture practices and organic farming, oftentimes even ones that aren’t FDA Organic Certified because “that label costs a farmer big bucks,” English explains.

“Because we are boiling and straining out all these vegetables – and composting the waste! – we are also able to purchase vegetables from the farmers that are not so pretty and otherwise may end up as animal feed, or ground back into the fields,” English explains, and the farmers can rely on regular purchases of their ugly produce. A firm believer in uplifting the local food system, he notes, “When you spend your money on food that was grown nearby, that money goes to someone nearby, and they in turn spend their money nearby. Buying directly from the farmers also allows us to pay our farmers a fair living wage for their hard work.” 

And the flavor? “On a whole other level,” says English. He’s rolling out vegetable, chicken, and beef stocks – along with a Doggy Collagen Gravy for canine family members – that can be found at South County farmers markets this summer. Unlike store-bought broths and bouillons that go in the pantry, English’s stocks are sold frozen to preserve flavors for up to six months.

Not just for soups, Toil & Boil’s line of products add depth to any recipe in place of water, in dishes that use gravy, for braising meats and vegetables, and countless other uses – English shares recipes on his website. “Every home cook should have good stock on hand,” he says, “like having spices in the cabinet.” Follow @toilandboil for farmers market dates and locations or visit



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