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Producer of the Month: David Holliday, co-founder David Oliver Fine Foods

Producer of the Month: David Holliday, co-founder David Oliver Fine Foods


Producer of the Month: David Holliday, co-founder David Oliver Fine Foods

Guinea Fowl and Lentils, Classic Venison Stew and Rabbit with Cider and Sage Sauce are just some of the ready-made meals created by friends and chefs David Holliday and Oliver Shute, founders of David Oliver Fine Foods David and his former flat-mate Oliver established their range of meals specialising in game and wild food in 2011. They both had enjoyed rural upbringings – David's on a farm in Hampshire, Oliver's in Scotland - before going on to become chefs. David ran the Harwood Arms in Fulham, the first pub to gain a Michelin star. 

They began to feel frustrated at the limited repertoire of British ready-made food available. So they joined forces to create traditional country game dishes for the ready-meal market, made to a restaurant standard. Their insistence on using the finest ingredients from the best producers of game and wild food has seen its just rewards, with their meals of guinea fowl, venison, beef and rabbit all proving to be tremendously popular. 

They are about to launch a range of soups - Pheasant Mulligatawny using pheasant from Berkshire, Partridge Broth made from Westcountry partridge and Persian Venison using Lowland Hampshire Venison.

  • Why do you do what you do? 

We both grew up in the countryside and have a passion for cooking and game. What we do enables us to live and work in the countryside doing what we love and being able to share what we love with everyone else. 

  • What achievement are you most proud of? 

Seeing our game based meals on the shelves of Waitrose. 

  • What is your most memorable moment? 

Learning how to shoot pigeons with my Grandfather and preparing and eating them for dinner. 

  • If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you do to encourage more people to eat British food? 

Education. I would make cooking classes compulsory in school from Year one. Through cooking children learn patience, team-work, stamina, following and adapting instructions, using their initiative and crisis management. Cooking is a life skill – they will always need to eat and should know how to prepare food in the most efficient way. The more they know about food, the healthier children will be and the more varied diet they will have. Also, there are so many curriculum subjects that tie into cooking from physics and chemistry – cause and effect with heating items; maths – weighing things out and working out timings; geography – understanding what climates suit what foods, biology – growing vegetables.

What is your favourite food and why? 

Hampshire Brown Trout, because if I'm eating it I will have had a wonderful days fly fishing as well as a first class supper. - What are your predictions for the future of British food? Strong, export markets are growing year on year; we must get Britain eating British and give preferential treatment to British producers over foreign imports. - If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food? The British larder; world class food at your doorstep. - Best budget tip? Utilise all leftovers. - What's on the menu this evening? Venison and red wine sausage with mashed potatoes. - How can people get hold of your produce? We have an online shop at www.davidoliverfood.co.uk . Our produce is also available from Waitrose and Ocado.