I’m not a great fan of eating out in the UK, although I dine out in pubs and restaurants about three times a week.

The fact is that there’s not a lot wrong with the food, but there’s not a lot right with it either: the word ‘average’ could have been created for Britain’s eateries. So whilst you can walk confidently into almost any bar, café or restaurant and enjoy exceptional food in countries such as France and Italy, try the same stunt at home and you are likely to be bitterly disappointed. I must admit I lost all hope years ago. Then I visited Oliver James Foods …

It was explained to me before I set off that Oliver James Foods produced dining solutions that were looking towards Michelin quality standard, but at a price point that could breathe life into most restaurants across the UK. I was doubtful.

Now at this stage in a story I might normally prattle on about the experience and expertise of the owners and management team, the modern production facility and the skilled workforce – but I’m not going to, because at this Redditch-based company it is the food I need to talk about.

So why the excitement? First of all Oliver James Foods has pioneered the sous-vide method of preparation, which cooks meats gradually in a flavoured juice. This gentle cooking gives meats a succulent texture whilst retaining their shape, texture and flavour, delivering easy-to-reheat foods for the restaurant and food service trade. And although sous-vide revolves around cooking vacuum sealed food in a low temperature water bath, this is not a stick it in a bag and ship it out product. Instead, it is prepared by chefs for other chefs to finish off.

Okay, I know you hear this kind of hype all of the time, but regular readers will also know that as editor of Food & Drink News I can be quite cynical; so let me tell you why I rate Oliver James Foods so highly.

My standards are high: I would say that in my entire life I have experienced just four really great meals, at restaurants in Bologna, Budapest, Jodhpur and Turin … despite having been lucky enough to dine in swanky – often celebrity chef-led – establishments in cities such as London and New York. I’m a tough audience.

So when visiting Oliver James Foods I was intrigued when I was offered lunch featuring a range of the company’s products. Of course, in these situations I am nearly always complimentary and polite on the day, before returning and writing down what I really think. Well, in this instance this is what I really think: I would be more than happy to pay top dollar in a good restaurant for any of the dishes I sampled. This was high quality food.

The selection of sous-vide prepared dishes, alongside the savoury pastry products also produced by Oliver James Foods, was extensive, but I was assured I wouldn’t have to eat it all – although after the first five minutes I didn’t think that would be a problem.

From the likes of lamb rump in a mint glaze, pork fore rib with orange and cinnamon sauce, and chicken jalfrezi through to a wide range of vegetarian options including cannelloni with spinach and goats cheese, it was superior to most meals I’ve ‘enjoyed’ in the UK. So good, I almost left a tip!

Oliver James Foods offers much more than just an efficient way of providing quality meals for the public: its development chefs are skilled at understanding food and transferring any brief into a product, ensuring that price, portion size and quality are managed together to deliver the required result. The end result is full restaurants and happy customers! But don’t just take my word for, see for yourself – visit www.oliverjamesfoods.com.

Related Posts