James Mansfield, is a master at learning on the job. When he and James Flower, a friend from agricultural college, decided to set up their meat box business, both of them had to perfect the art of butchery from a standing start. They also had to scale up their culinary skills very rapidly, so they could serve mouth-watering dishes to 2,000 VIP guests at Richard Branson’s V Festival.
I was excited to chat to James since with alot of press recently about eating less meat for the sake of planet earth, I was intrigued to explore some issues around what good and bad practise looks like. Is it a case of eating no meat, or eating better meat. Caring more about animal welfare and recognising that how the animals we eat are cared for, what they eat and what drugs they take must surely be part of the informed conversation. These could be tricky things to ask a butcher, but as expected James was engaging, knowledgeable and happy to educate.
This willingness to jump in at the deep end and learn on the go partly explains why ‘field&flower’ is so successful today. It’s also because they’ve stuck to their principles: only supplying traditionally reared grass-fed beef, along with free range poultry, pork and lamb. It won’t surprise you to know that they’ve designed their own box packaging too, which is more environmentally friendly than the traditional poly box.
As you’ll hear now, James’ hospitality career began in the same ‘nought-to-sixty’ vein, front of house at one of London’s most famous restaurants.