Joe Blogs: Making The Best Frozen Meal Delivery Service in South Devon - Devon Farm Kitchen

Joe Blogs: Making The Best Frozen Meal Delivery Service in South Devon

Joe Bradshaw

Joe Bradshaw is General Manager at Devon Farm Kitchen. In this blog, he describes his background, aspirations and building the best frozen meal delivery service in South Devon.

Could you provide a brief background about yourself?
In 2017, I made the move from Cheltenham to Devon, where I had previously worked for many years in the catering and hospitality industry. Interestingly, before venturing into catering, I worked as a general builder and landscape gardener. Throughout my career, I have managed various aspects of the catering industry, including cocktail bars, pubs, coffee shops, and restaurants in different settings such as garden centres and hospitals. I have also overseen production kitchens that operate around the clock, supplying fresh sandwiches, salads, and baguettes to numerous coffee shops across the country. Additionally, I have assisted individuals in establishing their own small businesses. With a passion for food and drink, I enjoy exploring new ideas and keeping up with current culinary trends. My cooking style can be described as a fusion of classic British and French dishes with influences from Asian cuisine. I'm particularly fond of a good British roast or something lighter with a touch of spice. As a testament to my obsession, I own around 50 different hot sauces, which have become both a personal passion and a default gift when someone is unsure what to get me!

Outside of work, I take pleasure in discovering new places, enjoying the beauty of sea views, cooking, and, of course, dining out. It was the desire to live near the sea that led my girlfriend and me to move to Devon. After visiting Torquay for a day trip and being instantly captivated by the area, we decided to relocate. I then embarked on a search for a new career opportunity, and that's when I found a position at Torbay Hospital's newly established coffee shop/restaurant at the main entrance. I assisted with planning, and setting up the business, and successfully managed it for four years before coming to Rowcroft Hospice.

Why did you join DFK?
After spending four years at Torbay Hospital, I became aware that Rowcroft Hospice was initiating a new frozen food social enterprise. The idea of assisting Rowcroft in establishing this business and creating an income with a purpose deeply resonated with me. I wanted to be part of this incredible journey and contribute to its growth.

In your view, what is DFK trying to achieve?
DFK aims to generate an alternative revenue stream for the hospice, reducing its reliance on fundraising and donations. Simultaneously, it strives to address the lack of frozen meal delivery services in the Torbay and South Devon areas. 

How is DFK making a positive difference?
DFK's meals are carefully crafted in Devon, utilising locally sourced ingredients. The food is packaged in compostable, recyclable, and carbon-neutral boxes and served on reusable ceramic plates or bowls, completely eliminating the use of plastics. We collect the plates on the next delivery, ensuring a sustainable cycle. By providing convenient, nutritious meals, DFK improves the lives of its customers, promotes their well-being, supports local farming and fishing communities, and contributes to the environment's preservation for future generations.

What drives you personally?
Caffeine, Gin & Sausage Rolls! (Sense of humour intended.)

How have you found the job so far?

Working at DFK has been incredibly rewarding, with each day presenting unique challenges and experiences. It brings me immense joy to receive positive feedback from our customers regarding the quality of our food and the concept as a whole. However, I won't deny that it has had its share of difficulties. Operating with a small team and just one van can be stressful. Any malfunction, equipment failure, or team member's illness can pose significant challenges in delivering our services and ensuring our customers receive their meals. Nevertheless, with determination and the occasional favour from others, we have managed to overcome every obstacle.

Where do you see DFK in five years' time?

In five years' time, my vision for Devon Farm Kitchen is to become the leading frozen meal delivery service in South Devon. I aspire for DFK to be recognised as the go-to provider for convenient, high-quality meals in the region. Additionally, I envision expanding the concept to other hospices and charities, enabling them to establish their own revenue streams while simultaneously promoting healthy eating and environmental sustainability. By sharing our successful model, we can empower other organisations to make a positive impact within their communities, fostering self-sufficiency and contributing to the well-being of both individuals and the environment.