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Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems is the UK's leading manufacturer of mobile catering units. Established in 1978, our family-run business prides itself on high quality craftsmanship, friendly customer service and value for money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Mobile catering business in a horsebox wins Countryside Alliance accolade

An advocate of local food has won plaudits for setting up a quirky mobile catering business that offers the best of North Wales produce.

Caroline Dawson from Nercwys, Flintshire, was named runner-up in the Local Food category at this year’s Countryside Alliance Wales Awards, Cardiff.

Her business, the wonderfully named “Fodder in the Field”, provides a shabby chic catering service at outdoor events, from shows to weddings – all served from a converted a 1971 Rice horse trailer.

Since launching 18 months ago, bookings have taken off: the business quickly found itself in demand from customers who want to combine the unconventional with a local food ethos.

“If I book an event, such as a wedding, I stick to my principles and, where possible, source all the meat close to the venue,” said Caroline.

“Having worked with so many local producers, I know how hard it is to make a living, so I always support them where I can.”

Caroline’s business venture must be shoehorned in with her full-time job: for the past seven years she has worked as North Wales development manager for Cywain, the project set up by Menter a Busnes to add value to Welsh farm produce.

In 2015 she put her ideas into practice, and her menus now read like a roster of North Wales producers. As well as big hitters like Edwards of Conwy, Caroline uses products from the likes of Barcut Rose Veal, Bim’s Kitchen, Orchard Pigs Bakery and The Bridge Lodge.

Marketing them, and the catering business, is key: in a crowded market, standing out from the throng was crucial to Caroline’s business proposition.

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For this she began hunting for a vehicle with a distinctive look, finding it eventually in Monmouthshire: a vintage Rice horse trailer that had given many years of service to the Pony Club.

Calling on family and friends, it was lovingly restored and converted, the final flourish being he installation of a Travis Perkins kitchen.

Even so, the job was harder than she expected: “George Clarke makes conversions look simple on his Amazing Spaces programme,” she said.

Jane Hutt, Leader of the House and Chief Whip at the National Assembly, hands the Local Food reserve title to Caroline Dawson and her Fodder in the Field business

The trailer pulled by an ageing Land Rover that will be given an image makeover this spring. Another Land Rover, a 1973 Series III, was recently unearthed in a local barn and is being restored with a view to completing the team.

At events, especially weddings, Caroline likes to make an impression. “I’ll put up some fairy lights and greenery and get up some of my vintage farm implements – milk churns and apple crates, that sort of thing – to go for a shabby chic look.

“But the key thing is the food. I want to offer good, honest simple menus, nothing too fancy.

"I’ve been to too many shows where food is offered at £5-£10 a serving and, frankly, it’s disappointing.”

Thousands of public nominations were received for this year’s awards, according to the Countryside Alliance.

The Welsh champions now advance to the British finals, to be held at the House of Lords on March 22.

“The cream has certainly risen to the top,” said Rachel Evans, Alliance director for Wales.

“I think we can give the finalists from other parts of the UK a seriously good run for their money in March.”

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Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems Ltd
Unit 1, Global Way
Lower Eccleshill Road
Darwen
Lancashire

BB3 0RW UK

Telephone: 01254 706 348
Fax: 01254 701 335

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