Former England rugby captain launches new food-to-go offer

Phil Vickery.jpeg

With Covid-19 kiboshing the opening of his new Cheltenham restaurant this month, former England rugby captain and World Cup winner, Phil Vickery, has launched a new food offering called No.3. Customers can collect their pre-ordered meal and eat at home to stay safely within social distancing guidelines, while enjoying restaurant standard fare.

The rugby star and former Celebrity MasterChef winner was forced to rethink No.3’s business model but has now launched the offering as a call and collect service.

Phil Vickery, MBE, said: “Cheltenham and the wider area has a fantastic food scene and it’s one I’ve been looking to get into for some time. Many people, for a number of years, have been asking me what I’m planning to do next. Having had many conversations and ideas, it seemed that, last year, the stars were aligning and I was presented with the opportunity to form a series of perfect partnerships, including a brilliant team and suppliers, as well as getting the right landlord on board. Then, out of nowhere, COVID-19 appeared, seemingly scuppering our plans.”

But his rugby determination held out. He continued: “I was determined to continue. So, putting fresh plans in place and implementing them over the past few weeks, we’re now in a position to launch No.3 as a collection service; providing people with access to high quality food at no risk to themselves.”

The son of a dairy farmer, Phil Vickery has a longstanding love affair with British produce, and this is very much emphasised in the food on offer.

The offering is called No.3 in honour of the legendary prop’s playing days, which saw him wear the number on the back of his jersey when playing for Gloucester Rugby, the England national team and the British Lions. The number though, also bears greater meaning,

“I live a lot of my life by the rule of three. When training for instance, I always told myself to remember three things. Remember three and make sure you do those three things well. It’s a sentiment I’ve extended to cooking. The produce, the cooking of it, the table experience. Three key elements, that if you get right will come together to create the perfect culinary experience – no matter if you’re a Michelin starred chef or cooking for yourself at home.”

Alongside Phil himself, the team at No.3 includes Tom Rains, a highly-experienced chef with a CV that includes The Berkeley, Claridge’s, L’Escargot and Mosimanns, before most recently heading up The Daffodil in Cheltenham, as well as Elliott Camm, a veteran front of house, who has worked as Restaurant Manager at both The Daffodil and Ellenborough Park, where he looked to create an outstanding ambience and experience for diners.

Phil said: “Tom and Elliott are exceptional hospitality professionals who bring a wealth of expertise with them. Whilst Tom and I will head up the produce and the cooking of it, Elliott’s skillset finishes off the offering, helping us to refine the experience at No.3. This is something that will play an even greater part once we can eventually open a physical restaurant and invite guests inside.”

Orders from No.3’s menu can be placed from today, with the process requiring customers to pre-order 24 hours in advance. Collections can then be made between 12 midday and 3pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At present, those looking to collect will need to go to Brickhampton Court Golf Complex in Churchdown, Gloucestershire.

Phil is also a non-executive Director at Creed Foodservice, one of the UK’s leading independent, family-owned foodservice wholesalers, which has recently launched a click and collect/home delivery website to provide food services to local communities in Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. Phil’s experience and involvement with Creed has helped him in establishing No.3 as a viable offering.

Phil added: “Despite the current pandemic, ultimately, it hasn’t changed anything. I’m still going to be doing what I intended. The food that I love and would stand by and champion is going to be eaten in homes rather than in a restaurant. We’re providing restaurant standard food for people at home. It’s early days for No.3, but flavour and taste will sell our offering – and we’re looking forward to what the next few weeks and months hold for us as people come to appreciate it.”