Matt Philcox is passionate about what he calls ‘real food.’ As Jo Nicholas writes, this is something he developed at a young age, but still much in evidence at Wildleaf Food Emporium in Olney which he runs with business partner Cathy Dale.
“When Matt from Wildleaf was just a teenager, he found his calling while doing a Saturday job at a farm shop. The idea of fruit and vegetables coming from farm to fork hooked him and he has been working ever since to source ‘real food.’
Working at the farm shop, he began to see the many benefits of eating relatively locally produced, good quality food, which doesn’t travel miles, and whose provenance was well established. For Matt, it was a winning combination: good for the local farmers and suppliers, good for the customer, good for the local community, good for business. Indeed the business went on to grow successfully, but Matt had itchy feet…
Matt traveled to New Zealand, where he worked in the kitchen at a garden nursery, still very much interested in sourcing and serving up quality food, but, as he is quick to point out, local isn’t always the primary driver. He would far rather serve you high quality products from slightly further down the road over what the neighbour is offering if the quality is better.
Back in the UK, Matt got busy running his own farm shop and landscaping business in Sussex, with his underlying principles of high quality, provenance and fairly priced food at the fore. From there to Surrey and the award winning “Secretts” farm shop. It suited Matt perfectly: high quality home-grown produce and quality artisan food products are at its core. However, the next move was on the horizon, which brought Matt to this region.
Matt got to know the local supply chain as the food buyer for Frosts Garden Centres, with his depth of knowledge and passion for food being put to good use. Then he took on what was ‘Much Ado’ before, but give it a colourful rebrand and Wildleaf is born.
In Wildleaf, Matt and business partner Cathy have created a comfortable place to sit and eat or just grab a quick post school run coffee, the quality of his products sing for themselves. They have recently added a butchers counter (which sold out on its opening weekend!) to the existing deli counter and wine offerings from Bacchus which sit comfortably alongside dried goods and top notch ‘Cook’ ready meals. There are lots of exciting plans up his sleeve so pop in and see what’s new.”