At Zambuni, we are passionate about supporting fellow women in business and we work with so many fantastic individuals. We wanted to take the time to shine the spotlight on a few inspiring women we work with within our clients, starting with Louisa North, Head of Operations at the British Game Alliance. We have been working closely with Louisa for almost two years and have seen her continue to grow from strength to strength in what has been a hugely challenging and important role in the setting up of this new organisation. Louisa is a passionate foodie, an advocate of the countryside and has been integral in the success of the British Game Alliance so far, we spoke to her about how she has enjoyed the role and where her passion for all things game comes from…
- How has your job role progressed during your time at the BGA?
I joined the BGA at the beginning as Tom the then current Managing Director’s Executive Assistant. It was incredibly challenging as I had to create all the processes and as we were such a tiny team juggling many different roles. It is so rewarding watching the company continually grow and evolve and now we have 6 of us not just 2. Currently I am Head of Operations so I help out in all areas of the business from communication, marketing, commercial, office management and the assurance scheme.
- What are your favourite parts of the role?
I am passionate about food and sustainability so being able to talk about game all day is the dream. The versatility of the role keeps it exciting and I really enjoy thinking of new ways of promoting game to fresh audiences. I am particularly proud of the Le Bab menu during Game Week last year; the grouse adana was so popular it sold out!
- Are you involved in developing the Eat Wild recipes? Could you give us some details?
Yes so I usually speak to people throughout the year about what they have tried in the past and recommend. This year Mark Staples our new Commercial Director helped me with a few ideas, then we cook them up and see what works, my poor unsuspecting fiance gets to be the taster along with any friends who might be passing through.
- How have you seen people’s perceptions change regarding the BGA?
It is hard sometimes to go onto social media and see these totally false rumours swirling around but I find it very refreshing when someone asks you directly and you can give them honest answers. These are now getting less and less.
We have tried to be completely transparent from the start and I think the initial suspicion has now eased as people are seeing the difference we are making. Plus they know that they can email, call or contact us through social media and we will always try to help.
- What has inspired you most working with the new CEO, Liam Stokes?
It has been great to have some fresh eyes takeover. I was quite nervous initially as Tom and I worked so closely previously but Liam has made the entire transition incredibly easy. I have already learnt so much from him. In particular, I really respect how he always makes us return to why are you doing this, which objective does this hang under? It makes you take a moment and think before potentially carrying out something that is totally unnecessary.
His wealth of knowledge of both shooting and the countryside is unrivalled, I don’t know how he has the capacity to store it all. I am however still struggling with all the acronyms and find myself Googling a few of our conversations before I reply.
He is also a huge supporter of women in shooting which is exactly what you want from your boss.
- What plans for the future are you personally involved in?
I have laid out the Marketing plan for the next year and oversee the growth of the assurance scheme. Covid has sadly put a spanner in the works for both but we love a challenge.
We have adjusted the marketing to focus on cooking and eating game at home so look out for some new partnerships and video content coming out across social media.
In regards to auditing we hope this will be back up and running shortly but in the meantime we are looking into remote audits done through Whatsapp for those shoots who have enough signal or Wifi range!
- Where does your passion for food, especially game, come from?
I was lucky enough to do a Prue Leiths cooking course while at school. I discovered I was truly terrible at following recipes but loved creating my own. We are a very foodie family and always joke that we show our love through the food we cook.
Dad would always bring game home from shooting and Mum got very bored of preparing it so it meant my sisters and I could use it to cook for our friends. I dread to think how many people I have served my cream, bacon and pheasant casserole to but it was always most satisfying when someone had started the meal announcing they hated game and were scraping their plate by the end. People have dried out pheasant once and then don’t want to come near it, we need to educate people how to cook game well and then they will see how delicious it can be.
- What is a milestone you would personally like the BGA to achieve?
I would like everyone regardless of background or location in the country to see Assured game as a staple in their diet either eating a pheasant sandwich while on the go, cooking grouse ravioli for friends or picking up a partridge samosa at the petrol station. Every shoot I go on game will be served at elevenses and at the end of the day no gun leaves empty handed. And you never know pheasant nuggets at Maccie D’s might not be too out of the question.
- We understand that you are heavily involved with the marketing – what are your favourite aspects of this part of the role?
I think coming up with new ways for game to be eaten; when we took the food truck to Bristol and managed to have vegetarians eating game as they agreed with the ethical and sustainable side to game it really felt that we were making an impact. There is no end to what you can do with game just your imagination (and potentially budget I suppose).
I have really enjoyed managing the social media as well; we had 700 followers on the BGA instagram when I started and now we are nearly at 12,000 so I see that as a real personal objective.
- Where are you looking forward to eating game dishes this season?
I would love to see game in somewhere like Wahaca, Tommi Myers is incredibly inspirational and also such a lovely woman. Last year when we got game on Le Bab it opened it up to such a new audience and received rave reviews, many of my friends who had never tried game went along and were totally won over. This is the best way to get game into new audiences.
- What is currently your favourite game recipe to cook at home?
I am planning to have an engagement lunch for our two families to meet and little do they know I will be launching a variety of game dishes that I have been experimenting with including Coronation Pheasant, I also can’t understand why we never see pheasant liver pate anywhere. Chicken liver pate is one of my favourite’s but I think it would be so much better with pheasant, luckily we have a freezer full of game for me to play around with and if I run out there are many BGA stockists to choose from.
There is always the old favourite of cream, bacon and pheasant to fall back on.