In June 2017, Phil Vickery MBE, the former England rugby international, 2003 World Champion, British Lion and Celebrity MasterChef winner became a Non-Executive Director at Creed Foodservice.
Phil Vickery MBE, commented:
“I’ve known Chris and the Creed family; and when I say family I refer to the full 335 strong company, for a long time now and we have worked together on numerous occasions. It simply made sense to formalise our relationship and combine our mutual passion for; good food, ethical practices which support both the environment and our food sources, and a determination to achieve the best we can for everyone involved through hard work and dedication.”
Over the coming year, Phil will be working with Creed to explore common values and interests and to experience some of our services and processes first hand. The result will be a series of website articles that will help bring our services, values and passion for what we do to life; adding value for our customers and raising awareness of Creed and how we all ‘Believe In More’.
Meet the real Phil Vickery MBE
Phil is passionate about many things, his family and rugby are unquestionably top of the list, but food, farming, eating well and inspiring healthy lifestyle choices, especially amongst the young, are also very close to Phil’s heart.
He’s proud to be a Cornishman, a Gloucestershire resident and an ambassador of The Prince of Wales Trust – which supports rural lives and helps keep British farming and village communities sustainable.
Like Creed, charity work and giving something back is extremely important to Phil. He has a deep respect for people from all walks of life and genuinely values interaction with people and their skills. He strives to take positive influence from those who he has the pleasure of meeting in order to better himself.
Farmer and countryman
Brought up on the family farm in Kilkhampton, northeast Cornwall, Phil was introduced to dairy, beef, sheep and arable farming. His earliest memories are of standing in gaps in hedges to stop sheep escaping, digging up potatoes and riding on a bale sledge. The farmhouse kitchen, he recalls, was like ‘the office’. Everyone coming in from the fields and yard met there – a bit like a boardroom.
After leaving school at the age of 16, Phil was set for a future as a herdsman and cattle inseminator. Before his rugby career took off, Phil’s ambition was to have the best dairy herd of cows in Cornwall, completing an Artificial Insemination Course for cross breading in preparation. He remains a qualified cattle inseminator to this day!
Phil’s brother still runs the family farm in Cornwall and Phil returns regularly.
Food lover and accomplished cook
As well as a passion for the outdoors and farming, Phil has an undeniable love of good food and an interest in producing, strongly influenced by his farm background and shaped by his childhood and family.
Phil’s mum and nan were both great cooks and Phil has fond memories of ‘baking days’ with batch cooking; the cherry cake remaining a firm favourite, and ‘cooking weeks’ using produce from his nan and grandad’s own market garden. Phil still finds great satisfaction and comfort in making his own sloe gin, home brews, blackberry wine and chutneys, all using produce foraged by his own hands from his family farm in Cornwall or locally in Gloucestershire.
After being surrounded by fresh produce and being immersed in wholesome family cooking, at 19 when Phil left home and moved to Gloucestershire, he seized the opportunity to develop and hone his own cookery skills. He recalls fondly, that pork chops, mashed potatoes, peas and Bisto gravy was his first creation without parent or grandparent supervision!
Phil’s passion for food, love of cooking and obsession with eating well continued alongside his rugby career, and in 2011, at age 35, Phil took part in Celebrity Masterchef 2011. He competed against journalist Kirsty Wark and actor Nick Pickard. Phil was yet again triumphant, taking the highly sought after MasterChef trophy and 2011 Celebrity Masterchef Winner title home.
Judge Gregg Wallace said Phil had “serious” talent.
His three course menu included a starter of scallops, followed by lamb fillet with fondant potatoes, and a dessert of orange and chocolate bread and butter pudding and clotted cream. Phil’s starter was served with black pudding, pea shoots, crispy Parma ham and apple puree, while his main course included baby carrots, asparagus wrapped in mint and Parma ham.
Phil says he was “gobsmacked” at his victory, and added that he never ever thought for one second he’d have it in him to be a cooking champion. He stayed true to the foods he loves and simply refined them with texture, flavour layering and presentation.
Judge John Torode said: “Phil has got something very, very special. He wants to feed people to make them happy and that is what a true cook is all about.”
Mr Wallace added: “He’s a great big bloke with a heart to match and he fell in love with food during this competition.”
Phil’s foremost a family man, and today he still enjoys nothing more than spending time in his family kitchen with wife Kate, experimenting with ingredients and cooking styles and sharing his passion for food and cooking with his two children, Megan aged 12 and Harrison aged 9.
A Rugby Union legend of course
Educated at Budehaven School, north Cornwall, Phil’s interest in sport developed as a youngster, and by the age of 12 Phil had formed a love for rugby union. By age 16 Phil gained his first National Representative honour, being picked for the England Schools U16s group as a talented tighthead prop (one of the three players at the front of the scrum).
Post school, Phil started with the Cornish club Bude, then moved to Redruth, during which time he first appeared in an England Colts side. In 1995, England ‘A’ coach Richard Hill persuaded Phil, age 19, to join Gloucester Rugby, where he became known as “The Raging Bull” and stayed for 11 years.
At 21, Phil made his senior England debut against Wales at Twickenham. With only 34 first team games for Gloucester it was a rapid rise for the young Cornishman and the start of an international career which saw him amass 73 caps for England.
Phil was a member of England’s World Cup winning squad in 2003, playing in all seven matches in the tournament. He went on to play in two further Rugby World Cups, including as England captain in the 2007 tournament. He also toured Australia and South Africa with the British and Irish Lions.
In April 2006, after 11 years at Gloucester Rugby, Phil signed for London Wasps in a 3-year deal. Vickery made his Wasps debut in their 23 – 13 win over London Irish on 8 October 2006.
On 28 October 2010, Phil was forced into early retirement from rugby after a back injury. He played his last game at Kingsholm against Gloucester on 25 September 2010, which is where he started his professional career.
The Raging Bull range was established after Phil acknowledged a substandard offering in the marketplace for sports and leisure wear. The brand‘s values all stem from Phil– British, successful, integrity and quality. Highlights from the range include crisp shirting, gilets, cashmere and wool knitwear, sportswear and rugby shirts. The range caters for men right up to 6XL, women and children.
Raging Bull clothing can now be found in 30 House of Fraser and Debenhams stores, online and in three outlet villages – Gloucester Quays, Street and Swindon.
There’s no end to his talents
Phil was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire in 2015. He is also in high demand as a public speaker and carries out high profile media work for Sky Sports, the BBC and ITV; he was commentator for ITV’s coverage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.