Amy Lowe tell me about yourself and where you fit in with Hoddy’s.
“I grew up in a small village pub in the rolling hills of Montgomeryshire, Mid Wales, an area lovingly described as being full of farmers and hippies.
I studied Marketing at Harper Adams University and whilst there my placement year took me to EJ Churchill where I first learnt to shoot. After college I entered the food industry working for Welsh Lamb, where I was able to combine my love of quality produce with premium brands. My career has seen me work across the globe and spend a few years in the middle east. I returned to Mid Wales in my 30’s and spent some very happy and memorable years with Bettws Hall where I returned to the shooting industry.
I’m now Marketing Director at Hoddy’s Dog Food. Hoddy’s launched in Spring 2021, the first dog food to market that uses pheasant that would otherwise go to waste as the primary ingredient. I’m incredibly proud of the product . Not only is it ensuring that we have a more sustainable field sports industry, but it is also really good for dogs.
I have been involved since the start, helping with the development of the website and launching the product . It has been so well received: day to day I deal with customer queries and orders and am thrilled with the positive feedback we get. Plans are now afoot to expand our campaigns and partner marketing beyond the shooting industry to a wider market.
Do you shoot or fish?
I do shoot and fish, but much prefer fishing. I caught my first wild brown trout in the River Trannon which is a tributary of the Severn. Fortunately the river was just a field away from our pub, so father and I would often take the dogs for a walk by the river after school and see what we could catch.
Ours was a very fieldsporty family, going back generations. I’ve been hunting since before I could remember. My Grandfather was Secretary of an otter hound pack but also hunted with other packs across the country. This love of hunting – “It’s never too far to travel to see a pack of hounds work” – meant that in the 50’s and 60’s the family would travel every weekend from Surrey to meets across the West Country and Welsh borders. A habit he passed on to my father, and so I’ve seen numerous packs of hounds and the glorious variety of countryside they cover.
My father even made his career choices based on how good the local pack of hounds was, and in the 70’s and 80’s it was the David Davies foxhounds in Mid Wales. That is the reason I was born and raised there. They must have been a good pack for him to tolerate all the rugby jesting he’s received. My earliest memories were at the kennels and spending time with the hounds and hunting.
Where do you shoot or fish now? Favourite place?
I’m very fortunate that I now live in Hampshire near the Test Valley, so I am incredibly lucky to have a good few days on the Test each year. The rivers are so different to Wales, clear and wide. Not like the muddy brooks I have grown up with.
But my favourite place to fish is at sea, ideally in a warm climate. I’ve been able to fish across the globe and I love the thrill of wondering what it is you are pulling up from the deep!
What do you see as the main challenges facing field sports?
Public perception. I am never bashful about the fact that I participate in fieldsports when I meet new people. If questioned on my choices, I see it as an opportunity to educate them.
I find that if you can get a few moments to talk to them and address their issues you often find that their opinion becomes less polarised and they understand the benefits of fieldsports to the wider ecosystem. The more we talk to people about what we do and why, the more the stigma will be removed. I also believe that we must consume everything that is shot and caught.
Key ingredient to a successful day.
Laughter, usually fuelled by good friends and champagne.
Do you cook?
Since childhood. Having grown up in hospitality and spent far too many hours in kitchens I am happy to cook and eat almost anything. The rule in our house is that you can’t say you don’t like something unless you’ve tried it. Sadly I’m an awful baker, so please don’t ever ask me to bake you a cake. You’d be better off using it for target practise.
Do you cook game?
All the time. We never buy chicken, we use partridge or pheasant instead. It’s tastier, cheaper and quicker. Venison also makes a much tastier replacement to any beef dish, often having a much smaller carbon footprint and shorter supply chain.
Most memorable or embarrassing moments out shooting or fishing.
I remember not quite making it into a boat when fishing in Wales. One foot was on the bank, one in the boat… I ended up in the muddy lake. To add insult to injury I didn’t catch anything either.
Favourite game to eat.
Partridge, it’s so versatile and tasty. It’s great in a curry as it can carry the spices and heat really well, whether they’re Indian or Thai flavours it always tastes amazing. They also make the best fried goujons, if only the Colonel would swap chicken for game.
Is there a chef or cook you particularly respect?
Keith Floyd was always worth stopping and watching when he popped up on TV. He was so unapologetic for the way he was and fully embraced the cuisine and wine of the country he was cooking in. It was Keith who taught me that if food products grow in the same area they will likely taste fantastic together, a rule which I follow when cooking anything from scratch at home. Fusion is not my thing.
Champagne, and Yorkshire tea. Not at the same time.
Last supper: what, where, and with whom?
Canapes: Oysters with lemon and tabasco
Starter: Venison tartare
Main: Fish – freshly line caught of course – chips, and mushy peas
It would have to be by the sea on a balmy Mediterranean summer evening. Sardinia would be nice, with music and great local wine. With anyone that doesn’t take themselves too seriously and wants to dance the night away after supper. Life’s too short! I am lucky to have a great gang of friends from university, and they’ll all be there.