By Ollie Collett.
Dorothy Woods began ‘Dot’s Provisions’ amidst the government’s Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, with the aim of supplying the Primrose Hill community with health-conscious, allergy-aware food that they can enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. “Everybody is really excited to see us,” and not just because of the food, but on a human level, with many returning for more each week.
Eco-efficiently, she delivers her food on foot and in compostable packaging, enlisting the help of her partner and friends. This has been greatly helped by the glorious weather, with only one wet delivery day so far.
“I’m trying to help bring people food that’s really healthy and family-friendly, at an affordable price.”
Dorothy had background training in gastronomy and nutrition in Los Angeles and London, most notably attending the Culinary School at the Art Institute of California and Le Cordon Bleu. For the last five years she has been working in households with families as a private chef and caterer. Her personal food service to her customers each day allows her to trickle a Californian influence into her weekly menus, including delicious additions such as her ‘Beverley Hills Hotel Chopped Salad’.
As a chef, nutritionist and advocate for allergy awareness, her menus are highly detailed and clear. Dot’s influences are personal ones, having struggled with the challenges of allergies herself and within her family, and she is committed to ensuring that all allergen information is included on her menu. Her food therefore serves everyone: a safe, family-friendly way to eat.
Dot’s aim is primarily to help those struggling to cater for themselves whilst working from home, and in some cases caring for the family simultaneously. She has solved a problem for many hard-working locals who usually rely on Regent’s Park Road establishments for their lunch. “I can’t recommend Dot’s Provisions enough! I’ve been ordering every week and it’s so nice to have a healthy and delicious lunch to break up staring at screens all day” supports one local returning customer.
With ‘health and nutrition, and quality of ingredients’ at the heart of what she does, it may be a surprise to some that she is also committed to ‘helpful pricing’, which can be sustainable for people in the long run. Each Friday, Dorothy has been supporting local people who are struggling during the current pandemic. With help from the charity Primrose Hill Community Dogs, she locates and distributes food to people who are sick with the virus, vulnerable, or unable to cater for themselves. Dorothy notes a two-fold benefit when helping those in need: she can support the community she loves whilst using her ingredients economically, and so limiting our food waste.
Now more than ever, supporting local businesses is an integral part of sustaining the local community, making Primrose Hill the place it is. Dorothy highlights the difficulties that small businesses face when going up against large chains. But small businesses can be more innovative and flexible. Dot’s creativity in the way she has linked her passions for health, nutrition, allergy consciousness and quality benefits ‘healthy, happy lives’ across the community she loves.
Dot has been delighted by the response to her food so far, and Dot’s Provisions looks to be going from strength to strength: she is now providing picnics for an afternoon in the sunshine on the Hill, so we can all savour her great tastes while enjoying our great view.