Feast It: Who are you and where do you come from?
James: Hi, I am James. I grew up on the south coast of the UK, near Brighton. I moved to London to study Nutrition at St Mary’s University in Twickenham and ended up staying. I have now been in South West London for over a decade and live with my fiancé, Lyndsey and our cat, Harvey.
Feast It: So how does pizza work as evening wedding food with Dough & Deer?
James: Wedding pizza has become increasingly popular in recent years! It’s a great food option for catering for big groups and with gluten free bases available, we can cater for most allergies and dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and lactose free.
We tend to focus on the evening food with our pizza buffet service. We work with the bride and groom to design a menu of their favourite pizza, which we then cook on rotation throughout the evening. We serve the pizzas on our oak pizza board in front of the Land Rovers so guests can come up and choose slices of any pizza they want. We encourage the bride and groom to tell us their favourite pizza toppings and help us name the pizzas for their special day, if they want too.
We like to dress up the van with fairy lights so wedding guests can enjoy every aspect of us, not just the food. It also goes down very well with guests that maybe enjoyed too much wine with their dinner. Often we box up a few pizzas for the happy couple so they can have some at the end of the night!
Feast It: What gave you the idea to start Dough & Deer?
James: The idea for Dough and Deer was born after visiting the Isle of Wight festival back in 2014. We queued for wood-fired pizza at the end of our first night on the way back to the campsite. It was the best pizza I had ever eaten, so we went back for the next two nights. We stood there with loads of other people while these guys turned out tons of pizza and I thought to myself ‘I could do this.’ A few weeks later we saw a Land Rover towing a pizza oven and the ideas and research started from there!
Feast It: When and where was Dough & Deer created?
James: I think we started off with pizza related puns whilst coming up with a name and Dough and Deer kind of stuck. We also tied it into being close to Bushy Park, the home of deer in South West London. The Land Rover we found was Military Green so the branding naturally evolved from there.
Feast It: Who is the Dough & Deer team made up of?
James: I am the only full time employee of the business. Lyndsey is the creative one and we’re very lucky that we have great family and friends that enjoy helping us out. Ryan works for us part time, he runs the second van and is my right hand man - he has his own coffee start up which is due to launch later this year. Sometimes I can convince Lyndsey to help out at events too, but she mainly helps me with branding and social media.
Feast It: What did you do for work before?
James: Up until recently, I worked in rugby development focusing on increasing participation for the sport’s governing body. Lyndsey is a Higher Education Lecturer in Sports Rehab.
Feast It: Tell us a little bit about how you created your brand?
James: Marketing and branding are something I’m really interested in, so I spend a lot of time making sure the brand is right. The concept is simple and not complicated and the pizzas speak for themselves. A friend from school helped with the logo design, which we love. We didn’t want to create another generic pizza company that people forgot easily and with the Land Rover ovens we wanted something very British.
Feast It: Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
James: Not really, but I have always been that guy that has a stupid new business idea every week and I’ve always wanted to build my own business. I’ve helped a few friends with startup businesses and it’s been great to support and learn lessons along the way.
Feast It: Do you have a market stall/gazebo or food truck? Or both? If a truck, does it have a name?
James: We have two Military Green Land Rover ovens and a towing oven, which is called The Fawn. The ovens are mounted inside the Land Rovers and people love to ask us about them. We also have gazebos that we set up in front of the ovens for food prep and serving.
Feast It: Can you tell us a little bit about your menu?
James: All our pizzas are based on the classic Neapolitan style - no fuss, just fine ingredients that go so well together. We use slow proofed sourdough bases that cook perfectly in the wood-fired oven. We also use San Marzano tomatoes, which taste fantastic and help with the overall flavour of the pizza. Our signature pizza is the Doughy Deer - we thought it only right to use Venison Salami along with Blue Cheese crumb and Honey roasted Beetroot. We get our Charcuterie from the guys at Great Glen in Scotland. Their Wild Venison and Green Pepper salami has won a great taste award and it really is amazing!
Feast It: Do you have a favourite thing from the menu either that you love to cook or love to eat?
James: I go through phases of each one, they all taste so good! The Venison is amazing and the Nduja and Honey works great, it’s the spicy sweet thing.
Feast It: Do you have any pizza making secrets you’d be able to share with us?
James: We’d have to kill you.. only joking! Slow proofed dough, a wood fired oven, simple, tasty toppings… Job done!
Feast It: What is your favourite cuisine to eat that isn’t Italian?
James: I just love food, I’d struggle to choose one cuisine. You cant beat a good Sunday roast though…
A huge thank you to James for taking the time out of his hectic summer schedule to talk to us about pizza and weddings! If you want to hire Dough & Deer for your next event, visit their Feast It profile now or fill out our simple enquiry form and we’ll get back to you with availability and a quote. Want a bar and some delicious desserts as well? Browse through our curated collection of over 400 street food caterers and mobile bars to find the perfect ones for your event.