RaviOllie is a burgeoning pasta businesses set up by the entrepreneurial Oliver Greenhalgh who set up as a market trader to give him the opportunity to test out his home-made ravioli on the public. Ahead of National Pasta Month we caught up with Ollie to ask him a few questions and find out more about the tricks of his trade.
What’s the best thing about being a market trader? There are several things, the other trader’s are always great, and food swaps are definitely a highlight. But for me the best thing is the customer interaction. Having worked as a chef you never get to hear the customer’s reaction to the food that you have created. Working on the markets means you can interact with the people that are eating your food in front of you. Getting positive feedback in this way is the most satisfying thing about the job.
...the worst? The rain!
How many people in your team? I run the business on my own but always try to have a friend helping me out for those busy days.
Describe RaviOllie in a couple of sentences RaviOllie is a new street food concept selling homemade ravioli. The ravioli is accompanied with a choice of homemade infused olive oil's with sides of garlic sourdough toast and mixed salad. They are filled with only the best quality locally sourced, free range ingredients. The aim of the business is to re-invent ravioli and bring restaurant standard ravioli to the public through a new street food concept.
What's your best-seller? The most popular has to be the spinach and ricotta filling. Originally I didn’t want to put this on the menu as some vegetarians that I spoke to said 'ahhh its so boring'. But, people were coming to the stall asking for it so I developed a recipe and put it on the menu and what do you know it became our most popular dish! It is definitely not standard; you can actually taste the spinach coming through, as it is not blended up like several other brands.
Who are your customers? Young professionals and business workers after a healthy, good quality and quick alternative to their pack lunch. Also mum’s, the beef ragu has been a real hit with children and we have had a number of people taking it home for dinner too.
What makes you unique? The quality of the pasta makes us unique. It is all homemade and we use only the freshest eggs, which create delicious pasta. That and the high quality ingredients make us stand out against other ravioli brands.
Where did the name and concept for the business come from? RaviOllie is an idea I came up with during my training to become a chef. Fresh ravioli is so delicious yet all that is available to everyone is the poor quality supermarket stuff. You have to search out fairly high end restaurants to get ravioli as it should be and it doesn’t need to be that way. I want to try and change this and make real fresh pasta that isn’t dried or pasteurized more available to people. The name just fell into place. My name is Ollie so it fit too well! We wanted to go for a rustic style of food. The ravioli is all homemade so no piece is the same. We serve it in a compartment box with garlic sourdough toast and mixed salad so it looks really nice. It’s important to us that the box of food and the design of the stall match the quality of the food that the customer is eating.
What do you love about Waterloo and Lower Marsh? It’s one of my favourite places in London, there is loads going on and the river and South Bank are great places to be throughout the year. Lower marsh is busy. Its great to be involved with a new and growing market. The word is definitely spreading so hopefully it carries on getting busier.
Plans for the next 12 months? There are several avenues that I want to keep exploring; I would like to set up an online shop for people to be able to buy the ravioli for home cooking. I would also like to look into some pop-up residencies to see if it would work as a restaurant concept. And I would like to start supplying to some other local businesses and get them to out source their ravioli making to us.
A little known fact about the business? Each individual piece of ravioli is handcrafted in my mum’s kitchen still…. It makes a mess..
You can find RaviOllie at Lower Marsh Market every Thursday and Friday.