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Sunday, 21 July 2013

The new 'Love Every Mouthful' Tesco television advert with myself as the Butcher.

Recently, I got chosen to play the butcher in the latest Tesco 'Love Every Mouthful' tv advert from a nationwide Tesco employee competition centred around Passion for Food and was very proud to do so.

A little while ago a poster went up on the staff canteen door asking for staff members to submit a photo of themselves with their favourite Tesco food and submit that along with an explanation why they would like to be involved with the forthcoming television advert.

This text below is what I sent along with a picture of me and some lush sirloin steaks taken by my work colleague, fishmonger Paul.

"Hi there, my name is Phil Lowe and I work on the counters at Nottingham's Beeston Extra store mainly as a butcher but I also enjoy working on the fish counter and occasionally on the Deli. To say I love my food is a vast understatement. I proudly passed my NVQ on Meat and Fish last year and I write a regular and very popular food blog ( which often features and promotes the meat and fish I have bought at Tesco. Sharing my foodie knowledge is my greatest passion. I love to advise the customers directly, or through my blog, on all aspects of cooking meat and fish and love nothing more than a nice juicy sirloin steak (quite rare and bloody though) because I think it can be the tastiest steak and the fat element really does do wonders for the overall taste. Don't chop it off! Keep it in! Just add a teaspoon of Tesco horseradish sauce and it is heavenly! Salivating?
This passionate sharing of a love of cooking through life and work, to me, is really what Making Moments Matter is about. The customers go away with a positive confidence in the meal they are about to make because you have spent a few precious minutes simply and enthusiastically explaining the prep and cooking process. I love my job and I think that my passion definitely shows through as not only myself but the other experienced and keen to share members of our meat and fish department all enjoy demonstrating their various skills and knowledge. This practice brings customers back again and again and builds a trust in the products and staff. The same can be said across all our counters at Beeston.
In my working life, and as one of the more mature employees at our branch of Tesco, I have over twenty years experience as a former traditional master butcher. Plus I have a great passion and a degree in, and for, the performing arts having been involved in amateur and professional acting throughout my life as well as modelling in a similar promotion for Capital One the credit card company as their former employee. I also have experience in working in television as an extra therefore am used to that kind of creative/media working environment. I have a characterful personality and face and great sense of fun and so I sincerely hope that I can get involved in this promotion with Tesco."

Phil Lowe.

Well, over about a period of four weeks I had a series of phone calls about my application and a Skype interview with the production company. After all this I was very keen to know how I'd got on and I kept hearing that I was a 'very strong candidate'. Finally one night I returned home to find a message on my answer phone to tell me that I had been successful and had been chosen to be the butcher from hundreds of applications throughout Tesco in the UK. And the filming was three days away. Was I thrilled? Of course!

The advertising job took me down to London and specifically to a relatively new store in Woolwich and I stayed in a Mercure hotel in Greenwich overnight on the Sunday prior to the filming. I had to be up at 4am to start the filming at 5am. The hotel was lovely. Very smart with nice food in the restaurant (beef soup, grilled outdoor reared pork chop with apple puree and potatoes, and a crème brulee to finish). I had a clear view from my bedroom where I could see the London Eye as a small blue circle in the far distance and the red London Docklands trains arriving at the station to my left on a regular basis. There was a fabulous sunset. My only issue was that I couldn't work out how to turn the lights on. Apparently slipping one's card in the door slot did this. Ignorant of the simple task I took a shower in the dark and stumbled around my room trying to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything on the way out!

In the early morning myself and a young woman called Mercedes from a Braintree Tesco store were taken across south London to Woolwich to be ready for the day's filming. I was used first and poor Mercedes had quite a wait before she was used. I had my make up done - nails clipped square and my red nose powdered - and in my Tesco butcher's uniform I went down on to the shop floor to do my bit. Although lots of publicity photos were taken at the moment I don't have any to put on this blog post. The filming was of me (the butcher) putting my blue counters' hat on and then doing an isolated close up shot of me tying my red striped butcher's apron and then sharpening my steak knife with the steel. The last one was a full head and shoulders shot and we did a recording later on of the sound of the knife being sharpened. After that I did a filmed interview about my life as a Tesco butcher and my passion for food, my blog and my love of sharing ideas for the best usage and cooking of the meat products I sell. I got temporarily released back to the rest room and then did another interview with a lady called Katie from the Tesco magazine for real living - I wasn't alone in this and I believe that the September/October issue will be featuring several Tesco folk who were part of the Love Every Mouthful advert experience.

I spoke to Katie about the influence of the rustic French - especially Mediterranean and Gascony - ways of cooking on myself and about other influences in my life that have shaped my love of food and cooking. Amusingly this conversation included my late Dad's hate of anything he deemed non British and repellently exotic nosh like Chinese and Indian curries. This would all come under the intolerant heading of 'foreign muck' and often be spoken about with huge distain coupled with a contorted and disgruntled face to make it abundantly clear he was having 'no truck' with this stinking evilness living in an aluminium tub. As far as he was concerned the local missing cat and dog population were hanging in a Chaddesden takeaway fridge to cook and sell on to the gullible public. And they used garlic!!! Unbeknownst to him my mum put a small amount of the abhorrent garlic in his stew one day and he wolfed it down. Ignorance can be bliss after all. Misty the cat went missing and was never found, however. We always called him Chairman Meow. Anyway I digress...

During the morning's filming I was called back down to film a product being handed over the counter (it was actually a very small camera that was the viewpoint of the product from butcher to basket) and a stayed around to talk to some of the film crew and the Woolwich store manager.

I also got a chance to chat with Tony the butcher at Woolwich Tesco Extra and share stories with him. He had also gone through some training with Dewhurst in his thirty year butchery experience and was experienced in the slaughtering aspect of the job and keen to tell me of his own passions for 'his' meat counter. Nice guy.

The crew had spent the time with various others in differing departments filming for the advert and we finally wrapped just before lunch. Having got changed those employees involved who needed cabs back to stations of hotels were invited to join the film crew for lunch on the catering bus. It reminded me of fondly remembered days when I used to film as an extra for Peak Practice and Crossroads and a few films and television dramas back in the 1990s and early 2000's.

A cab came for me and I got taken back to St Pancras Station. It seemed along way but I enjoyed the experience and after travelling adjacent to, and passing under the Thames, I saw the O2 arena, Billingsgate Market, the Gherkin, several old and bordered up Victorian pubs, some parks and the Number Fifteen restaurant owned by Jamie Oliver. I would have loved to have stopped the cab from time to time and hopped out to take photos of some of the quirky London buildings and shops.

I arrived at St Pancras in plenty of time to have a celebratory beer at the Betjeman Pub in the station building and then waited for the 13.30pm train back to Nottingham. I was back home by 4pm and reflected on a fantastic opportunity to share my passions for food. Thank you Tesco and thanks especially to my store manager Tammy Andrews and team leader Rebecca for all their encouragement throughout the process. This is just the beginning...

The first television adverts  for 'Love Every Mouthful' start on July 22nd 2013 at approx. 9.15pm on ITV and Channel Four. From a preview it seems that there are more than one style of ad so if you don't see me in the first advert do keep an eye on the others.

Shortly to come on this blog will be a video about the making of the advert and Tesco's food promises. I do certainly feature in this and speak about my passion for food. I'll put it up in a few days time. Phil.



Karen said...

What a fabulous write up of your obviously exciting day Phil. I have made a note (I'm well known for making reminder notes in this house....wether I actually remember to look at it is another matter!) to remember to watch ITV tomorrow evening. I will also remind Steve - we rarely watch 'advert TV' live, preferring to watch it on 'catch-up' to avoid the commercials! An exception will be made in this case however. I hope you are able to watch it live too.

I could have done with your expertise about meat when i bought a joint of beef from my local Tesco yesterday. We hardly ever eat red meat, but roasting joints were on offer & I was feeling reckless. The assistant wasn't sure how it should be cooked, but did consult with another lady who said 'cook for about an hour' & after reference to my 'Delia' cookery book for a 2nd opinion an hour in the oven it had, to ensure it was nice & rare in the middle. And it was perfect - the first time in my life I've cooked a joint of beef & not ruined it by over cooking. It's going to last us several days, so was really very economical. I even made some vaguely successful Yorkshire puds, instead of relying on Tesco Value frozen ones.

I hope your customers know about the advert, & that you get recognised.

Marian Barker said...

Excellent ~ sounds like a smashing experience.

Fancy not knowing how the lights worked!!!!!

philip lowe said...

Karen: So glad to hear that your beef was cooked as you liked it given the advice you had. I may not be in the first commercial bear in mind. I did not realise but it appears that there may be more than one commercial each one concentrating on meat, strawberries, fish etc. The one I saw previewed on the Tesco site didn't feature me at all but mainly focussed on tomatoes. Hopefully one time you will catch mine or I could alert you to any Youtube presence. Aah freshly made Yorkshire pudds - the best!

philip lowe said...

Marian, great to hear from you. Yes I stay in hotels so little that I had no idea about the lights and how they work! Fun times though. Hope that you enjoy my making of video that I feature in. Phil xxx

Janette Jones said...

So very proud of my friend! X

Tammy Andrews said...

I'm so, so proud of you Phil! You are an absolute asset to me in Beeston and a true support and friend to your colleagues. Our customers really benefit from your Passion for Food and I'm very lucky to have you. I hope this is the start of big things in your Food and acting career.
Tammy x

philip lowe said...

Karen, the meat/steaks advert is now scheduled to be shown early to mid August. As soon as I see it I'll alert you.

Great that you had such a big success with your beef joint! Well done!

philip lowe said...

Janette, thanks hun. Very proud of myself too. xxx

philip lowe said...

Tammy, thank you very much. It is always good to know that you are appreciated and supported by you and all at Tesco Beeston. Next stop front page in The One and an article in the Nottingham Post next week.