I recently had the pleasure of meeting Alex Cook who developed Swper Box during lockdown.
Our meeting was held on Zoom, and we chatted for hours as I discovered how Alex had moved to Monmouthshire when he was almost 6, but came originally from Ipswich. He admits to being a wild child, spending most of his youth in the woods making fires and getting into trouble, before going to a University in Cambridge to study Business and Entrepreneurial Management. After a short stay in Wales he headed for London, working as a set designer and builder for backdrops and Oxford Street Shop Fronts. The income was such that it enabled Alex to work on projects for a bit, and with the disposable income, use that for traveling. On one of his travels he spent time as a director for a Charity in the Philippines where they built an orphanage growing their own food to feed the orphans.
As his story unfolded and he recalls that on returning to Wales he worked for a bit on a construction site, I could tell that Alex is not afraid of hard work, or living outside the box, and can turn his hand to just about anything that comes his way, or grabs his interest. He renovated his own home before selling the property and using some of the cash to purchase an old 1970’s caravan, which he converted into a food truck and called it Pink Peppercorn. You have probably seen Alex and his van at a number of Food events around Wales. As a result of his extensive travel and experience of having tasted different foods around the World, he has managed to bring that knowledge to his kitchen and uses it to add that little twist to his dishes, matching World cuisine with Welsh ingredients, which clearly sets him apart.
The move to Carmarthenshire happened around 2019, mainly because property was so expensive in Monmouthshire and a home in Carmarthen placed him at the heart of his suppliers and the food chain. He also quite liked the idea of a rural and relaxed lifestyle, which he adds was not to be because he has been so busy developing his many amazing food ideas.
This is how Swper Box was conceived. It is clear from his past experiences building the orphanage and the passion in his voice when he speaks about this, that Alex has a mission in life. He wants to make changes and to help people get work which is meaningful, and so the Swper Box concept was also aimed at providing job opportunities for those out of work in the area. Then Covid struck, and Alex soon realized the impact this was having on the supply chain, and he wanted to turn that into a positive so it was the driving force for creating the nutritious meals delivered to Hospitals and front line workers within Carmarthenshire. The group that Alex works with in the County were contacted by the National Feed the NHS Campaign to help coordinate this service within Carmarthenshire.
One of the alarming things for Alex during lockdown was the increase in people using Food Banks so he and his group helped set up the local Food Bank in Llandeilo providing fresh produce for the cause. The feedback however, from the users, was that they did not know what to do with the fresh ingredients. Alex soon realized that there needed to be some changes and a more holistic approach to the food chain where education played an important role in teaching people about where their food is grown and then what to do with it once they are given those fresh ingredients. Alex admits he is not a one man band and this would not have been possible without the help and support of so many dedicated and passionate people who he works with.
Swper box has recently been revamped and the range of dishes on offer can meet all dietary requirements. The main thing to remember here of course is the food chain and all the ingredients, such as seasonal vegetables, come from a network of organic and regenerative Welsh farms. Alex deals directly with the suppliers so you can be sure that your box of ingredients have been selected, prepared and presented in the most holistic way.
If you are reading this outside of Wales then sorry the Swper Box scheme will not be available to you, but if you are planning on a self catering stay in West Wales then I can highly recommend you order yourself a Swper Box for your stay with deliveries scheduled for Tuesdays currently.
For more information about Alex and Swper Box please head to this website