Meet the Head Chef

Stefan Kolsch Stefan Kölsch:
Head Chef and New Product Development Manager

"I began my career at Donald Russell more than six years ago and was immediately amazed at the level of commitment that went into producing every single product. My previous experience is in Michelin starred restaurants and I count myself very fortunate to have found a company that will allow me to continue developing my passion for producing only the best."

Confit Duck Legs

I've just been on the phone to one of my farmer friends in Loué, France, to check how their next batch of Confit Duck Legs are coming on. Chatting to Vincent, I remembered just how much care and effort it takes to prepare each delicious one.

Loue LogoFirstly, the poultry farmers in this prestigious agricultural region must raise the best birds humanly possible. This has taken them centuries to perfect. As you would expect, the tastiest ducks need lots of space, free reign to enjoy their idyllic outdoor farmland, cosy fox-proof shelters to keep them safe at night, and a hearty, natural diet. They eat a range of grains as well as the grass they love to forage through. Most importantly, they are given time to develop without any nasty growth hormones, and in my opinion it is this last factor which gives their meat its characteristic full flavour.

Confit Duck LegThen, once these proud farmers have produced the ultimate duck meat, they use it to make the traditional French delicacy, Duck Confit. The legs (which are cut to include both drumstick and thigh) are washed and salted to cure for 24 hours. Then the salt is rinsed off, and the legs are poached slowly in their own duck fat until the meat is cooked through and incredibly tender. All this tasty goodness is sealed in vacuum bags in individual portions and frozen, ready for you to crack out your own gourmet 'wow' moment!

confit Duck Leg Because this fantastic, ready-cooked product is so effortless to enjoy, it is easy to take for granted all the time and work which has gone into it. So, next time I'm heating these Confit Duck Legs in my oven until the skin's crisp and sticky, I'll be saying a small 'thank you' to Vincent and his passionate fellow farmers – Vive les fermiers!

Happy Eating
Stefan Kölsch

Product Development - How do we define quality?

Stefan Kolsch and Liz Webb test products in the on-site kitchen

We never compromise on quality, but how do we ensure our products are up to scratch?

  • We know quality is a degree of excellence and that no less will do
  • Our 'secret weapon' when it comes to guaranteeing our quality remains constant is taste tests
  • We cook our products in the development kitchen on a daily basis - taste tests are conducted regularly and at random.

  • Help & Advice

    I'm always glad to hear of your own favourite recipes, or suggestions for new gourmet foods. Please send me an email with your recipes, suggestions, comments and queries to

    I also have my own category on the Donald Russell blog which I update regularly with hints, tips, news and product development news visit:

    We have a range of recipes suitable for virtually any cooking technique which can be found on the recipes page of the website.

    Stefan Kolsch and Liz Webb test products in the on-site kitchen
    Oh, and have you seen our online videos yet? They feature videos with myself and Head Butcher Mark Farquhar and they are a great way to get bite-sized information about the production and cooking of our products. Click HERE to view online videos


    Staff Training

    Stefan Kolsch and Liz Webb test products in the on-site kitchenAt Donald Russell we pride ourselves on the passion of our staff, from the butchers to the people who pack your order, from the directors to the people who answer the phones. To help nurture that passion for great food, our staff have the option to attend my in-house cook school in the Development Kitchen.

    This gives the staff regular opportunities to gain hands-on experience of cooking our products and. It also gives them a chance to ask me questions about them - this is the bit that I enjoy as it shows how interested they are.

    They also have regular demonstrations by our skilled butchers, and the chance to taste our products, so each and every person knows about our products from where they come from to how to cook them. This knowledge allows them to give you the best service possible, and if we can't answer your question first time around, we'll find someone who can and get back to you.

    Specialist Advice

    Donald Russell has its own group of food specialists on hand to advise you on all your food-related queries. The 'Gourmet Team', all have first-hand experience of preparing and cooking a wide range of our products, and are happy to help you with any questions you might have, no matter how large or small. Many of our Gourmet Team have a background in cooking or catering, and they all have a great passion for food. Their knowledge and experience will help you to cook your Donald Russell foods to perfection, which will enhance the whole eating experience for you and your guests. You can contact the Gourmet Team by email at, or by calling 01467 629666.