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The world’s most expensive food and how to eat it


Laura King, founder of King’s Fine Food, was awarded an MBE for charitable and voluntary services in 2020 for her work for people with brain tumors.

King’s Fine Food

Laura King has run a caviar business for almost 20 years — even supplying Britain’s royal family with the coveted foodstuff.

But when she started in the food industry, she wasn’t a fan of caviar, which is the name for sturgeons’ roe, or eggs. “I didn’t even like caviar,” she told CNBC by video call.

Now, she’s known as the “caviar queen,” and her firm King’s Fine Food imports hundreds of kilos of caviar into the U.K. every two to three weeks.

The company sells the delicacy to Michelin-starred chefs, upscale stores such as Harrods and Selfridges, and airlines including Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

British Airways was the company’s first customer, with King’s supplying its first-class cabins with caviar. King remembers feeling anxious when she took the airline’s director of food to a racing event during her early days in business.

“I remember thinking … ‘God, I hope he doesn’t want anything expensive to eat,'” she said, recalling her concern about the company’s tight hospitality budget.

Oscietra caviar is the most popular product sold by King’s Fine Food.

King’s Fine Food

Before starting her firm in 2004, King attempted to buy caviar supplier W.G. White, where she was sales director, but was unsuccessful. “But I thought my surname is quite strong, [so I decided to] just go out on my own,” she said.

King got a loan of £170,000 ($206,500), adding the sum to her family’s mortgage to set up an office as well as packing facilities and refrigerators — caviar must be kept at between minus 2 degrees Celsius and minus 4 degrees Celsius. And of course, the stock is expensive, starting at around £300 a kilo, King said.

“It was tough … You can’t pay yourself,” King said of the early days. “I had a husband who was working … so there was money coming in,” she said of her now late husband, John King, a chef who spent time in the kitchens of top London restaurants such as The Dorchester and Le Caprice.

Now, King oversees a team of 10, including her daughter Holly — the company’s sales director — and turns over £2.5 million to £3 million a year. About 80% of those sales are caviar, with the remainder including black and white truffles, Italian Amedei chocolates and luxury food hampers.

How to eat caviar

Caviar can be served on a blini…



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