Monday, 12 March 2012

'judging the London Farmers' Markets sausages..'

I'm pretty sure that the peasants that created the 'sausage' never imagined they would be the subject of a competition. Especially not one being judged by food critic Charles Campion, chef Alan Stewart (Manson) & Fergus Henderson (St John's). And like those peasants I felt I was such a lucky girl to be among them.

400 votes in total for the #loveyourlocalsausage extravaganza. This was made up entirely of people who have stalls and make the community of London markets. The competition itself was more of a celebration of all those creative foodies that set up their stalls through sunshine and the worst of English weather. True dedication to their produce. Which I have to say is admirable. 

So as a judge we got to taste the top 5. It was a tough decision. The level of skill and quality of entrants was astounding. As a butcher, I spotted craftsmanship, carefully chosen ingredients, fresh herbs and organic/free range pork. I also clocked the products lacking in these too, but they all had something that made them stand out as an enjoyable product. 

Talking to Cheryl who runs London Farmers' Markets (@queenofmarkets), I got a strong impression of one overall feeling: passion. this is something that London Farmers have in abundance. I have valued farmers and agriculture my entire life. And I was overjoyed when I heard of their presence in a city so busy as London. 

It was a pleasure to be asked to judge the competition. I am in awe of you guys. Keep up the great work. And - incidentally you're all winners.


Monday, 5 March 2012

'it runs in my family! I had no idea..'

A week. I lasted a week. Right. So Lent was a huge fail. I just found I was eating too much junk. This is how we know I am most definitely a butcher. Not a chef. I mean, I did lots of research and found loads of appealing vegetarian recipes. But I lacked the patience to carry them through. So I'm a let down basically. And the customers enjoyed a good giggle at my lack of success.

However, something exciting did happen last week; my Grandmother sent me a cutting from a Northumberland newspaper and lo and behold this included a photograph of a butcher's shop from the late 18th Century. This shop belonged to my great, great grandfather. So as it transpires it runs in my family! I had no idea! Really geeky but I was quite intrigued. As we can see in the photo he clearly enjoys his work. But how awesome does the shop look?! All the meat hanging in the window, displaying different cuts. Even now though,  in all of the shops I have worked in most have been involved in the local community. They know what is happening in the lives of the people that shop there. We value ourselves highly in taking the time to talk to whoever comes through the door. Yes, obviously we are there to flog the produce. But we genuinely do want to meet your needs and ensure friendliness so that the customer will return. And more often than not: they do.