A few years ago, maybe only a handful of people had heard of Ginger Pig. Now, having them appear on ones table, menu or supplier list may be a sign of true quality. Straddling the line between chef’s favourite and household name, this butcher is aiming to come into the mainstream. With six stores now open around the capital, their influence continues to grow at a steady rate and they seem to gain followers with every pasty baked and every sumptuous steak sold.
So what are they all about, what makes The Ginger Pig better than all their competitors? The truth may be surprisingly simple, and offers a valuable lesson to anyone aiming to build their own following: quality trumps all.
Great care is taken to ensure the breeds of animal which are sold offer the highest standard of flavour possible. The beef is well hung and marbled, it shows the vast superiority of this butcher over their rivals and the high end supermarkets. Every joint aims to offer consistent excellence which has made them the supplier of choice for Hawksmoor steak houses, as well as a large number of other top London restaurants.
This attention to detail may set The Ginger Pig apart from its rivals. Provenance may matter when it comes to meat. Talking to Nicola Swift, the creative food director of Ginger Pig Ltd, it seems to quickly becomes clear this is a butcher that places the quality of their meat at the very top of the agenda. When asked her about the company’s core values, and about the importance of provenance, she replied:
“it’s very simple; an animal is treated well in the field will taste better on the plate.”
“Our background is farming, and we now farm over more land than we ever have before. Due to the volume of beef we require we work with a number of other brilliant cattle producers,thought we still rear as much of our own pork, beef and lamb as we possibly can, and this grounding in agriculture – we also grow some of our own food for the animals, as well as vegetables and fruit for the preserves – gives us a thorough understanding of what we sell. We also the only British butcher with buying rights at Rungis Market in France, where we travel each week to select a wonderful array of French poultry and high-welfare, free range Limousin veal. The application for a Rungis buying card took us over six months, 10 years of accounting records and a letter from the British Government – it was certainly a tricky- privilege to obtain!”
This quality may come at a cost, which is, well, the price. Oddly enough, it rather adds to the overall experience of it. Taking the tube to Baker Street, making the customary trek through the backstreets of Marylebone and turning the corner, getting the first waft of baking meats and pastry, it all forms a ritual which may be strangely enchanting. The staff’s attentiveness, the sight of the dozens of T-bones hanging in the chill room and the delicious scent all add to it.
How might people benefit from eating more quality meat?