Introducing: Simon Broadribb from Uptons of Bassett

Introducing: Simon Broadribb from Uptons of Bassett

At the recent Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition 2014, Simon Broadribb’s butcher shop, Uptons of Bassett, won four categories, 12 Gold Awards and was crowned Supreme Champion 2014. We chat to Simon about his journey from washing up to meaty success and why he loves his job.

When did you first become interested in becoming a butcher?
It was my mum’s brilliant cooking that got me interested in food. Then when I turned 13 I began washing up and cleaning at the local butcher shop, C Humby and Sons. When I finished school they offered me a full-time job and I stayed there until I was eighteen.

When did you start work at Uptons of Bassett?
It had always been an ambition to have my own butcher shop. I took over the very dated Uptons premises in 1994 and have worked hard ever since to transform the business. For a long time it was just me working hard to grow the business. Now there is a team of thirteen of us including two full-time and five part-time chefs.

What do you most enjoy about your job?
I like working artistically with the meat, having a light hearted laugh with the staff and customers and of course eating the produce!

What are your best selling products?
Our customers love steak which has been well hung and is tender with a little bit of fat on. We also offer a big range of products we make on site which are also really popular such as pork pies, black pudding and faggots.

You are well known for your sausages?
Yes our sausages have certainly gained some fans especially since our win at the British Sausage Week Awards. Our Hampshire Special is made from a free range, additive free Hampshire Cross bred pig blended with Champagne and truffles. It’s the shop’s most expensive sausage, £25.80 a kilogramme, and I suspect the priciest sausage in the UK!

Has the horsemeat scandal affected your business?
Oh yes, we really noticed an increase in trade with plenty of new faces. We’ve done well to hang on to many of those new customers.

What’s your advice to a customer visiting their butchers for the first time?
Ask plenty of questions, make the most of our expertise and knowledge. What’s good at the moment? What’s local? How do I cook that?

You offer masterclasses for people interested in learning more, are these popular?
Our masterclasses have gained quite a following with lots of positive feedback. They are popular with home cooks, chefs and people interested in learning more about cuts of meat. The pork preparation class is the most popular and all classes end with an informal dinner with wine and participants go home with some meat or fish.

Is there a particular cut of meat which is popular at the moment?
I’ve always been a fan of the cheaper cuts of meat as they are more tasty. At the moment thanks to celebrity chefs such as Tom Kerridge and Jamie Oliver popular cuts are pigs cheeks, ox cheeks, Jacob’s ladder (beef flat ribs) and flat iron steak.

Why is sourcing meat locally important to you?
We get a lot of our meat from local farms in Fordingbridge, Hook and Lymington. It’s reassuring to know the provenance of the meat and the history such as the farming methods used. There are also less food miles of course. Having said that I wouldn’t buy meat just because it’s local, it’s got to be good quality too.

Where can people enjoy your meat?
As well as selling from the shop to customers we supply local pubs and restaurants including Ideal Collection’s group of pubs and restaurants such as No 5 Bridge Street, The White Star and The Bugle.

Congratulations on your recent success at the Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition!
I was delighted to come away with so many awards. I am really proud of the hard work of all the team. We certainly celebrated that night!

Read more about the Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition 2014 and see all the results.