Interview with Darren Armstrong
Armstrong’s Family Butchers :111 St Margarets Rd, Twickenham, Middlesex TW1 2LH
Tel: 020 8892 1844
Managed to catch up with my local butcher Darren Armstrong, where I get all my great meat from before the turkey ordering deluge, and asked him a few questions as to how he came to be a butcher and what drives him.
Roast beef dinner (or pork, chicken or lamb)
Best UK restaurant you have been to:
There’s two I like they are Maze and La Trompette
Favourite kitchen gadget:
Tell me about how you first fell in love with food:
Some of my earliest memories are to do with butchering and going with my father as a very small boy to Smithfield Market, which I loved, plucking turkeys at christmas and visiting farms to use as suppliers. It was fun and exciting for me as a boy with my dad and I guess this is where I fell in love with great meat.
Do you cook/ who taught you?
I do cook, my mother was a basic, homely cook and we always ate well. When I became a butcher I experimented more and I keenly watched the TV chefs to gain new ideas and methods. My wife is an excellent cook so we alternate the cooking duties.
Why did you decide to make food your occupation rather than another industry?
After I finished university I didn’t really have a vocation or career path to follow, so I worked part-time with my dad as a stopgap to tide me over, this then became full time and twenty years later I’m still here in our shop.
What have you learnt about people and food?
Some people love food and can’t wait to try new recipes, other hate it and find it a chore. Our sales vary with the seasons, in the summer it’s light and easy like BBQ, in the winter it’s hearty stews and roasts
Where do you source your ingredients from?
We source them from across the British Isles, Beef is always from Perthshire in Scotland and is Aberdeen Angus. Pork is from Dorset, Chicken is from Long Crendon in Oxfordshire, Lamb varies throughout and can be from, Devon or Welsh, sometimes Scotland, it depends on the season, but all from trusted, ethical farms and rearing techniques.
What good news have you heard recently about food?
Tesco’s profits are down, I hate Tesco’s
What advice would you pass on to our future generation?
Unfortunately I fear that butchering may not be around much longer and will eventually die out. Young people do not tend to want to be butchers, but they should give it a try, Most of the butchers I know have been taught by their fathers and old butchers shops like ours may not exist in the near future which would be a great loss to the community and the local economy. We do work silly hours and it’s quite physical, maybe I should have become a lawyer, lol.
What would you choose as your last meal on earth?
Prawn cocktail to start followed by a nice ribeye steak (Armstrongs of course) , chips, peas and au poivre sauce followed by eton mess.
Thank you so much Darren for taking the time out to speak to Ediblenews.com as you prepare for that wonderful snake like queue that forms outside your shop every christmas as people collect their turkeys, goose and hams. Happy Christmas and with meat like yours I think you’ll be around a lot longer than you imagine.