Interview with Armstrongs the Butchers

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.

Favourite Food:
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 ingredient:
Coriander

Favourite kitchen gadget:
Garlic crusher

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.

Armstrong's Family Butchers

Meat

Meat

Meat

Armstrong's Pies

Armstrong's

Armstrong's Butchers

Interview with Zoran

We had barely moved into St Margarets when I visited Zoran’s Deli, in Crown Road, that was 5 years ago and the standard and quality of his food hasn’t changed, when you meet him you understand why, he has worked and learnt his craft from some  of the top chefs in the country and I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with him recently to find out a bit more about him and what drives his passion for cooking.

Zoran's

Zoran Himself

Zoran’s potted history:

His previous occupation: Waiter

Zoran’s Favourite food: Italian

Zoran’s favourite restaurant in the UK: The River Cafe, because it’s consistently excellent

His favorite ingredient: Shallots

Favourite kitchen gadget: Mandolin slicer

His top 3 food hates: Hot food served cold, undercooked food and pretentious food (I hate it too)

How did you first fall in love with food: Through my mum’s cooking and summer barbecues

Where did you learn to cook? At Chelsea Harbour, under Marco Pierre White

Why did you decide to make food your occupation, rather than just for pleasure? Because I love the food industry, working with people and creating new dishes

Where do you source your ingredients from? All my meat comes from the local butcher four doors away and my local greengrocers, I believe in supporting small, local businesses

What good food news have you heard recently? Healthy food being served in schools, as it’s so important that children understand good food, healthy eating and all the benefits it can bring

What food advice would you pass on to the younger generation: Always try something at least once, only then can you make a decision as to whether you like it or not

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth: Fish, sitting by the sea in Montenegro

Thank you Zoran for taking the time out to speak to me!

 

Click here to read about Zoran’s Crab Spaghetti I made for Edible News