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Hainault butcher selling his high-end restaurant steaks to Redbridge homes during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 July 2020

James George converted his wholesale butchery into a retail shop to provide great British beef to the great British public. Picture: James George

James George converted his wholesale butchery into a retail shop to provide great British beef to the great British public. Picture: James George

Archant

After supplying gourmet meat to the best restaurants in London and seeing sales vanish overnight with lockdown, a Hainault butcher adapted his business to provide the same high-quality steaks to residents.

Customers are intrigued by the cuts of meat dry-aging with a mound of Himalayan salt at the bottom. Picture: James GeorgeCustomers are intrigued by the cuts of meat dry-aging with a mound of Himalayan salt at the bottom. Picture: James George

Before lockdown James George, owner of Select Butchery, Hainault, went from having 26 vans on the road and providing meat to high-end restaurants such as Hawksmoor, Quaglino’s and The Wolseley to almost losing everything.

James, who has owned the business for 20 years, said: “Overnight our turnover went to zero and cash flow became very difficult.”

He continued to provide meat for some restaurants which offered takeaway but it was a fraction of what he was selling before.

He was forced to furlough almost 75per cent of his staff and take his vans off the road.

Starting Monday, July 13 they are releasing an app where residents within a three-mile radius of the shop can order high quality meat. Picture: James GeorgeStarting Monday, July 13 they are releasing an app where residents within a three-mile radius of the shop can order high quality meat. Picture: James George

James had a fridge full of meat with nowhere to go.

With the help of a friend who had a mobile meat truck he decided to sell his steaks door to door.

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Since restaurants were closed and people were getting adventurous in their home kitchens James found there was a real apetite for it.

Select Butchery has been providing meat to restaurants such as Quaglino's, Dishoom, and The Ivy for the last 20 years. Picture: James GeorgeSelect Butchery has been providing meat to restaurants such as Quaglino's, Dishoom, and The Ivy for the last 20 years. Picture: James George

The truck became so popular that James decided to convert half of his ground floor offices into a purpose built shop where the public can “get a better standard of meat and poultry than at their supermarket”.

In the shop there are two dry-aged chillers with a mound of Himalayan salt at the bottom to dry-age beef.

James said: “People are fascinated by it and don’t understand it but come and ask us questions about the process and what it means to dry-age beef.”

Now that restaurants have re-opened some business has returned and James said he is about 25pc below where he needs to be.

He had to make 20 redundancies, has 40 staff members on furlough and has another 40 have returned to work.

He now has several vans out six days a week.

Starting Monday (July 13) James is launching a home delivery service where anyone within a three-mile radius of the shop can order their meat through an app.

For more information visit https://www.selectbutchery.shop/


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