The importance of craft in a mass-produced world: In conversation with London Smoke & Cure

“There's beauty in slowing down, and in doing so we can create something more exceptional. To give ourselves that opportunity to create something better, and to open up the time and space to do so, is a privilege, and we feel very fortunate that we've been afforded it.”

smoked salmon artisan bespoke

As a partnership that values craft and artisan heritage, we’re always looking to celebrate local businesses who share these values and put excellence at the heart of everything they do. 

This week we spoke to our friends over at London Smoke and Cure who supply their high-quality deli products to farmers markets, retail clients and restaurants across London, as well as through their website.  

Operating from a small smokehouse in a corner of Crystal Palace since 2015, founder Ross Mitchell has reintroduced a personal, and proudly British, touch back to produce that is now so often mass-produced. 

It’s this commitment to authenticity over profit that won Smoke and Cure a nomination in the category of Best Producer at the 2018 Observer Food Monthly Awards, and is one of the main reasons why we were so keen to learn about who they are and what makes them tick. Read on to find out more. 

artisan salami bespoke

Hi Ross, first thing’s first - Who are London Smoke & Cure and what do you do?  

We're a traditional smokery, hand-producing small batches of the highest-quality smoked and cured food. We combine age-old techniques with a modern, simple approach in order to reveal the true character from within our expertly sourced ingredients.  
 

In a world where so many things are machine made or mass-produced, why is it so important to keep artisan crafts like yours alive?  

Because there's truth and life in craft-based products. It both reminds us where we've come from and inspires us about where to go next.

 

On your site you say “To hand craft a product is a privilege not a burden”. What does that mean?  

The easiest (and most profitable) route is to take out all inconsistencies, produce in bulk and flog it to the masses. And so to embrace the differences, and to craft every single product, could be seen to be a burden. But there's beauty in slowing down, and in doing so we can create something more exceptional. To give ourselves that opportunity to create something better, and to open up the time and space to do so, is a privilege, and we feel very fortunate that we've been afforded it.   

bacon hanging food artisan

Why is London such a great community for artisan products?  

There's an undeniable creative energy in London. We're feeding off each other, inspiring each other, helping each other. We're a community drawn together by wanting to making things better, and it's reflected in the products that we make.

 

You handmake a huge range of smokes meats, fishes and cheeses. Can you share one of your favourite recipes?  

Sure, I'll give the recipe for what we're known best for - our Sashimi-grade cold smoked Scottish salmon. We take the very freshest and best salmon and fillet it just hours after it being taken from its waters. We undercure it in a blend of salt, a little sugar, and juniper. Then, it gets naturally dried and then cold smoked lightly over oak, beech and heather. There's nothing else like it around.

What’s the best thing about the work you do? 

Tomorrow.

If you’re interested in learning London Smoke & Cure’s produce, visit their site here.