Who We Are
I've been in the meat industry for 40 years, I started in a shop as a Saturday boy at the age of 12 - that would not be allowed now!!!
My favourite part of the job is dealing with customers, I love to know what you are all cooking, I love exchanging recipes and tips etc.
My favourite cut of meat is a lamb neck fillet. It is a great cut of meat - versatile, tender and tasty. You can make curry, stews or have it roasted. Also, it's a lovely cut to make kebabs with!
I have not always lived in Havering, I was born and bred in Paddington. I moved out to Rush Green 26 years ago when I was 28, with my wife and 2 young boys. When I bought the shop in Rush Green I lived above the shop at first, which was good so my wife could help me run it. We actually first met in a butchers - she was a Saturday girl.
I love roast beef... I would have a roast 7 days a week Haha!
I was born and bred in the East End, I moved to Essex 10 years ago. I have been in the meat industry for 40 years. I started as a Saturday boy, same as Paul. I started out cleaning, Saturdays are traditionally the 'deep clean day' and this was of course the Saturday boy's job! So this means that everything had to be cleaned top to bottom including the walk-in chillers and behind the block. I carried on being a Saturday boy until I left school, I left the trade and started my own business selling t-shirts in Camden market for a few years. Later I went back to the meat trade, but went into the catering side of the industry, supplying golf clubs, pubs etc. It was manly night work and I had young children at the time, so really I wanted to get a day job. That's when I saw the job advertisement for Hawkins butchers and the rest is history!!
For me, the best bit of the job is dealing with customers, I love having a laugh and a joke with them! The best cut of meat for flavour in my opinion is ox, and the most underrated cut is lamb's heart - it's lovely slow braised in the oven. My favourite roast dinner is chicken!
I have been in the industry for 49 years. The thing I like about the job has to be the customers. It's all about chicken for me!!! My favourite meat is a whole chicken, slow-roasted for maximum flavour... The versatility of roast chicken is great too!
Tony (aka, Big Tony 'T')
Big Tony T has 'butcher' running in his blood! Tony is the son of a master butcher - Charlie, who has shops in the East end .
Tony followed his dad into the family business at the ripe old age of 12. Tony would be found working in the shop before and after school. When he left school, Tony moved to full time in his dad's shop.
Tony took over the shop from his dad in the 80's, eventually selling up in 2007 and coming to work for Hawkins & Son's butchers where his has been the manager of the Romford branch for 14 years! Tony is now running the Gidea Park shop.
Tony has 2 passions in his life - work and golf (he would tell you his is a better butcher than golf player!)
His favourite part of the job is serving customers and having a chat at the same time. His favourite cut of meat is loin of pork, Tony says he is a good cook - but don't tell his wife!
Tony (aka, Little Tony)
Little Tony, much like the rest of the team, has been a butcher all his life! Tony started his journey as a Saturday boy and then moved into full time work when he left school. Tony is a local lad and has worked all round Dagenham and Romford most of his life - the folk of Gidea Park would probably recognise him from most of the local Public Houses...
He is a larger than life character who loves his work, he says the best parts of his job are serving customers and having a laugh with them. Tony's favourite cut of meat is a lesser known 'H bone of beef' - it's a traditional cut of roasting beef of the silver side, so called as it has an almost H-shaped bone running through the joint.
Like big Tony, little Tony is not a bad cook - but don't tell the wife
started at New City College, Redbridge; studying catering for three years. I was a chef for four and a half years, working through a wide range of restaurants in London, such as Rules and The Footman. I then swapped to the world of butchery, with an apprenticeship at The Ginger Pig working my way to where I am now.
2) I was inspired to become a butcher through my desire to learn as I've always cared about where and what my products came from. From the fundamentals of the cuts to the husbandry of the animal itself. Butchery has allowed me to broaden my knowledge in multiple fields.
3) What I enjoy most about working with meat is the ability to provide for others. To not let anything go to waste, using nose to tail, to keep the people fed and the economy moving.
4) My favourite cut of meat to work with has got to be pork belly. I'm a real sucker for fatty, tasty meats. I also find it really fun how many different dishes there are from around the world with pork belly.
5) The first and most important rule for cooking the perfect steak is to have the steak at room temp before cooking. If you cook a steak that is straight from the fridge, you risk overcooking the outside before the internal temp becomes your desired go to.
6) My favourite meal to cook with meat has got to be my famous Asian style, braised pork belly with crispy crackling!
7) One thing I wish more people knew about meat is that there is almost always a substitute. You can talk to your experienced butchers to give an alternative to something you want that isn't there. For example, your butcher might not have short ribs/Jacob's ladder, but they have brisket.
8) The most enjoyable part of being a butcher in the local community is exactly that... it's a community. And there is nothing better than supporting your local community with a quality service.