Meet the Art of Meat

The Art of Meat has been recommended to me many times over the years but regrettably I had not ventured beyond my regular butchers to try them out, so I took the opportunity to visit them for the first issue of scuseme … what?

The Art of Meat is tucked away in a quiet corner of Arbury Court, a lovely community focused public square (with plans for redevelopment to create an “urban social square”).  Here I met with owner, Jon West, to find out a little more about this much talked about butchers, whose name suggests so much more than just a place to get your lamb chops.

From biotechnology to butchery

Cambridge is world renowned for its strong links with science, so perhaps Jon’s earlier life as a research scientist was not so astounding.  That the research involved plant biotechnology and plant genetics, was more of a surprise.

His path into academia was one that many have followed in this city.  But after a few years he fancied a change.  And what a change it turned out to be.  Jon had worked for a year in a butcher’s shop after he left school, and over a pint with old friend Brian Adams, ideas soon led him down a very different path.  Brian had owned and run BP Adams Butchers for 18 years, and the new owner wasn’t doing so well, so Jon and his wife Clare made the decision to take over the business.  As Jon said:

“We took over the shop on the 4th July 2005, our first child was born on the 15th July & we got a mortgage the following year.  It was quite a transformation.”

Jon showing off his produce

From flora to fauna: creating the Art of Meat

Jon had an idea of what he wanted to do & achieve from the word go.   He knew he was never going to beat supermarkets on price so he would have to beat them on quality & service.   Jon said of living and working in Cambridge:

“We’re so lucky here because in East Anglia there’s a whole host of really good independent producers.”

He proudly listed some of the top of the range wholesalers supplying produce such as Dingly Dale Pork, Riverside Beef and several good free range chicken suppliers.

The Art of Meat’s excellent reputation comes from their exceptional quality and service.  But the innovative flavours created for their sausages and other meats betrays Jon’s natural scientific flare for experimentation.  Naturally all the sausages are made by hand and they have some traditional flavours such herby, Italian and breakfast but they change and introduce new recipes frequently.  When Jon shared some of his favourites, it became immediate obvious why the Art of Meat is such an apt name:

  • hog roast with pork scratchings and apple
  • liquorice all-sorts
  • toffee-apple on Bonfire Night with bits of fudge and caramelised apple running through
  • Mergertz with paprika, fennel, harissa and cumim.

Jon and his team are always trying new ideas, so no doubt this list will expand.  At this point I was introduced to Dylan Carter, who started as an apprentice and has been with them for over 10 years.  Dylan is interested in Roman re-enactment and was working on a Roman style burger with fish sauce instead of garam because that is what the Romans would have used and dates, coriander and green peppercorns.

Dylan and Brian ‘experimenting’

The Art of Meat also makes their own marinades.  Their useful website provides great tips for their customers both in terms of cooking and butchery.

Gourmand friendly

Jon has worked hard to meet people in the community who have the same standards as him when it comes to food provenance and quality.  He has always been interested in food and he gets deliveries up from Smithfields to provide more top quality and exciting things for people who are really interested in food and cooking.

The success of the business is based, unsurprisingly, on keeping a loyal base of customers happy, and the lessons Jon has learnt over the years and his knowledge of pricing and cuts means that he can keep his prices consistent throughout the year, which makes it much easier for their customers.

Cambridge Connections

Predictably The Art of Meat is very well connected and with the growing popularity of food vans, Jon thinks in part because people can’t afford restaurants – I was not surprised to find out that they supply Steak and Honour, Guerrilla Kitchen and Jalan Jalan to name three of the more renowned new outlets in Cambridge.   Jon knows that these people hold quality as dear to their hearts as he does, and with the vibrant street food scene, competition is strong and self-regulating so only the good ones will survive.  Those that invest in serving good quality food.

Five people working at The Art of Meat, Jon, Dylan, Aiden Gillett, Clare and Brian Adams who is semi-retired.  Find out more about The Art of Meat

Jon’s Top Tip

The thing I’ve learnt with knives is to keep a knife sharp is easy; to make a knife sharp isn’t.

 

Jon was interviewed by Dawn Giesler, the founder of scuseme, a recommendation website developed to provide an essential resource to help your family run smoothly. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advise based on her own experiences. For more information please visit: scuseme

 


All the fun of the fair

cambridge Town & Country Fair & scuseme

One of my favourite events in Cambridge, is the Cambridge Town & Country  Fair when for two days rural life is brought into the heart of the city.

Uncertain weather is all part of the experience, though sunshine certainly helps.  So don your wellies, dust off that Barbour and saddle your pony (though cycling is as easy) and get down to the idyll that is Parker’s Piece

scuseme cambridge town and country show

I met with Emma Owen, who runs Oakleigh Fairs, and she was happy to share with scuseme members some fascinating things about the Cambridge Town & Country Fair.  We hope you are enlightened.

1) The show is now in its 11th year and the inspiration behind it was the old Heavy Horse Show that used to take place on Midsummer Common,  as  well as the old Victorian/Tudor Fairs that used to take place on  Parker’s Piece itself.

2) Parker’s Piece is one mile square, making the run of marquees that run along the length of Regent’s Terrace, nearly ¼ mile long!

 

3) Parker’s Piece is officially turned into a farm for the duration of the show, with its very own CPH (County Parish Holding) Number.

4) The fare hosts one of the largest collections of steam engines and farm machinery – both scale and full size models on show in an urban  environment.

 

cambridge Town & Country Fair & scuseme

5) The fair receives absolutely no public funding whatsoever.

6) The organisers were both brought up and went to school in Cambridge as did their children – so this show is very close to their hearts!

The Cambridge Town & Country Fair is a free event and takes place on 10th / 11th June on Parker’s Piece.

Find out more here

Dawn Giesler, is the founder of scuseme, a recommendation website developed to provide an essential resource to help your family run smoothly. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advise based on her own experiences. For more information please visit: scuseme


How scuseme helped a friend & the June orchid count

June orchid count scuseme

Recently an old friend of mine who now lives in New York got in touch for some help.  She grew up in Cambridge and was on a short, five day, emergency stay, visiting her dad, who was undergoing tests at Addenbrookes. Her visit was very much out of the blue due to the circumstances but she called because she desperately needed to find some reliable help for her dad, and having not lived in Cambridge for many years she didn’t have any of the right local contacts. (more…)


Value your time & try something new in Cambridge

Free time is a luxury, a precious resource, so it’s important to use it wisely.  If you’re lucky enough to live in Cambridge there are plenty of activities on offer to entice you to spend your free time.  But have you ever noticed that when you live in a place you don’t always see or take the time to enjoy what’s on offer because you get caught up in work, family life and household jobs.  Our advice is to value the time you have, make time to spend with friends and family, get involved in your community and make every minute count. (more…)


May Bank Holiday – are you ready to tackle your DIY projects? Do you want to?

May sees Cambridge at it’s best, with the start of so many exciting and tempting events and activities, such as Eat Cambridge, and the Cambridge Beer Festival.  Although bank holidays are traditionally used for tackling DIY projects,  DIY is not for everyone.  If you don’t want to get the toolbox out and head up a ladder this bank holiday or if you don’t have the skills, finding a local recommended professional is the best way to get the job done properly, leaving you time to enjoy the Cambridge festivities. (more…)


scuseme 6 essential electricity safety rules at home

We asked our recommended electricians in Cambridge to come up with six key considerations to keep you and your possessions safe in your home.

In February, there was a fire at Clarins Day Spa on St Andrews Street, Cambridge.  It was caused by an electrical fault, and the incident led to the part closure of John Lewis.  But thanks to their fire prevention systems (smoke and fire alarms, and sophisticated sprinkler systems), both stores kept disruption to a minimum and no one was hurt.  Sadly, for many households the consequent of fires, are often far more damaging.

Against this background, we want to share some important, and sometimes overlooked, safety guidance regarding electricity. (more…)


The 20 best dog-friendly pubs in Cambridge

Punter pooch watering hole. Photo by www.jamiescottlong.com

Dine with your doggie…….scuseme’s favourite dog-friendly pubs in Cambridge

Most people who know me, knows how much I love hanging out with my dogs, Roscoe and Sugar, and especially my daily walks around the beautiful parks, nature reserves and meadows in Cambridge.

When it comes to eating out or just having a drink it’s nice to find places that will accommodate my four-legged friends. So, we’ve compiled a list of places in and around Cambridge that won’t banish you to the garden because you have your dog with you but will welcome your paw-some pets whatever the weather. (more…)


AGAs repairs and service in Cambridge

Aga serviced by independent expert in Cambridge

AGA owners, for most of the time, you are rewarded with incredible food, ambient warmth and a kitchen that is the heart and soul of your home.  

But any AGA owner knows they are wonderful until they breakdown.  So, for our AGA owners in Cambridge here are six essentials ingredients to make sure your AGA is always ready to serve up a scrumptious feast. (more…)


Independent cafés in Cambridge

independent cafe Hot Numbers

Great places to hang out

Over recent years, the growing number of independent cafés in Cambridge has given me lots of pleasure and fun (and no end of excellent coffee, teas and smoothies, and cake!) amidst the more general and depressing expansion of international chains.  The variety of eating and drinking options always tempt with mouth-watering menus, often locally sourced and wherever possible, seasonal. (more…)


Budgeting for an extension in Cambridge – watch your wallet

The extension budget is one area where most people fall, often underestimating the time and money that is required to complete the project.  And if you live in Cambridge you need to know that the best builders get booked up early; so, plan ahead, conduct thorough research, identify at least three builders, choose carefully and then draw up a secure contract. (more…)


Follow the fabulous food vans in Cambridge

The eating out options in Cambridge have come a long way in the last ten years, reflecting the cosmopolitan character of the city and the diverse tastes of its residents. 

Cambridge is now embracing and building on the growing trend around food vans, providing a range of delicious, fresh, healthy and innovative street food representing numerous cultural and culinary tastes.  These dedicated chefs are bringing their passion to the streets, often hitching their characterful vans outside our favourite pubs, wine bars and cafes.  (more…)


You really need to know about these money saving opportunities if you live in Cambridge

I’ve lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and some of these money saving offers I only discovered relatively late on.  And it was very frustrating, so I’m writing this to make sure that you know exactly what’s on offer as a resident.

It’s lovely that we live in this beautiful historic city, but life is expensive, especially the treats such as punting.  These great money saving offers are available to the residents of Cambridge. (more…)


Top tips for sparkling windows

A source of light and a focal point; windows are the eyes of your home.

Windows invite the brightness back into your home and sparkling clean windows will transform your rooms making them light, bright and good for the soul.

Here are some tips from our professionals to help you.

Your equipment:

  • Large dry brush or broom
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Squeegee
  • Home made cleaning solution (two tablespoons vinegar to a bucket of warm water)
  • Brown paper or newspaper
  • Chamois or microfiber cloth
  • Dry lint free cloth or drying pad

Now you can get started:

  1. Remove build up of dust & cobwebs using the brush
  2. Wash your window with a sponge using your own cleaning solution
  3. Wipe off the excess water with a squeegy
  4. Remove any remaining water with the chamois or microfiber cloth
  5. Really dirty windows add domestic borax or household ammonia to the solution and dry with the lint free cloth
  6. For extra sparkle – buff the dry glass with a sheet of crumpled newspaper
  7. Clean regularly

Stores like Cutlacks, MacKays and Scotsdales are likely to stock all of the above.

Alternatively we can connect you with trusted local window cleaners in Cambridge who use these traditional methods.

Find a local window cleaner now


How scuseme helped Cambridge resident find recommended local builder for cottage renovation

In June 2016, we received the following customer enquiry:

“I am looking for a builder to do a small extension at my cottage in Cambridge.  I need the bathroom and kitchen to be extended and refurbished. I have plans for the work and would like the work to start ASAP. Many thanks.”

We passed this enquiry onto our recommended local builders and three of them were keen for scuseme to share their profiles with the customer.

(more…)


The food of love – places to eat in Cambridge this Valentine’s Day?

Cambridge is a romantic city and celebrating St Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to try some of the wonderful independent restaurants.  Whether you are looking for the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two or a celebration with friends, Valentine’s Day in Cambridge books up quickly, so, we have put together what we think are some of the best restaurants in Cambridge that still have some availability. They cover a range of prices to match any budget, a variety of tastes, cultural diverse dishes and many dietary requirements.  Hurry, if you don’t want to be let down.    (more…)


scuseme tips for finding & choosing a plumber in Cambridge

With so much information out there it may seem that you are spoilt for choice, but make the wrong choice and you could end up with a ‘cowboy’. You have to trust the information that is provided. So ask the right questions, follow these instructions and you will find the right plumber: someone who is a trusted, local and recommended expert in the Cambridge area. (more…)


The internet, king or killer?

In response to the article in the Cambridge News 16th January 2017,  I think that, depending on your mindset, the internet can be viewed as a king coming to the rescue of your independent business or a killer delivering the final blow.  Today, however, it is virtually impossible to ignore the internet and still grow a successful business, you must look to ways to embrace the opportunities it presents.

Entrepreneurs such as Neil Mackay, using the many online buying platforms to grow his business and Paul Warner, who decided to operate his business as an online retailer, saving £1000s in rent, are great examples of independent retailers who have used technology to deliver real value to their customers and to enhance their lifestyles.

In Cambridge rental is high but stores are inventive.  We see examples of retailers using sites temporarily for pop-ups, such as the wonderful Fantasia on Mill Road.  We are seeing the growth of successful food vans, such as Steak and Honour whose success has prompted their first restaurant in Wheeler Street.  And we see a whole host of businesses operating on bikes and from the market square.  But to grow and reach more people the internet must form some part of your plan.

Setting up e-commerce sites is expensive, but there are cost effective solutions for independent businesses getting started.  We have long moved from the traditional high street store; everything can now be found online, so a store is not necessarily the starting place for most businesses.  Instead there are directories, recommendation websites and social media opportunities that can allow you to test your market and business concept before committing to long rental agreements.   Perhaps like recommendation sites, multiple complimentary businesses will partner up to afford rents.  I am sure that someone in this exciting city will find a way to keep the independent soul of the Cambridge alive.

Dawn Giesler is the founder of Scuseme Cambridge an online site recommending local independent experts

Find out more


Cambridge “one of the safest areas of the UK” but we must remember to look out for each other

It was heartening to have confirmation from Sgt Ian Wood, addressing members of the city council’s East Area Committee on Thursday 12th January, that crime in Cambridge is at an “unbelievable” low level.

People who live and work in Cambridge, often speak of living in a bubble where we seem to be distant from some of the damaging social and economic issues that have such a massive impact on so many parts of the country.  These recent findings about criminal activity in the area support this, Wood goes on to say that, “even the criminals in Cambridge are nice.”   (more…)


Home improvement plans for 2017? Four steps to turn your ideas into a reality

A new year and a new start so often prompts us to refresh our lives. Whether it is to make small home improvements, get the garden sorted or start an exciting building project, January is the time to lay down the foundations to turn your ideas into a reality. But successful ideas don’t happen by accident.  So here are some tips to help you on your way.   (more…)


If scuseme can help out Santa, we can do the same for you!

There’s nothing worse than your best Christmas plans going wrong. A broken cooker, leaking roof, no central heating – it’s the last thing you need at the best time of the year.

But there’s one man who really can’t afford for things to go wrong at Christmas. A man who can’t fail in his mission to deliver presents the world over. At some point on Christmas Eve he’ll be flying over Cambridge but don’t worry Santa – scuseme has you covered!

Just like Santa and his elves, we’ve been busy all year.  We’ve put together a great team of recommended local traders in the Cambridge area. We know they can be trusted to meet your needs and care about their customers – because we’ve checked them out. (more…)


Top 5 tips for keeping your dinner party simple and tasty

We all love the idea of inviting friends and family over for dinner but sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. Preparing menus, elaborate table settings, and of course the cooking, can leave us feeling more frazzled than a slice of back bacon.

Entertaining at home should be fun, relaxing and full of delicious food.  We have consulted with our fabulous Cambridge scuseme recommended caterers and here they share their top five tips for keeping your dinner party simple and tasty. (more…)


Scuseme, can you recommend a good business or service in Cambridge?

By default, we ask people we trust for recommendations, and equally people love to share them.  But sometimes we’re not able to connect with their recommended suppliers and we have to find another source of reference.  Increasingly we turn to the Internet, and whether looking for a restaurant or a room, a book review or boots, we rely on the recommendations and review of others to help us decide.

Did you know that 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 72 percent of customers questioned in a local community survey said that positive reviews make them trust a local business more? (more…)