CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

A winning combination

PUBLISHED: 09:44 21 July 2015

Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked meat, fish, chillis, oils, cheese and several other products, which he sells as part of his The Artisan Smokehouse company.

Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked meat, fish, chillis, oils, cheese and several other products, which he sells as part of his The Artisan Smokehouse company.

Linda Duffin took a trip to Trimley St Martin near Felixstowe to visit the hub behind EADT Suffolk Food and Drink Awards winner The Artisan Smokehouse

Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked meat, fish, chillis, oils, cheese and several other products, which he sells as part of his The Artisan Smokehouse company.Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked meat, fish, chillis, oils, cheese and several other products, which he sells as part of his The Artisan Smokehouse company.

It’s Thursday morning and Tim and Gill Matthews are showing me round the hub of their business empire. It doesn’t take long because it’s about 15 feet long and 10 feet wide. For the past five years they have run the award-winning Artisan Smokehouse from their compact home kitchen in Trimley St Martin near Felixstowe.

That’s about to change, but in the meantime, they continue to prepare, smoke and pack everything from home, albeit with a commercial kitchen licence. There are chiller boxes on the doorstep, baskets of garlic in the hall, packaging in the conservatory, wall-to-wall freezers in the garage, a custom-built smoker in the garden and a kitchen full of gadgets and gizmos. As Tim wryly points out, it doesn’t leave much room for cooking dinner parties.

Working seven-days-a week doesn’t leave much time for entertaining either but their hard work has paid off. What began as a hobby has been transformed into a thriving business with a £200,000 annual turnover. And by the end of the year, they are hoping they will have moved into new purpose-built premises close by in Gill’s home village of Falkenham.

“We had a bit of a crisis at Christmas last year where we couldn’t produce enough food to supply the demand. It was a turning point for the business,” says Tim. “So we took the step to expand, because we think that’s the sensible thing to do for long-term growth.”

Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked Salmon.Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked Salmon.

The couple bought a second-hand barn and work is already underway on the new site. There will be plenty of space for the planned expansion, with a shop, a café (hopefully licensed) and a training workshop so Tim can teach classes in smoking and curing. And perhaps most importantly, they will be able to produce double the amount of food.

That will be good news for their devoted following of fans. Although the Artisan Smokehouse supplies local shops and a couple of private jet and super-yacht companies, 95% of its customers are people who buy mail order. “They’re people like you and me, people who like to sit at home and make amazing food,” says Tim. And he is happy with that.

“I don’t buy from supermarkets and I don’t sell through supermarkets either and I never will. We’re not chasing world domination. We just want to be a small, nice company that’s easy to deal with, based in Suffolk, selling to Suffolk people and people throughout the UK. We want to stay hands-on, hand-made and local,” he added.

And although the pair set up their stall at shows across the country, it was the Aldeburgh food and drink festival that Tim says was key to the growth of their business.

Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked meat, fish, chillis, oils, cheese and several other products, which he sells as part of his The Artisan Smokehouse company.Tim Matthews uses his home smoker to create smoked meat, fish, chillis, oils, cheese and several other products, which he sells as part of his The Artisan Smokehouse company.

“We exhibited in year one, I think, and have exhibited every year since and we love it. It gives us a platform to talk to people who we wouldn’t necessarily meet. It’s lovely to do something local which is nationally respected.”

Buying their raw ingredients locally is important too. They prioritise Suffolk produce wherever possible, and always free-range or an equivalent. It is that passion for provenance and quality that has earned the Artisan Smokehouse so many awards.

“We’ve been very lucky. The very first year we started we entered the Great Taste Awards and were lucky enough to win a top prize, a triple gold, for our beef fillet, which was stunning,” says Tim. They have gone on to win more Great Taste Awards and in 2014 became the Young British Foodies Meat Champion, a national competition for top producers judged by a panel of their peers and chefs.

But the biggest feather in their cap, they say, is winning the Pride of Suffolk category in this year’s EADT Food and Drink Awards. “It’s a company award rather than one for an individual product, which we’re really proud of because although we’ve won national awards, it didn’t mean as much to us as winning something locally.”

Why? “Because I think Suffolk is a hard nut to crack, to be honest. I think it’s a difficult thing to stand out, a) because we’ve got so many amazing food and drink producers locally, and b) because Suffolk people are careful where they spend their money, far more so than perhaps London and the home counties, and I think if you can make it in Suffolk, you can make it anywhere. I’m really proud of the fact that although probably one of the smallest, we’re one of the best-respected local businesses, for the provenance and the effort we put in.”

www.artisansmokehouse.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Tue, 14:44

Cocktails with dinner? Tessa Allingham dines at The Northgate, Bury St Edmunds, where chef Greig Young says good food can be fun

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

We all love a good cup of coffee, whether it’s a latte, flat white or just plain black Suffolk is home to a multitude of wonderful local coffee shops. Here are 10 of our favourites with no chains in sight!

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

As the colder weather starts to creep in, there isn’t a better place to spend a chilly evening than a cosy pub. We pick 15 of the best places in Suffolk where you can warm up next to the fire while trying a pint of local real ale

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

If you’re stuck for ideas about where to get your Sunday roast fix this weekend, then give one of these 20 Suffolk pubs a try!

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

As we move towards Christmas Suffolk’s top pubs and restaurants are developing menus that perfectly complement the festive season. Here are 8 you should consider this winter

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Retired jockey Eva Moscrop is opening Cortado Espresso Bar on September 15th on Newmarket’s Exeter Road. The first 100 customers will also receive a free coffee!

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Suffolk is home to some of the nation’s most beautiful waterways - the River Waveney, the River Deben and the River Stour all offer stunning scenery that captures the heart of locals and visitors alike. There is nothing better than enjoying dinner and a drink by the water, so here are some of the county’s prettiest riverside pubs…

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Make a day of your trip to the garden centre with tea and cake. We pick six garden centres in Suffolk with cosy tea rooms to enjoy

Read more
Thursday, August 16, 2018

From pretty pub gardens to restaurants overlooking the ocean, Suffolk is a treasure-trove of wonderful places for al fresco dining. With that in mind we’ve picked nine of our favourite places to enjoy a meal in the sun

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Suffolk is home to some of the best cream teas in Britain – from country house hotels to chilled out coffee shops, we pick 9 places worth a visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search