Charcuterie by Neil Jewell
Neil Jewell (of Bread and Wine restaurant) has a passion for knowing what is in the food he and his family eat. The same goes for his charcuterie which is authentically artisanal and chemical free.
Website www.moreson.co.za/bread-and-wine/ Phone +27 (0)21 876 4004 Email email@example.com
A London chef escapes to Africa
Neil Jewell (of Bread and Wine restaurant) has a passion for knowing what is in the food he and his family eat. If you want to push his buttons, just start a conversation about the wayward actions of big food corporations. He’ll gladly tell you a thing or two you may prefer not to hear.
Thirteen years ago, Neil, a London-based chef, realised that the high paced industry wasn’t doing him any good. “I had always said that if I don’t like my food, I will walk away from it. The day I realised that had happened was the day I decided to quit.” So he and his wife Tina packed their bags and went backpacking. Their year travelling in Africa was a “crazy and raw” experience that inspired Neil immensely. The pinnacle moment – in terms of his decision to stay in Africa – occurred in Zanzibar. When Neil observed a local chef having a smoke break while watching a brilliant sunset (complete with cheesy brochure-style flying fish leaping out of the golden water), he realised a chef’s life didn’t have to be manic as it was in London. He and Tina arrived in Cape Town shortly thereafter and Neil landed his first job at Bread and Wine in Franschoek. The rest is history.
From cooking to curing in one easy crow
What cemented Neil’s resolve to remain here was the amazing quality of the produce in the Franschoek area. He has since grown the restaurant from simple beginnings to having the esteemed reputation it now enjoys. But Neil is not only known for his fine culinary skills. He is equally skilled at curing meat and his charcuterie is highly sought after.
This skill developed rather by accident, and has grown into a passion. At a winemakers and chefs evening offering particularly enjoyable local wares, Neil announced that he could make a fine lamb bacon. The next morning he was bombarded with phone calls in pursuit of this 'delicacy'. Not being one to turn down a challenge, he did some research, tried it out and when it was somewhat of a success, he decided he’d give the more traditional pork bacon a go too. And then prosciutto, and then pancetta, and then, and then…. Neil now produces 300 tonnes a year and demand keeps growing. His charcuterie is truly artisanal and he uses only pasture-raised pigs from Glen Oakes farm.
The truth about pig
Neil now runs charcuterie classes from the restaurant in which he turns a whole pig into charcuterie, while showing his students how to produce amazing cured meats with the most basic equipment – like a cardboard box smoker. He also uses these classes as a platform to “demystify the cured meats industry” and share the truth about big business charcuterie. Neil says commercially made meats contain an average of 36 chemicals that make the meats cure quicker and reach the shelves faster, all in the name of profit. “I won’t do that just to make more money. The way I make my charcuterie is very personal to me.”
A selection of Neil's meat and sausages
Neil with some aspiring charcutiers
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