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Q&A with Will Murgatroyd of Curing Rebels

Curing Rebels are three chefs from Hove who work incognito

Your name, business address and age and some background about you…

I’m Will Murgatroyd from Rebel (aka Curing Rebels). We’re based at the Hove Enterprise Centre near Hove Lagoon.

Rebel was set up in early 2020 by three occasional chefs with a view of producing high welfare British charcuterie for a small artisan market. Since day one, we’ve kept our identity under wraps focusing on developing our offering to the charcuterie industry.

Each of the team has experience in butchery and charcuterie making. Rebel was initially intended to be a side business although due the impact of the pandemic on our other occupations we dedicated all of our time developing Rebel to create an income for us all.

What piqued your interest in curing and charcuterie?

Between us we’ve always had an interest in charcuterie. Initially we staring producing on a small scale to service our other business called The Herb Kitchen although it really turned into a real business once the pandemic hit. Rebel was fairly well geared up to do this so we took the opportunity and ran with it. Like many people we had to adapt rapidly to make it all happen.

Curing Rebels product

What’s the on-site process of curing?

Our process begins with the best produce we can find. We source our pigs from a small farm located at the foot of the South Downs about nine miles away from our HQ in Hove. The farm promotes free range and high welfare practices.

We tend to source sows and gilts [female pigs that haven’t had a litter] who tend be at the end of their life cycle and are often overlooked in the food chain. They offer a good level of fat which is essential in the processing of charcuterie.

We spend a day on the butchery process, which includes curing the whole muscles such as the coppa, loins and leg ham. After this we’ll process our salami in which we have around eight products in our core range such as our award-winning Brighton Salami plus we often produce a weekly special.

The salamis go into a 48 hour fermentation process before going into the maturation room where they stay for around six weeks until ready to eat. Our whole muscle products are cured for around two weeks then also into the maturation room for between four months to two years depending on the product.

Curing Rebels product

Where can people enjoy your products?

We have been very fortunate to have had some amazing local support for our products which includes Wild Flor, The Set, My Brighton hotel and the Chimney House plus some great local retail support from The Flour Pot Bakery, The Cheese Man, Hisbe and Quaff to name a few.

Nationally we’ve been supplying the likes of Simon Rogan at his London site Aulis and restaurants in Cumbria plus our products are in some locations that are part of the JKS restaurant group.

We also stock our products at with weekly deliveries in the Brighton area alongside national shipping.

We’re proud to have been awarded a number of Great Taste Awards gold stars, and won Best Salami in the UK in 2020 with our Brighton Salami.

What has driven the resurgence of British charcuterie in the past decade?

We believe there is certainly more of a mindful consideration to how people shop these days which is definitely a factor. Knowing they are supporting a local business alongside high British welfare standards has also helped the resurgence of British charcuterie. There really are some fantastic and passionate British charcuterie producers out there.

How have you coped/adapted during the pandemic?

I guess the pandemic kind of made us! It was certainly a lot of late nights trying to create a business out of nothing with limited resources. It’s great to have the hospitality sector back up and running thought – it’s an industry very close to our hearts.

What are your plans/hopes for the future?

To continue keeping our high standards. We’re also planning to have another Rebel to join the team in the not so distant future with a view to develop our range further.

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