Donnington has a new butcher in town, and he’s determined to make a better impression than the previous owner.
The owner of James & Son Butchers and Donnington Butchers, who used to operate from the building, ended up in court with a subsequent ban from running a food business in June 2011.
James Congdon, who ran the companies, pleaded guilty at Chichester Crown Court to four food and hygiene offences, after environmental health officers found he had been selling raw and cooked meat together, selling out-of-date meat and had unsatisfactory levels of bacteria in the premises.
But Victor May is determined not to let the reputation of the building in Stockbridge Road ruin his good name as a butcher for over 50 years.
“I have a good reputation myself, people know me and I look after my customers,” he said.
“I have previously run the Parsonage Farm Shop in Barnham for 17 years, and a tea room in the Barnham Windmill.”
He has opened the new shop May’s of Stockbridge Family Butcher and has competely turned the place around: Chichester District Council gave the new butchers a five-star hygiene rating.
Mr May said: “The five-star hygiene grade reflects the hard work we have put into our startup, by changing equipment and operating in a different manner, a safe and clean environment for our customers to shop.
“I have been a butcher for over 50 years, and have had shops in Barnham, Brighton and Petworth.”
They also intend to buy all their meat from the best West Sussex farms, including the Petworth Estate, Goodwood Estate and surrounding farms and businesses. Mr May has a particular interest in free-range rare breed meat and wants to make sure his customers get the best quality locally-sourced meat.
He said: “I support local farmers that have rare breed animals as I want to ensure quality for my customers, and rare breed free-range meat is second to none. If you want to buy meat for the best taste then this is the way to go.”
There are also plans to start up a new butchery school at the shop starting in September. Courses will be either three-hour evening courses or longer full-day courses where people can learn the basics of butchery including French trimming, gutting a chicken, and dealing with different cuts of meat.
He will run a basic butchery cutting skills class which will cover the cutting of beef, pork, lamb and venison, and de-boning many different cuts, as well as a sausage-making module. There will also be a class that deals with curing bacon and gammon, salami and other cured meats and the drying and cold smoking some of the products. Storing and defrosting meat, cooking hints, and equipment advice will also be given on each module.
Evening courses will cost £90 plus VAT, and full day courses will be £150 plus VAT, and learners will be able to take the meat they work on home with them.
Mr May said: “The school will be run for amateur food lovers that simply want to know how to be chefs and want to learn some new techniques.
“I am also looking for people who want to learn butchery on an ongoing basis, who could have the opportunity to work in the shop and get some invaluable training.”
Contact Victor May on 01243 786843 or visit www.maysbutchers.co.uk