By Susie Anderson, East Coast Cured.
Husband and wife team, Susie and Steven Anderson, grew up together in 90s Edinburgh. Their teenage selves would never have imagined that 20 years later they would be running an award-winning, and Edinburgh’s first, charcuterie company. But that’s exactly what happened. In 2017 they launched East Coast Cured, a family charcuterie company specialising in the production of dry-cured Scottish meats.
East Coast Cured celebrates the very best of Scottish produce, sourcing meats directly from local farms, to create a range of outstanding Scottish charcuterie. In their short time in business they have worked with some of Edinburgh’s best chefs and picked up a number of awards for their products. Food has always played a central role in Susie & Steven’s relationship. Steven living in the South of France, and extensive travel in Europe, gave them a taste for real artisan cured meats. They had always been frustrated at the quality of charcuterie you could find at home, despite the wealth of high-quality local produce.
Steven’s love of food led to him becoming a passionate home-brewer before gaining employment at one of Edinburgh’s first craft breweries at the beginning of the Scottish craft beer revolution. This experience compounded his passion for flavour and recipe development and saw him grow his knowledge of craft production. An engineering qualification later led to him becoming Production Manager at a large Edinburgh distillery where he was able to gain experience at the opposite end of the production spectrum, with a company that puts out around 1,000,000 litres of alcohol a day.
Susie’s background is in textile and fashion design, social enterprise and small business management. While Steven was honing his production skills, Susie was running a commercial gallery in central Edinburgh on behalf of a local charity. Although Susie and Steven’s backgrounds are completely different, their combined skills come together perfectly to run a business together.
Susie and Steven had always discussed the possibility of starting a family business and flirted with the idea of a brewery back at the beginning of the Scottish craft beer revolution. Timing, finance and starting a family meant that this never came to fruition and instead Steven was able to focus on developing his knowledge of commercial production. After a family holiday with a lot of discussion around the lack of quality local charcuterie available in Scotland, Steven decided to convert the eaves of their Leith family home into an environmentally controlled ‘curing chamber’, started conversations with local farmers and began developing recipes. What was initially very much a hobby quickly became something the Andersons felt could be the family business they’d been dreaming of.
East Coast Cured produces a large range of traditional, and contemporary, salamis and whole muscles using methods from the best of European tradition from their shop in Leith. At their shop and production site they cut, ferment, smoke, cure and slow-mature all of their products by hand, with their small, but dedicated team.
Humidity and air circulation are crucial to getting meat curing right. Keeping the correct humidity constant as fresh salamis come in and cured ones go out is a real challenge. Thankfully the Andersons had a few years of learning under their belt from curing in the eaves of their attic at home. Although the equipment they use in the shop to achieve this is obviously more industrial in nature, the principles are more or less the same so they were able to hit the ground running in that respect. One area you can’t cut corners on of course is safety. The equipment they use to confirm that every batch is 100% safe has to be checked regularly to ensure it is accurate. At home, of course, they relied on more artisan techniques to ensure products were safe but commercial production, even on a very small scale, has to conform to the highest standards. Thankfully, as UK charcuterie producers grow in number the quality and availability of information on safe and accepted good practice has also improved dramatically so if top quality local charcuterie is your thing the future is looking very bright indeed.
East Coast Cured’s small team is obsessed with food. Steven heads up the production and compliance side of the business, with support from former baker and chef, Joe Herzberg, in the kitchen. Susie and their shop manager, Sorina Savascu look after everything from the products being ready to ‘harvest”, through testing, packing and sales.
Coincidentally Steven and Susie have launched their product at a time when Scotland’s food and drink industry is growing significantly. Consumers have more of an appetite for shopping locally and seem to have more of an interest in the provenance of their food purchases. People are more concerned about how the way they shop impacts on the environment.
So what next for East Coast Cured? Susie and Steven are working to continue to grow the business, allowing more people, at home and abroad, to experience the East Coast Cured range. Perhaps they can even help put Scotland on the global map as a contender in high quality charcuterie products.
With thanks to Susie and Steven Anderson, Owners and Founders of East Coast Cured