The man behind the meat – An interview with Gerald David
PUBLISHED: 10:41 12 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:26 20 February 2013
Somerset Life meets Master Butcher, Gerald David, who started his renowned chain of shops across the region, over 40 years ago.
Gerald David started his business, Gerald David and Family, with his wife Jenny in Somerset more than 40 years ago with a float of just 17, a rented wooden bungalow with no proper facilities and some meat on credit. Since then he and his family have built Gerald David and Family to what it is today, with nine shops, a thriving mail order and online delivery business and their own abattoir.
Although Gerald has taken a step back from the day-to-day business, entrusting it to the next two generations of the David family, he still makes regular spot checks at all the shops to ensure his high standards are being met and can often be seen in the Minehead shop, which is close to his home near the familys abattoir in Porlock, Somerset. Here Gerald chats about what the family business means to him and how its changed over the years.
What does it mean to you to see your family running the business you started over four decades ago?
Im very proud of my family and think theyre doing a fantastic job. In a trade like ours you have to keep modernizing to make sure youre fully compliant with all the regulations and quality standards but at the same time weve managed to stay true to our original values. Its important that Gerald David and Family is known for producing excellent quality meat backed by superb customer service and my sons Alastair and Philip, their wives Becky and Kelly, my daughter Lorraine and her sons Reggie and Alfie are doing a fantastic job in making sure these values continue as we grow. Im truly passionate about the business remaining in the family and see a very bright future for everyone involved.
How have things changed since you stared?
Since Jenny and I started the business in a rented bungalow weve grown to have our own shops, we deliver our meat and delicatessen products all over the country and weve even got our own abattoir. Its changed beyond recognition but its absolutely fantastic. Even the vehicles we use to transport the animals to the abattoir are now air conditioned to ensure the highest level of comfort for the animals.
Whats it like working as a master butcher at Christmas?
Its definitely one of our busiest times you could say you need nerves of steel! We take our responsibilities very seriously as thousands of Christmas dinners hinge on us doing our jobs properly and we work very hard to ensure we dont let anybody down. Last year when we had all the snow, the delivery company we use wasnt able to reach some of our customers so we had 10 of our own vans out working through the night to make sure nobody was disappointed on Christmas day! And our service doesnt stop at delivery when our shops shut on Christmas Eve I divert all the phones to my house so if a customer needs something after-hours Im here to help personally. I dont believe you will find this level of commitment or service in many other places.
How will you be spending Christmas and what will you be eating this year?
We usually spend Christmas as a family, as we all live within a few yards of each other. We all muck in by cooking bits of the dinner in our own ovens before sitting down to eat at my house. Im a traditionalist at heart, so we do a big roast turkey as well as a goose and roast beef, with all the trimmings of course. Ive got 10 grandchildren and one more on the way so there are a lot of mouths to feed!
Have you got any top tips for cooking one of your turkeys?
My main tip would be to cook it slowly and thoroughly. Keep checking to see if its cooked and as soon as the juices run clear take it out of the oven, as you dont want it to overcook. Even if this means you take it out earlier than you thought you would, you can always keep it warm and leave it to rest for a little longer.
For more information about Gerald David and Family, visit www.geralddavid.co.uk.