A local smokehouse that started life by using a wardrobe to create its products has made a national breakthrough with a new contract to supply a top hotel chain.
Award-winning chef Rob Talbot, 28, and his business partner, Stephen Williamson, 51, founded the Lune Valley Smokehouse, near Arkholme last May.
They began by using an old, disused wardrobe from the 17th-Century Redwell Inn that they run, to smoke their fish.
And now they secured a deal with hotel chain Shire Hotels on the back of their relationship with Total Foodservice Solutions, a fourth generation Clitheroe-based family business that delivers more than 4,000 product lines, including chef’s ingredients and ambient foods, to kitchens across the UK.
With operations in the Ribble Valley and in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, it has built up a strong relationship with quality food producers across rural Lancashire.
The deal marks a major move for Rob and Stephen, showcasing their products to a national audience in restaurants across the country.
As well as fish, the Lune Valley Smokehouse produces quality smoked meats, cheeses and oils.
Mr Talbot said: “I got involved in smoking foods as it was something I’ve always had an interest in as a chef.
“We began using a wardrobe from the inn to smoke fish.
“It really was a case of trial and error, seeing what worked and what didn’t.
“People really seem to enjoy what we can produce and it has grown and developed from there really.
“We are inventive and try as many new things as we can to create quality smoked food for the table.”
The business partners source most of their produce locally from Lancashire farms.
Maria Moriarty Eames, brand and marketing director at Total Foodservice Solutions, said: “We have a long relationship with Shire Inns and this deal for Lune Valley Smokehouse produce is another extension of that.
“We heard a lot about the work Rob was doing at Lune Valley Smokehouse, so we decided to go along to the Taste Lancashire event and take a look and we were impressed by the quality and range of the produce.”
The Taste Lancashire Produce events are part of a programme to raise the profile of high quality food producers in rural Lancashire spearheaded by Marketing Lancashire.
They are part of the Food Connect programme, run by Marketing Lancashire with funding support from the Rural Development Programme for England.