Producer of the Month: Matthew Fort, Mr Trotter's Great British Pork Crackling
Matthew Fort is a British food writer, broadcaster, critic and judge on BBC2's Great British Menu, now in its eighth series. Celebrated for his brilliant Around Britain with a fork and Fort for Food columns for The Guardian, he is also one of the four founders of Mr Trotters Great British Pork Crackling. His co-founders are fellow food-writer Tom Parker Bowles, Cotswold farmer Rupert Ponsonby and pork scratching producer Graham Jebb of RayGray Snacks.
Fort, Parker Bowles and Ponsonby initially came up with the idea of “doing for pork scratchings what Kettle Chips did for potato crisps” in a pub. When they approached scratching producer Graham Jebb to create their concept, he was working on a similar idea but using Danish rind. As supporters of British farmers they saw it as an opportunity to re-create the great British snack using truly British ingredients. 99 per cent of pork scratchings sold in the UK are made with Danish pork. Mr Trotter's uses crackling cooked from 100% British pork. There is no added MSG and it is cooked by hand in small batches using a longer process in the oven, as opposed to frying, to deliver a crisper crunch.
Matthew, himself, began writing about food for The Guardian in 1989 and was the paper's food and drink editor for fifteen years. He is also the author of some award-winning books including the brilliant Rhubarb and Black Pudding, about the traditional foods of Lancashire. He has been Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year, Restaurant Writer of the Year and Cookery Writer of the Year.
In March 2010, three years before the horse meat scandal that now engulfs us, he wrote “The contemporary model of market-driven capitalism has created monsters that governments can no longer control… food companies which can thumb their noses at standards and regulations. We have been bribed by the false promise of cheap food, we have acquiesced in the name of convenience.”
To read Matthew's blog, Fort on Food click here.
- What do you enjoy most about producing pork crackling?
- What do you enjoy the least?
Discovering there aren't any left in the packet.
- Why should we buy British pork?
Because it tastes better. British pigs are raised to higher welfare standards than pigs from elsewhere and we should support British farmers for the sake of their pigs.
- What achievement are you most proud of?
Launching Mr Trotter's Great British Pork Crackling
- What are your predictions for the future of British food?
It will continue getting better.
- If you were Prime Minister what would you do to encourage more people to buy British?
Start in schools - make cooking a major part of the school curriculum; teach cooking based on local ingredients in schools; make school meals based on local ingredients free; invest more in their quality and limit choice.
- Best budget tip?
Eat better, eat less.
- If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food?
You deserve better. You deserve British.
- What other British food producers do you rate?
Where do I stop… ? Locally to me, Madgetts poultry; Hobbs Bakery; Days Cottage apple juices, cider and perry; Brinkworth Dairy B=butter and cream.
Further afield… Goosnargh poultry; Aspall's cider and cider vinegar; Peter Gott's Cumberland sausage; Montgomery's Cheddar; Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread; Toffee Shop in Penrith and on and on.
- What's on the menu this evening?
Braised sweetbreads with carrots; Jonathan Crumps Double Gloucester; compote of dried figs, prunes, apricots, cranberries and raisins.
- How can people get hold of your produce?
You can buy directly from us via our website. We are also stocked in Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, Booths Supermarkets, Majestic Wine Store, Fullers Pubs and a growing number of pubs, farm shops and delis.