How I Got Here: Struan Robertson

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Provenance Meat Company co-owner Struan Robertson

Related tags: Butcher

The co-owner of The Provenance Meat Company on becoming a butcher, his best and worst business decisions, and why there needs to be more routes to market for small-scale farmers.

Why butchers? 
I love food and love to cook, but I'm no chef. Being a butcher allows me to connect with the farmers and other passionate home cooks. Getting first dibs on killer steaks is a plus too.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Find a moment to relax a little, even when it feels like there isn't any time left in the day.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants?
My wife and I head to Morito in Hackney whenever we have the chance.

What motivates you?
The people around me.

What keeps you up at night?
At the moment, my toddler son.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to your business?
My business partner Tom Gibson. We have run Provenance together from day one, and have shaped each other's approach to everything we do.

Best business decision? 
Not doing wholesale. Retail is what we're best at, so we do it without distraction.

Worst business decision?
We overestimated how much we would sell when we first opened, so lost a lot on having too much perishable stock. We ate well from that mistake, but it really set us back.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business? 
Be a positive influence wherever you are - a 'can-do' attitude and a smile go a long way.

If you could change one thing about the industry supply chain today, what would it be?
It would be a great thing if there were more routes to market for small-scale farmers. So many smallholders invest so much time, effort and heart into their animals, but then end up having no choice but to sell them into large processors, and so those special animals get lost in the mix and end up not being valued or celebrated like they should be.

What time do you wake up?
Six, if I'm lucky.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee please.

How often do you check your email?
Probably too often.

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
Cocktails and dancing - followed by a day on the sofa. 

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
No one dish, but I'm outside cooking on my Big Green Egg no matter the weather.

What was your dream job growing up?
Rock star guitarist - I'm still working on that actually.

Bio

Born in Cambridge, Robertson initially studied History at Liverpool University, and started his career in an advertising agency, working with household name brands to develop their strategies. In 2011, he decided to leave the mad men world behind to follow his passions, and embarked upon a Butchery Diploma at the School of Artisan Food. After a number of internships, he was introduced to Erin Hurst and Tom and Guy Gibson through mutual friends, and they came together to launch Provenance Village Butcher in 2013. Originally head butcher, Robertson has moved into the position of COO, with him and Tom Gibson co-owning the business.

Related topics: People, Profiles

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