Jonathan Cuddy, founder of Ispini Charcuterie
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m the founder of Ispini Charcuterie. Married to Sarah and daddy to Eryn, Will and Hope.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE?
I am typically in charge of production of our charcuterie products. This involves curing, mincing, fermenting and drying the pork and beef into the different salamis and whole muscle products we produce. My sister Janice controls when the charcuterie is ready to harvest and getting the products ready for despatch. I also help with our charcuterie and cheese shop in Moira, under the care of my wife Sarah. In amongst production and the shop, I also work part time in agri sales.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
It has to be winning the Great Taste Golden Fork for Best Charcuterie Product. Ispini was in its infancy and to win such an important award was very much an overwhelming experience for Janice, Sarah and myself. It validated what Ispini was trying to achieve and put us on the ‘map’.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I always enjoy watching customer’s reactions especially when they taste our products for the first time. It’s such a nice feeling to watch someone enjoy our charcuterie after the huge amount of time taken to produce it.
I am also a bit of a geek about fermentation – I love experimenting with different starter cultures and moulds to create new flavours.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK?
As charcuterie is such a slow product to produce, the most difficult task has always been trying to forecast production up to a year in advance. Some pieces such as bresaola require two months curing and up six months drying time. It’s not a process which can be rushed, or extra product becomes suddenly available.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
‘Remember why you started the business’ – especially in a tough week its nice to remember the dream of creating a quality piece of food, helps to refocus your efforts.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE?
I always complain about hand tying salamis but at the same time enjoy their artisan look.
WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE?
Some DIY skills or the ability to multitask.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/AMBITIONS?
To keep growing the business throughout Ireland and keep creating pieces of charcuterie that reflect our own food heritage – I love digging through old newspapers, finding old recipes and trying to create something modern from them.
WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE?
Probably the North Coast here in Northern Ireland, otherwise I would love to be driving a combine harvester again in the Canadian prairies.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT?
Anything with chocolate!
HOW DO YOU RELAX?
Target shooting, xbox or watching a movie with my wife and kids.