Young butcher swaps the City for a career in meat
Robert Unwin gave up a career in insurance to retrain as a butcher and is now opening his own ‘nose to tail’ shop in Cumbria.
Having been raised on a north Lancashire smallholding, Unwin was aware of the county’s heritage of passionate farmers, family-owned abattoirs and fine grazing.
While working in insurance in London, he was often disappointed by the quality of the meat served in many restaurants there. Unwin became ‘increasingly obsessed’ with the idea that meat could vary significantly from animal to animal, much like fine wine.
At the age of 25, Unwin left his 9-5 job behind and returned to the north to retrain as a butcher. Over the last three years he has worked in five different butchers’ shops across the region, learning his craft.
This was followed by nine months of visiting farmers across Cumbria to carry out research, before launching his ‘everything but the moo’ butcher’s shop, Roast Mutton, in Kendal’s Woolpack Yard this month.
‘’We’ve chosen to take an animal for our own nourishment, so absolutely nothing should go to waste,” he said. “Ultimately the entire process should be about respect for that animal. The skill of the butcher is a determining factor in that process and Roast Mutton is all about that.
“It’s about a meticulous approach to helping customers understand where their meat has come from, that way they can determine the quality of what they are eating, and more importantly they are also supporting local farms who in turn support their local communities.’’
Roast Mutton will supply customers with locally reared heritage and rare breed grass fed beef, lamb and mutton, as well as pork, poultry and local game, and a selection of wines. In time Unwin intends to host tastings and butchery masterclasses at the shop.