We’re absolutely delighted to be adding a few new tutors to the Vale House Kitchen family this year, the first of which is Steven Lamb, River Cottage’s curing and smoking expert. Steven will be leading our first Smoking & Curing Masterclass on April 22nd, teaching you not only to preserve meats but to deepen and intensify their flavours, using traditional techniques. Ahead of that first class, we thought it was time you got to know Steven a little better…
Steven has been a key part of River Cottage from the very beginning, first coming on board as an IT expert when River Cottage’s TV career began, and then spending five years as an unofficial apprentice to Ray Smith, a butcher working with River Cottage at the time, from whom he learnt all about smoking and curing. These days Steven himself is River Cottage’s expert in the field, having authored the award-winning Curing & Smoking Handbook, as well as teaching on the subject for many years and representing River Cottage in the UK, abroad and online.
Everyone who meets Steven remarks on what a thoroughly nice bloke he is – which is part of what makes him a great tutor. He’s keen to inspire confidence in anyone who takes his courses, empowering people to take the techniques home to their own kitchens, so even if you’ve never tried curing before (or you’re apprehensive about bringing home the bacon!) we still think you’ll love his Smoking & Curing Masterclass.
Steven also shares a lot of the values that we at Vale House hold dear – he’s passionate about reducing food waste, about using the best ingredients and about traditional techniques, which not only give the most delicious results but can in the case of charcuterie, as is true of many foods, make it better for you. Commercial factory methods have led to worries about the presence of nitrates and other nasties in mass-produced charcuterie, and although opinions still differ about how much of a concern this should be, making your own with small-scale techniques means a more natural product.
So if you love a good bacon sandwich of a morning, or a lovely charcuterie platter with a cold beer, and you’ve always fancied a go at doing it yourself, check out our upcoming Smoking & Curing Masterclasses – you’ll be learning from the best!