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Uncle Beef's Story

Family owned and run

Well Steve, a true Springbok Supporter, has always been excited about Fire, Sport and Meat. So much in fact, he was always found next to a Braai, watching sport, cooking and feeding people meat. So, one day his nephew said “Hey, Uncle Beef, what you got cooking this week?”There are no truer words than those from a child’s mouth!

Steve was born in South Africa and departed when he was 18 years old with his love for rugby, meat, Braai’s and South African specialities ingrained in his DNA. When Steve arrived in the UK in 2003 with only £500 to pay rent and find a job, there was little amount left for homemade treats to lessen the feelings of home sickness.

With limited establishments in the UK producing quality South African produce, Steve started to explore his own methods of meat drying following the same footsteps of his late Grandfather, Alan Livens, that had a “Chippy” in Umkomaas (South of Durban). Alan was an Englishman that served as a chef in the Merchant Navy and sadly, Alan is now surfing the waves in heaven, but his memory lives on with the methods of food making and home produce that have been passed down through two generations. Without Alan Livens we wouldn’t be here? Cheers ALAN.

We know our farmers

We only source the best quality products

We are passionate artisan butchers

We know our customers and offer free advice

We use heritage breeds

Our farmers hand pick our meats weekly

Oliver’s Comments

“I would like to thank Steve ,the Uncle Beef legend, for giving me this chance to re-train in an industry I have been very fond of for years. I rolled to the shop during furlough to buy some meat for my BBQ cooks, and I was blown away with the quality of the care, attention and quality of the products Uncle Beef was providing. The next thing I knew my circumstances had changed drastically and here I am loving life working for what I feel is the most out there, artisan butchers in the South east. Onwards and upwards.”

Steve’s comments:

“Oliver joined uncle beef in November 2020 after being made redundant from his job in the printing industry the previous month after 6 months on furlough, he served print for half of his life, 22 years. So a big career change was called for and as of August 2021 Oliver is half way through his level two qualification with M.E.A.T Ipswich to become a qualified butcher which is very exciting for us here at Uncle Beef  and also with the ambition to become a qualified Master Butcher, one of approximately 30 within the UK.

Ollie also had a hand, working very closely with Steve helping create the menu for the street food business which he is very proud of, and won’t mind telling you . Delightfully nicknamed ‘Off Cut’ by the legend Ced who owns the Dukes head pub across the road from our shop. Ollie is also a shareholder of Uncle Beef Ltd and I am a firm believer in investing in people long term that have the same attributes as myself . Who knew this awful pandemic could actually bring a good news story and throw us together to grow the business together.

Steve Livens

Founder Director

BA (HONS) Business & Management , IOSH Health & Safety & Risk Assessment, Level 2&3 Food Hygiene.

Born in South Africa , Steve came to the English shores at the age of 18 . He spent 17 years working in the city within the Security Industry and achieved an honours Degree in Business and Management. 

 However, Steve’s real passion is food, mainly meat and outdoor cooking, on fire (Braai ). Steve has been making Biltong, Droëwors/Drywors and Boerewors for the last 18 years and has been working on different recipes and spice mixes since 2003. 

“ I am a devoted Springbok supporter and can be found playing tennis and golf occasionally to keep my hand. On days off ,I try and spend as much time with my two very active boys (Spencer & Stanley).”

Oliver’s Comments

“I would like to thank Steve ,the Uncle Beef legend, for giving me this chance to re-train in an industry I have been very fond of for years. I rolled to the shop during furlough to buy some meat for my BBQ cooks, and I was blown away with the quality of the care, attention and quality of the products Uncle Beef was providing. The next thing I knew my circumstances had changed drastically and here I am loving life working for what I feel is the most out there, artisan butchers in the South east. Onwards and upwards.”

Ollie Caddock

Shop Manager & Head Butcher

Level 2 Food Hygiene , First Aid trained & Level 2-Standards of butchery (In progress)

Oliver had been working within the print industry for the last 22 years, for the last  7 years of that he was employed by a family run, ‘Large Format,’ print company in North London. Oliver worked his way up to Account Management but a recent redundancy due to the Covid-19 pandemic broke the camel’s (or in this case) cow’s back.

Unfortunately, for Oliver this was his third redundancy in 22 years and these redundancies were always due to circumstances beyond his control. With these unsteady times in print he decided to change his career from Print Master to Qualified Butcher with the help of Uncle Beef LTD.

Steve’s comments:

“Oliver joined uncle beef in November 2020 after being made redundant from his job in the printing industry the previous month after 6 months on furlough, he served print for half of his life, 22 years. So a big career change was called for and as of August 2021 Oliver is half way through his level two qualification with M.E.A.T Ipswich to become a qualified butcher which is very exciting for us here at Uncle Beef  and also with the ambition to become a qualified Master Butcher, one of approximately 30 within the UK.

Ollie also had a hand, working very closely with Steve helping create the menu for the street food business which he is very proud of, and won’t mind telling you . Delightfully nicknamed ‘Off Cut’ by the legend Ced who owns the Dukes head pub across the road from our shop. Ollie is also a shareholder of Uncle Beef Ltd and I am a firm believer in investing in people long term that have the same attributes as myself . Who knew this awful pandemic could actually bring a good news story and throw us together to grow the business together.

Louise Lewis

Butcher Assistant & PA to Steve

Erika Caddock

Butcher Assistant & PA to Ollie

Level 2 Food Hygiene, First Aid trained.

Erika, much like Ollie, is also in a career change having spent the last four years at a PRU (pupil referral unit) as a progress coach looking after troubled teens. She was very enthusiastic with the kids and keen to help young people make the right choices. However this type of job only has a certain shelf life and can be quite stressful, so she decided to swap teaching and restraining for Meat and keeping Ollie (her husband and partner in crime) in check. It’s great to have her on board as she thrives in this environment, her nickname, coined by Steve is ‘turbo’, which is an indication of her ability to get things done and quickly hehe.

Bradley Cowup

Logistics Co-ordinator

After trying Biltong on his first visit to Uncle Beef, Bradley became a regular customer and got to know Steve and Ollie well. When the pair were looking for a delivery driver, Bradley, who has been out of work for a couple of years, jumped at the chance. He spends his days delivering meat and Biltong around London and Kent and is an integral part of the Uncle Beef family.

Did you know…

During the summer 2020…

We had a famous tuba player working in our shop to help with demand. We are very grateful to have had Jonny however he is now doing what he does best – playing the tuba!

Jonathan (Jonny) Rees has been a professional tuba player for over twenty years. He plays with most of the professional symphony, chamber and opera orchestras in the UK. and has been in the bands for the critically acclaimed West End shows ‘Chicago- the musical’, ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ and ‘The Boyfriend’. When not lurking near an overly large brass instrument, Jonny loves cooking the wide range of quality produce from Uncle Beef for his family. Jonny is currently on the UK. and international tour of ‘Chicago- the musical’

Our Locations

We set out with a straightforward mission

We have a small shop in Crayford, which is filled with the delicious aroma of fresh Biltong and Droewors from our dryers, rather than the traditional smells you’d expect from a butcher’s. However, we are currently negotiating a lease on a larger property. Bring on Christmas 2021!

Following a trial of our Street food offering in the Crayford Arms (opposite our shop), we decided to embark on a new venture and purchased a second hand trailer late July. Our passion for cooking outdoor with our quality meats had to carry on and Steve and Ollie have completely different ways of cooking and the two cooking methods and different flavours combined was a winner from day 1 . In early August 2021, we took on our first official festival and before we know it we were fully booked for the month of August. As future festivals start coming up ,we are definitely making a name for ourselves, and people are talking about us. We have also been asked to cater for private parties and have a feeling that these two combinations of catering will only keep growing.

Some more about us

Memberships

We pride ourselves in being the best in our field and have the following memberships

National Craft Butchers Association

National Catering Association

The Institute of Meat

Suppliers

We are very fortunate to have great suppliers that fully understand our passion and quality of meat that we require weekly. Our beef is handpicked in Scotland and so is our lamb, pork & poultry from our alternative supplier. We have only just recently met our farmers face to face at a meat festival in London and it was great to feel the connection for three things we had in common; meat, fire, and having a good time. Our partnerships are very strong and we are confident that they will continue to go from strength to strength as we grow the business.

Since working with Steve and the team at Uncle Beef, we quickly learned that they are looking for a very specific type of beef. Through constant communication and feedback we managed to fine tune our selection process to ensure the quality was consistent every single week. We focus on 2 particular farms – J. Brown of Gaindykehead Farm in Airdrie and B. Capper of Auchans Farm in Johnstone when selecting beef for Uncle Beef. At these particular farms, the cattle are fed the right amount of grass to give them the rich yellow fat colour with plenty of marbling that gives Uncle Beef’s product the unique flavoured steaks as well as their incredible biltong!

Jason Ward – John Scott Meat

Longcroft & Old Ltd.

Supplier / Partner

Longcroft and Old Ltd is an established meat wholesaler/retailer within London’s iconic Smithfield market, at the heart of the city.

Stocking a wide range of high quality beef including Scotch PGI dry aged beef, pork, lamb, game & poultry.

We pride ourselves upon quality and service to accompany our high quality produce, sourced only from the finest suppliers by our experienced salesman and buyers.

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