6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Why do the top chefs love Pugh’s Piglets in Garstang?

PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 July 2016

Porcetta

Porcetta

H Forman and Son

Some of the world’s best chefs want suckling pigs and porchetta from Lancashire on their menus, as Emma Mayoh discovered.

Richard and Bernadette Pugh Richard and Bernadette Pugh

It’s a calling card of high profile names any food producer would envy. Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsay, Antony Worrall Thompson and Aldo Zilli are just some of the celebrated chefs that Pugh’s Piglets, near Garstang, have been able to call customers. Add to that Andrew Nutter and Paul Heathcote locally and you start to get the picture of how revered the family’s businesses reputation is.

‘We’ve worked hard,’ said Richard Pugh, partner in the family business. ‘People know that they are going to get quality from us because we make sure we only have the highest quality piglets.

‘But it does get funny sometimes. My mum once answered the phone and it was Gary Rhodes asking for us to supply him. She thought it was someone winding her up. It took her a while to realise it really was him. We’ve had some really famous chefs take our products as well as eat them. We supply The Goring in London and The Queen goes there. She has had our suckling pig.’

Pugh’s Piglets was first founded more than half a century ago, in 1965, by Richard’s parents Barry and Gillian Pugh. Barry was a pig farmer but as prices started to rise in the sixties, he started to look at other options. It was Gillian who came up with the idea of trying out suckling pigs. And the business soon mushroomed.

Pugh's Piglets Pugh's Piglets

‘My dad started supplying to Chinatown in Manchester,’ said Richard. ‘And then he went to Birmingham and then to London. It took off really quickly. My dad was driving an MGB and I remember going to London with him with piglets all around me. It’s one of my first memories. Then we upgraded to a Ford Cortina until eventually we got a wagon. It was a bit like Reg Johnson did. Just went off down to London and we’ve built it up from there.’

Barry and Gillian, although still involved in the business, have taken a step back and Richard, along with wife Bernadette, have taken the reins. When Richard joined the family business as a teenager, fresh out of school, he thought he was in for an easy ride. Not a bit of it.

‘I was the typical teenager,’ said the 40-year-old. ‘I thought I would get all of the cushy jobs because I was the boss’s son. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I got all of the worst jobs. I’d been on work experience just before this, at a farm, when I had to skin and cut off the feet of rabbits.

‘Then I came back to the family business and I was sent to work at the slaughterhouse. My next job was to clean out the intestines of the pigs. I’d thought it would be easy. I gradually got promoted. I realised I had to do things properly. My dad really pushed me but he also opened my eyes and made me realise I had to put the hours in.’

Giovanni Miticheccia Giovanni Miticheccia

And Richard survived. Today, Pugh’s Piglets sell whole boned suckling pig, spring lamb which they source from North Wales, sausages including a Sicilian and Sardinian variety. But their real speciality, loved by chefs, is their porchetta. It was developed by their resident chef and Italian, Giovanni Miticheccia, who has worked for Pugh’s for over 20 years. He has taken his knowledge gained growing up in Rome and his skill to produce this tasty cut of meat, which is made into medallions. They do a traditional variety, based on the Rome region’s style of porchetta. It is lined with fresh rosemary, fresh garlic, bay leave and salt and pepper. Each roll feeds between eight to ten people.

The pigs are reared on farms across the country including in Bretherton, Parbold, Kirkham and Skelmersdale. All of the animals are brought to the family farm site at Bowgreave where they are prepared and dressed, ready to be sent out to customers. They source around 250 to 300 piglets a week to supply many establishments including Ribby Hall, Gibbon Bridge, Toll House in Lancaster, Manchester’s TNQ Restaurant and The White Bull in Alston. They work with old breeds like Tamworths and Saddlebacks.

They are served up and down the country. But the bulk of their business is in the capital where their pork is served at The Savoy, The Ivy and The Goring. They also supply high end retailer Forman and Field. But you’ll never find their products in a supermarket aisle.

‘We don’t want to water down or dilute our products’ said Richard. ‘It’s not giving any respect to the product and recognising how good it is.

Pugh's Piglets Pugh's Piglets

‘Chefs love our products and that says a lot for how good quality they are. We’re very proud of what we do and we don’t want anything to change that.

The business has raised some eyebrows by those who don’t agree with selling piglets as food. But valves from some of their pigs have gone onto be used for a medical purpose.

‘Some of our pigs have saved lives,’ said Richard. ‘Their valves have been used for transplants and we’re very pleased that we’ve been able to help in this way. Of course some people don’t agree with what we do. But there is this other side to it also.’

A new chapter is emerging for the family business now. Richard and Bernadette have plans to move the business from the family farm to a special unit nearby.

‘It’s about taking the next step,’ said Richard. ‘We’re in the process of selling the land here and we hope we’ve found a site just down the road.

‘It’s time to move on from here now and start the next part of the Pugh’s Piglets story.’

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Mon, 17:47

Kids eat free every Sunday from 12 - 2 pm at The Feilden’s Arm Mellor Brook.

Read more
Mon, 17:04

Join The Feilden’s Arms at Mellor Brook for their steak night every Thursday from 5pm.

Read more
Mon, 12:36

Tea for two every Wednesday from 5pm at The Feilden’s Arms Mellor Brook.

Read more
Mon, 11:34

Pie and Pud for just £15 all day every Tuesday.

Read more
Friday, May 18, 2018

Our prestigious Food and Drink Awards return this October, and we want your nominations to help find out who is the cream of the crop.

Read more
Friday, May 18, 2018

We have five copies of The Lakes and Cumbria Cook Book for readers.

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Afternoon tea has grown in popularity as a summer pastime, here are a selection of some of the best on offer across the North West.

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

20 Stories in Spinningfields is Manchester’s newest restaurant to see and be seen in. Janet Reeder went along to check out what chef Aiden Byrne is up to now.

Read more
Manchester Restaurants Spinningfields
Monday, May 14, 2018

Baristas around the country can’t get enough of a special milk produced on a family-run dairy farm in Farleton. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Friday, May 11, 2018

A series of projects looks like turning a very good Lakeland hotel into a great one

Read more
Windermere
Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Cartford Inn chef Chris Bury loves scouring Lancashire’s countryside and coast to find the best foraged food. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

After more than 30 years Andrew and Belinda Wilkinson are back behind the bar at the Lunesdale Arms. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Pubs and Bars
Friday, May 4, 2018

The Titanic Hotel’s beautiful restaurant Stanley’s Bar and Grill has unveiled its new spring menu and you can expect seasonal produce and spring flavours to suit all palettes

Read more
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Michelin star chef Hrishikesh Desai has been in search of the best spices and foods in India. Now he is shining a light on these special ingredients as part of a special project. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search