Having lived on the Fish Quay in North Shields in the north east of England for many years, I was aware of how historically important the fishing industry had been to the economy of the area, & the contribution the traditional smoke houses made to that industry. In fact in 1883, there were 11 smokehouses along the river working flat out. The ‘70’s saw big changes, namely with the reductions in fishing quotas, & the fishing industry, & the area suffered a drastic decline.
I was lucky to live & work on the continent from 2001, & travelled extensively for eight years, and it was when I was in France that I came across smoked sea salt for the first time. The enhancement that it gave to food was amazing, & I was hooked.
Returning to live back in North Shields, I found great difficulty getting hold of smoked sea salt, & when I could get it, it was quite expensive & certainly not as good as the French salt. And then the penny dropped…
Sitting (thankfully) in a bar on the Fish Quay, I started talking with the owner of one of only two surviving smokehouses, arranged to visit his premises, & began learning about the smoking process. From there, we produced a small amount, & then tested it out with some of the top chefs in the area. Their feedback helped perfect the smoked sea salt range that we produce today. And in the autumn of 2012, we developed our smoked peppercorns, & smoked garlic bulbs in the same manner.
Our latest range is that of smoked flavoured oils, & we are working on a “bespoke smoke service”, where we offer a smoking service to individual restaurants & industry. I keep threatening to change our logo from “Creative Cuisine” to “We smoke anything”… but that might get us the wrong kind of attention!