If you’re a restaurant chef, Philip Warren is a name you’re likely to recognise. The Cornish butchers and graziers have, in their time, attracted custom from the country’s biggest figures in food. Most recently, for instance, they were cited in the Observer Food Monthly awards – the Soho institution Blacklock sources Warren meat for, as OFM deems it, the country’s best Sunday roast.
To label Philip Warren as one of the godfathers of butchery wouldn’t go amiss. Originally started up in 1880 by a WW Davey, the business went through ‘five or six’ family generations, Philip tells me, before it came under the Warren name. Forty years later, Philip Warren and son Ian are carrying out much the same practices their predecessors did over 100 years ago.
‘We farm only on Bodmin Moor,’ says Philip, who looks after things on the live animal side. ‘The latest pasture fad is something that’s been going on forever. But so many people have dropped out of it because it’s not efficient. It’s probably the least efficient you can get.’
So why’s that? ‘Bodmin Moor,’ says Philip, ‘is the worst, wettest upland in the country. So what we do is we have a multitude of breeds – Shorthorn, Galloway, Red Dun, Blue Grays. We call them Heinz 57s, because they’re every crossbreed you can imagine. These cattle have a natural tick resistance (tick bites being potentially fatal to cattle) which allows them to survive on the moor. Because of that we can keep the cows out twelve months a year.’