Aubrey Allen: the chef’s butcher

This little butchers in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire has been going since the 1930s, and today its simple mission to source and prepare the best meat in the world makes it a favourite with Michelin-starred chefs. Watch our video to find out more.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

‘It isn’t complex – we ethically source the best product. We cut it in the best way, having spent a lot of time educating our butchers and pass it on preferably to chefs that really know what they’re doing.’ That’s how Peter Allen sums up his butchery business. It sounds easy, but there are a surprisingly large number of butchers that don’t follow this simple rule. Perhaps that’s why Aubrey Allen regularly wins all sorts of plaudits, including Butcher’s Shop of the Year in 2012 and Britain’s Best Butchers Shop 2016. It’s also probably why many of the UK’s Michelin-starred chefs choose Aubrey Allen as their meat supplier.

The business has been going since 1933, and in the 1970s had shops all across Coventry. Today, however, the setup is smaller and more focused, with a traditional butcher’s shop and delicatessen in Leamington Spa for the public, a restaurant – Oscar’s French Bistro – elsewhere in town, a little café next door for quick bites (Aubrey Allez) and the wholesale side of the business which supplies over 400 professional chefs across the UK.

One of those chefs is Luke Tipping of Simpsons in Edgbaston, Birmingham. He’s been working with Aubrey Allen for twenty-four years because they know where to source the best products. The team there know that while it’s always nice to champion local produce, if they can find better quality elsewhere then that’s where they’ll go. And when it comes to beef, Ireland is one of the places Peter says is top of the list.

‘The Irish are famous for having what they call a ‘soft day’ – a day of continuous drizzle,’ he explains. ‘It’s not too good if you want to lie on a beach and get a sun tan, but it’s wonderful if you’ve got four legs and the thing you like eating is lush, green grass.’ Aubrey Allen brings the meat to the UK and then butchers it all in-house, using a technique known as seam butchery which ensures clean, flavourful cuts that look as good as they taste.