Craving for bangers led former Suffolk chef to break Bangkok market
- Credit: Archant
A former Suffolk chef’s hankering for home comforts has led him to capture the appetite of an unlikely market.
When Joe Sloane failed to find a decent banger in Bangkok, he took matters in to his own hands.
A decade later, what started as a favour to a few expat friends has developed into serious business.
Mr Sloane moved from Felixstowe to the Thai capital when his wife, Katy, found work as an English teacher.
Having trained at Suffolk College while working at Diana Barnard Catering, before plying his trade in London’s Michelin-starred 1 Lombard Street, Mr Sloane found work in the city’s Landmark Hotel, but gave up to be a full-time father when baby Scarlett arrived.
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“I was soon describing myself as a full-time dad and part-time sausage-maker,” he said.
“It started when I made some sausages for a barbecue – as there were no good sausages in Bangkok – and started getting orders from teachers and parents at the school where Katie teaches.”
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Mr Sloane then met the husband and wife owners of leading Thai restaurant, Bo.lan, who helped him find a supplier of ethically reared and slaughtered pigs.
Sloane’s began in a rented five-storey shophouse, which he converted into cold stores, butchery and packing rooms – training a small team of staff and investing in a refrigerated delivery van and motorbikes.
A farm shop followed, and this year, he opened a new factory on the outskirts of the city – and now employs a team of 35.
“When we came to Thailand, I never dreamt I would own my own business, let alone – with other artisan food producers – change the food scene in Bangkok into something more ethical,” he said.
“Our full range of pork and chicken charcuterie, including Suffolk-styled black bacon, is sold in high class restaurants, in Thailand’s leading gourmet supermarkets, and is exported to neighbouring countries.
“Our customers are predominantly expats but include many Thais – usually because they have lived abroad and understand British style meats.”
Sloane’s latest partnership is with Jamie Oliver, who opened his Jamie’s Italian restaurant in the city earlier this year.
“Jamie Oliver is well-known for his extremely high ethical standards and I am really pleased to be working with his team,” said Mr Sloane.