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The Real Meat Sausage Co.

The Real Meat Sausage Co

We caught up with NCASS member Paul Molins, owner operator of festival stalwart The Real Meat Sausage Company. The RMSC has been delighting customers at music festivals and events for over 20 years and was one of the first traders to build his business around the quality and provenance of his food.

When did you start the Real Meat Sausage Company? Had you always wanted to be a caterer or did you fall into it?

The Real Meat Sausage Company was started as a partnership in 1989. We were excited by the challenge. Before that, I sold craft products (hand knitted sweaters and wool) at festivals and

Had you always wanted to be a caterer or did you fall into it?

Whilst on Totnes market, I was next to a trader who sold organic farm produce and his sausages were fantastic. He became one of my original suppliers and gave me the idea of selling Real Sausages as opposed to the junk food hot dogs that pervaded the industry at the time. At that time we were pioneers of the decent sausage on the festival circuit. Many have followed since but I think we still have the best. An old catering friend of mine put in a good word for me at some important festivals and got me started.

What food do you serve, can you tell me about your offering?

Having a quality product has been essential to our survival. Real Meat Sausages contain no additives. No GM products, no lips, eyebrows or similar unacceptable meat product; are not made from meat generated by mechanical or centrifugal extraction from carcasses.

Real Meat Sausages are hand-made from proper cuts of meat, usually shoulder. They are made from locally reared, British animals that have 100% traceability from farms that are British Quality Assured Pork and Freedom Food Assured.

Our real mashed potatoes do not come out of a packet, is not reconstituted from powder or made from old cooked jacket potato. It is made on site, by us, from real potatoes that are boiled, then seasoned and mashed.

Real Mash, Real Sausages.

You also have the only potato Rumbler at Glastonbury, so is your mash the freshest? How does using fresh produce affect the quality of your product and your sales?

Rumbling potatoes we have been doing for many years but for the first time in 2013 we started to purchase prepped potatoes, which are simply potatoes that have been rumbled by someone else. There are two reasons for this. Firstly we are only allowed a certain number of staff passes at some of the larger festivals and are unable to even buy additional ones, and not rumbling potatoes frees up one member of staff. Secondly, the amount of waste water is considerable and we have found the disposal of it can cause problems to the festivals.

We were really impressed with your gas set up last time we saw you, how important is gas safety / H&S in your business?

Regarding our gas set up, this was designed by a qualified gas engineering company in accordance with our requirements and with consultation with the gas inspector at Glastonbury.It is important to get professional advice and to know what you are doing.

Note: The Glastonbury Gas engineer Paul mentions, is also the engineer who developed the NCASS recommended gas rig with Bob Fox.

How many events per year do you do on average? How many visits do you get from EHO’s per year, that’s full inspections and spot checks?

RMSC does about 10/12 events per year and we are visited by the EHO almost everywhere we go, but with a couple of notable exceptions.

We always pop over for breakfast at Glastonbury, how does having a strong breakfast offering support your business?

Our breakfast trade is very big at some festivals and is very important to us but we do have the best breakfast on site.

Real Meat Sausage Co

What food do you like to eat at events – or don’t you get much opportunity?

Apart from my food, at events I like to eat Pasta and Mexican.

You’ve been in the event catering game for some time now, do you still enjoy it? What keeps you going? What do you enjoy about it?

I do still enjoy event catering very much, especially if it is working well. However, it is exhausting and I am not getting any younger. I enjoy most of the music at festivals, the camaraderie of my staff. I don’t enjoy the smoke and the grease but it’s part of it.

What are your favourite memories from your time in events, which events are the most fun to work at and why?

Favourite memories include listening to Saint Germain in the Jazz Field at Glastonbury, seeing Zero 7 also at Glasto, Ernest Ranglin at Womad, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, The Kinks, and many many more. Also selling a sausage to Henry Cooper, Mike Reid, Allan Lamb, Tony Robinson, Michael Eavis, Seve Ballesteros and many many more.

How has the industry changed, if at all, since you started?

Events have become more corporate and regulations have become much stronger.

You’ve been a member since the MOCA days, how has your NCASS membership helped you and your business?

Regarding NCASS membership, I have found it increasingly useful...for training, for advice and for up to date information regarding all aspects of the industry.

Are there any issues that you think NCASS should be prioritising to support your business and event caterers?

Issues that NCASS could prioritise and are doing so, is to try and redress the imbalance of a sellers market between the event organisers and the thousands of caterers looking for work. Some caterers have been taken for a ride, paying over the top rents to concessions/organisers who really don’t care.

Gazebo unit

When you’re not feeding people in muddy fields, what do you like to do with your free time?

As for my spare time, well in the winter I have a two week holiday somewhere hot. I like a bottle of Rioja, films, music, food and being with my family. I am a very long time supporter of Arsenal Football Club, who I go up to see play quite often, and I still play social cricket for a fantastic club based in Exeter called the Erratics

What advice would you give to someone looking to start out as an event caterer?

My advice to anyone starting up is to be very careful. Finding good affordable work is not easy. An original idea goes a long way.

What’s next for the Real Meat Sausage Company?

As for the future, as well as maintaining the portfolio of the RMSC, I am developing another catering venture, Pastamania, of which I am a director, and looking to increase its portfolio of events.

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