[ Interview by Troy Bilbrough ]
[ Photographs by Emma Groom ]
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved bacon; it’s crispy and tasty and even vegetarians cannot resist the smell of bacon. Bacon makes people happy.
I founded bacon brothers when i moved back home to Christchurch and started training as a pilot. I needed a way to pay the bills and I needed something with flexibility so that it could fit around my aviation training. A university friend had a family farm and needed somebody to sell the bacon at the Christchurch farmers market.
Here, Bacon Brothers Bacon Co was born.
I started selling the bacon, however I couldn’t sell the volume of bacon needed to make it profitable. I suggested to my boss that they make bacon butties (old English word for bacon sandwich), but they said it was too risky. I then suggested that I buy all of their bacon every week; that way they would make their profit and, if I could get the recipe right, I could make a profit for myself. Overnight, I had turned my boss into my supplier, and I could now make change.
My granddad Hugh is my hero and had inspired me to back myself, to give myself the permission to become an entrepreneur, instead of injecting my time and passion into building somebody else’s dream. My granddad had lived until 103, and he was wise and lived an amazing life. He was honest and hard-working, and I set out building a business built on those principles.
It was then Bacon Brothers was born. My brother Jai and I launched into business; sales grew week on week, and demand always exceeded supply. I never had trouble waking up early on a Saturday morning for the market. As it was truly important to me, I didn’t require outside motivation; I was truly inspired from within to serve my customers the most amazing Bacon Brothers experience.
It was then I met one of my heroes, Jamie Bennett, chef and then owner of the Farmers Market. Jamie is a talented chef who creates meals from whatever inspires him in his day-to-day life, pushing the creative boundaries and blending the boundary between food and art. I worked with Jamie in one of his restaurants and applied a few of his philosophies of sourcing ingredients locally, and experimenting with new flavours and textures. This gave Bacon Brothers the X Factor, with organic, free range and striking combinations, such as Bacon Banana and Peanut Butter, or the Happy Buttie, which is the only burger in the world that comes with a free hug.
Bacon Brothers evolved over the years as customers and staff became part of its DNA. The secret to our success is the driving passion behind the business, and the fact that we are being true to our fundamental philosophies. The positive actions of Bacon Brothers have determined its destiny. In the future I aim to open a flagship restaurant as legendary as Fergburger – a restaurant where people would travel from all around the world to visit; a place of happiness and inspiration. Staff wouldn’t be working; they would be effortlessly doing what they love to do, and the customers would feel the love and want to be part of it.