Dyers Delight

We speak to one of UK’s best Master Butchers to find out more about their amazing Great Taste awards.
To think of one word that encapsulates William Dyers family run artisan butchers is just an impossible task. You need a whole dictionary of words but heavenly, intimate, impressive and extremely friendly all apply, yet their outlook is simple; to provide beautifully prepared, tasty, wholesome meat dishes that just need to be popped into the oven and cooked!
William Dyers is the product of the exceedingly delightful Robert and Sara, who started trading in sumptuous pies and gourmet ready meals in Ashtead 7 years ago.  You couldn’t find a more talented team of people with a wealth of experience ranging from patisserie, restaurants, hotels, events and contract catering. With their team of 2 butchers, 3 kitchen staff and 6 serving staff, they strive to bring you a joyous and memorable shopping experience, and we can honesty say – that’s what we had!
Alongside the butchers shop, they also have a production kitchen where they hand create all the ready meals and pies and a dedicated catering team who prepare food for outside events.
It was their entries into the Great Taste Awards that has caused a lot of interest recently as they won a staggering 11 stars in total for 7 of their sweet and savoury pies.   This is phenomenal in the industry and a very rare outcome.  We talk to both Robert and Sarah about their legendary pies and recent win, before visiting their team of development chefs in their busy kitchens.
“A great deal of thought is given to the ingredients and flavours to bring you the perfect combination of taste in all our pies. Out of 10,000 entries into this year’s Great Taste awards, our Chicken, Bacon & Leek Pie won 3 stars and is one of Britain’s Top 50 Foods, which we’re extremely proud of. It’s a great honour knowing that our products were blind tasted by some of the most demanding and knowledgeable judges in the country who only choose the most exquisite food to be in the running.  Making the Top 50 Foods for the second year running is testament to our enthusiasm for quality food.
The recent result means that our Chicken, Bacon & Leek Pie joins the ranks of some of the most prestigious foods available and we only just lost out on winning one of the highest accolades in the world of fine food, the Great Taste Golden Fork.”
Judged by over 400 of the most demanding palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.  When a product wears a Great Taste label it carries a badge of honour but more importantly, the Great Taste logo is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product.
Comments from the judges include; “a generous filling and beautiful pastry”, “a satisfying mouthful”, “great home cooking” and “put simply, these are products worth searching for and worth savouring”.  Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with branding and packaging ignored. Whether it is cheese, ale, steak or chutney being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1, 2 or 3 star award.
There were 10,000 Great Taste entries this year and of those products, 130 were awarded a 3 star, 597 received a 2 star and 2,382 were awarded a 1 star accolade. The panel of judges included Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion, TV presenter and cook, Aggie Mackenzie, Great British Bake Off winner, Frances Quinn, Masterchef the Professionals finalist, Adam Handling, food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, and chefs including James Golding, Chef Director of The Pig hotel group, who have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the 2015 Top 50 Foods.
Robert has been using Major products since he started many years ago and believes much of the success in terms of flavours is down to the Major ‘British’ Stocks used within the pies and ready meals.
“ We have always used Major’s British Beef and British Chicken products, mainly due to them being so clean. It means that the ingredients declaration on my labels is very short and, put simply ensures there are no allergens or nasties in them. That coupled with the fact that they are manufactured on British soil ensures that I have full traceability for all the William Dyer products, something that is incredibly important today.  My customers return over and over again as they know the quality of the food they get from us and the feedback we get back on the flavours is phenomenal.  This is what drives us day in, day out and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
William Dyers’ still cook in the traditional way as opposed to a large manufacturing plant, which is unusual in today’s market.  The beauty of every pie and meal being hand piped is what makes them different and that little bit more ‘real’.  A company like this one is unfortunately a dying breed and every spoonful is created with that little bit of extra loving care.  You really do have to see it to believe it to get the true magic of what William Dyers butchers is all about!