Former chef turned butcher Connor and Robert, current owner of Roast Mutton Lakeland Butcher in Kendal have joined forces to found Roast Mutton Lancashire Butcher at Derby House, Wrightington. Connor, 28, followed his passion for sourcing and preparing quality meat working with skilled people to further his skills. Robert, 30 grew up on a smallholding and learnt first-hand at an early age about humane animal husbandry swapped a career as an insurance broker in London to become an artisan butcher, including a spell working alongside Connor. Here they share their food loves.

Tells us a little about Roast Mutton and why you decided to open a second site.

Both: It was a natural progression. Connor wanted to operate his own shop, Robert wanted to open in Lancashire with the same vision and values and both of us wanted to bring their vision of farm-to-table eating to our native Lancashire. Roast Mutton Lancashire Butcher will supply customers with quality locally reared heritage and rare breed grass fed beef, lamb and mutton, as well as pork, poultry and carefully selected locally sourced game, sourced from farmers and estates we personally know and trust.

Why did you want to become a butcher?

Connor: I love meat, I always have. The artistry of preparing cuts and then displaying the produce in the shop – I can’t get enough of it.

Robert: I grew up on a smallholding and learnt first-hand at an early age about humane animal husbandry and the joy of a freezer full of delicious meat – that’s pretty much it.

First dish you learned to cook?

Connor: Beef stroganoff with fillet tail – totally delicious!

Robert: Eggs and bacon – simple and tasty.

Most vivid childhood food memory?

Connor: Learning to cook eggs properly with my dad in the kitchen aged seven or eight – I was curious and wanted to learn.

Robert: Slaughtering and cooking our Christmas bronze turkey each year, it’s become a family tradition.

Most memorable meal out?

Connor: Grill On The Alley in Manchester and tucking into a deconstructed chateaubriand with my now wife – totally delicious.

Robert: La Tupina in France, eating cote de beouf cooked over an open fire, served with chips cooked in duck fat. It was somewhere I’d seen Rich Stein visit in one of his programmes years ago and I had to go.

Favourite ingredient?

Connor: Steak and garlic – it’s my go-to.

Robert: Butter. I cook with it and add it to pretty much everything.

Your go-to snack?

Connor: Cheese and onion crisps – not sure I should admit that!

Robert: Minute steaks twice as day – it’s just what I eat.

If you weren't a butcher, what would you be doing?

Connor: A fishmonger – it’s a dying art and, like most things, I think if it’s worth doing you should do it well or not at all. I love fish, too.

Robert: A farmer of some sort producing cattle, pigs and crops.

Your dream dinner guest?

Connor: Marco Pierre White. I have so many questions for him – like why did he give his Michelin stars back?

Robert: Rick Stein, love his cooking style, he’s inspired me since I was a kid.

Your guilty food pleasure?

Connor: Crab meat, I just can’t get enough of it.

Robert: Buttermilk fried chicken, delicious.

What are some of the best cuts for home cooks?

Connor: Rump fillet, it’s hugely underrated but is so full of flavour and a lot cheaper than other cuts. Slow cooking cuts like shin of beef, oxtail and breast of lamb and venison. You don’t need to spend a fortune to be able eat good quality tasty meat – you just need to make sure that you source it from someone who is bothered about provenance and how the animal is looked after.

Who are your Lancashire food and drink heroes?

Connor: The Wayfarer Problem Child Brewing in Parbold – they’re so passionate about what they do. Totally fantastic.

Robert: Peter Gott. He’s been really supportive and a big help when I was getting Roast Mutton in Kendal up and running.

A place you love to eat?

Connor: The Paddock, Derby House, and not just because I used to be one of their chefs. What they’re doing is great. They really care about where they source their ingredients and use local suppliers as much as possible.

Robert: The Old Stamp House, Ambleside – provenance is everything to Ryan and I can relate to that.

A career highlight?

Connor: Opening my own shop

Robert: Winning the Countryside Alliance Award for UK Butcher of the Year 2023.

What's next?

Both: Consolidating the two shops, building up our quality supply chain even more and supporting local farmers and our local abattoirs along the way.

Our favourite dish

We both enjoy a good juicy steak with dauphinoise potatoes. It’s got to be that really – there are numerous options to enjoy, though, with something for every pocket.

Great British Life: Connor Farley and Robert Unwin Connor Farley and Robert Unwin (Image: Jenny Jones Photography)