Beyond grateful to be included in this months Oliver magazine in the 'Best of British' feature along side of incredible producers.
From bakeries to breweries, the UK’s once-disused railway arches now harbour a fleet of food producers, including Secret Smokehouse, in London’s Hackney. After training at the Billingsgate Seafood School, founder Max Bergius first established the business from his back garden in nearby Stepney. “I was inspired after talking to all the Cockneys who frequent the Peacock Pub,” he says. He discovered the area has a rich history of producing smoked fish, and the techniques used to make Max’s smoked salmon, trout and kippers vary little from those perfected back in the late 19th century by Eastern European immigrants coming to the East End. Jewish settlers realised that the top-quality Scottish fish sold at Billingsgate market could be gently smoked to recreate the dishes they missed from back home, and so the tradition of ‘London Cure’ was born. Most of the east London smokeries died out by the 1970s, but Max is setting out to change that. He sources impeccable fish from independent Scottish producers and cures it with oak smoke, for a delicate result that lets its standout flavour shine through. The whole process, from filleting to salting, pinboning and slicing, is done by hand. “There’s no fishy business,” says Max. “No sugars, no nitrates.” It’s an approach that’s paid off: Secret Smokehouse now supply some of London’s best restaurants, including Bibendum, The Marksman pub and Outlaw’s at the Capital.