Makers and takers

Received this from Handmade Food yesterday:

We recently received a London Borough of Lewisham Business award for most sustainable business practice . We are grateful to Sir Steve Bullock and panel for recognising Hand Made Food’s efforts. Fourteen of us, chefs, shop staff, baristas, events staff, washers up raised a glass of Sussex’s best sparkling Breaky Bottom in a toast to our patrons and supporters. We recently lost a great Blackheath independent Sisters and Daughters to a stinging rent increase and ever increasing costs. We got Cook ( national chain of 60) a shop full of factory produced ready meals , a cashier and a freezer filler – at least they put gingham round the freezers.

Congratulations to them. I’m sure it’s not easy trying to run an independent business on the high street at the moment, and I have to agree about Cook, which I shall continue to refer to as Posh Iceland. The wicker baskets and picnic cloths aren’t fooling me… Handmade Food on the other hand is a lovely place, which I’ve spent a lot of time in, but for some reason never mentioned much on here. It serves Monmouth Coffee, which is delicious, and Neal’s Yard Cheese, not to mention all the food which is solid and tasty. It’s not cheap, but if you’ve looked at the rents on that high street, it’s not hard to see why (£100k a year for Venice Restaurant?)


Filed under blackheath, coffee, shops

12 responses to “Makers and takers

  1. Paul

    Posh Iceland! That’s what I called it as well…

  2. Matthew Goigh

    Congratulations indeed to Handmade Foods. Whilst they are expensive, I do try and get there when I can. And on the subject of Posh Iceland, I’ve a friend who’s tried their stuff twice and been very disappointed (more Findus than home made). I directed him to Handmade Foods frozen offerings, as I do anyone who’s interested, as they really are exceptional and not many people seem to know about it.

  3. Anonymous

    Handmade Food supplies really tasty party food and the staffare extremely helpful with suggestions for dishes. Cook might appeal to late night office workers, but there is nothing better than real food which you can eat reliably. Cook’s prices are astronomical for what they offer and most people could produce thier own food better. However, Mr Clague at Handmade Food will ensure that special occasions are superbly catered.

  4. Ed

    Handmade food is great , lovely egg and bacon sandwiches . I’ve been going for years and I never knew they did frozen food.

  5. cliff

    Cook, a posh Iceland? don’t think so. They hand cook all their food in Sittingbourne in Kent, employing lots of nice people, and turn out delicious meals. They’re a nice company and run a good business.
    And, their food is delicious, we eat it a lot & highly recommend it.

    • Aminta

      What makes you think that the people at Iceland are not as nice as those at Cook? Is it the wicker baskets or is it the gingham. Frozen food is frozen food whatever the trimmings and should at least be cheap.

      • cliff

        I like to make chilli & keema peas at home, I make both with best lamb mince & I make lots of extra portions & put them in the freezer for later; does that mean the frozen portion I have in a months time is any worse than the first portion I have fresh?
        what’s wrong with freezing home cooking?

  6. Hooray for Handmade Foods. The village is a better, brighter and certainly tastier place because of them. Frozen vs fresh is the sideshow here. The real issue Is landlords squeezing even more money out of businesses that help to define our high street. Who are they? What are they trying to achieve by hiking up rents? Are they the sort of profiteers who would prefer to see a shop empty rather than take a lower rent?.. Obviously they are judging by the sad former building society that has served nobody and produced no revenue for at least a year now. I feel the Blackheath community deserves better and is being held ransom by greed.
    Fergus and all the independent shops and restaurant need our support not just in custom but in standing up to these landlords. If you are listening landlords step out of the shadows and lets hear your justification for squeezing the shopkeepers. The village is a shared resource , not just a anonymous profit making machine.
    Johnny Morris local resident

    • Anonymous

      Actually, the issue of the original post was Handmade Foods.
      In any event, the answers to your questions are rather obvious.
      “Who are they?” – If you’re really interested in who owns property, do a search on the Land Registry. They’re not anonymous.
      “What are they trying to achieve by hiking up rents?” – Profit. Nothing wrong with that, particularly given that their costs have probably gone up as well.
      “Are they the sort of profiteers who would prefer to see a shop empty rather than take a lower rent?” – Actually, the answer to this one isn’t obvious as there aren’t any empty shops in the Village (save those which are being refurbished).

  7. Well done to them, this is my favorite shop in the village.The staff are fantastic the shop just feels so special.

  8. uknowitmakessense

    So far I’ve sampled 5 meals from the Cook! shop. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them. In addition the caramel shortcake and rocky road are delicious.

    I’m sure they do stuff I don’t like too.

    I’ve eaten from Handmade maybe 500 times in the 13 years I’ve lived in the Village. Whilst I can’t say Ive enjoyed everything i’ve had, I managed to work out what I do and don’t like and so I’m also a fan of there. I havent tried their frozen stuff so much but I wouldnt rule it out and their made to order desserts can be delicious (they used to do a great carrot cake but the person who made it changed). Chacun a son gout is the moral of the story – and when it comes to these 2 establishments it doesnt have to be a choice between one or the other.

    Personally not surprised to see the demise of Sisters and Daughters. It was a shop everyone wanted to save but no one wanted to shop in. Stand by for comments of “I shopped in there all the time”…..

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