Egg head Matthew Kearsley-Lawson was named Kent Artisan of the Year in a prestigious awards evening on March 13.
The 39-year-old, who gave up his job as technical manager for the Fridays egg producer five years ago to start his own pickling business, Kent Fine Foods, scooped the Taste of Kent award for his range of jams, chutneys and spicy sauces.
The accolade was capped by an offer from Budgens in Whitstable to stock his full range of products in recognition of the achievement.
“March is certainly proving a marvelous month for me,” said Matthew from Hempsted, Gillingham. “Getting started in the food business when you’re up against the big brands in Tesco and Sainsbury’s isn’t easy but I think we have finally cracked it.”
Matthew learned his pickling prowess at Opies in Sittingbourne before moving on to Fridays, the third biggest egg company in England.
By 2010 he was mixing his flagship lavender jelly, which won Taste of Kent Product of the Year in 2010 and featured on the BBC with Countryfile presenter James Wong.
He’s since expanded the range, with his spicy plum sauce coming runner-up and was a finalist in 2012 for the Kent Medway Business of the Year.
Binny Amin, the owner of Budgens in Whitstable and Londis in Blean, said: “What we’re looking for is good quality products and we want to work with independent local producers.”
“I really wouldn’t want to go to Tesco or the nationals to sell my products, I’d much rather support the local retailers,” said Matthew. “So it’s particularly gratifying to have the support of the two main local supermarkets in the area, who really understand the local food producers and what we’re trying to achieve.”
Matthew will be giving a cooking demonstration using his range of pickles and sauces at Budgens in Whitstable High Street on Saturday 22nd March, 10am-3pm. The full range can be ordered at www.scoffquaff.co.uk or www.kentfinefoods.com