We Grill Paul Turner and Peter Jones
From a long line of butchers, Paul Turner was filled with trepidation when he walked into the Dragons’ Den armed with his award-winning sausages.
Anyone who watched the BBC programme was in no doubt that Paul was more than a little nervous, but his food product and business concept were soon gobbled up by multi-millionaire, entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den regular Peter Jones. In this issue we grill the winner of Britain’s Best Banger, Paul Turner and his now mentor and part owner of Alf Turner butchers in Aldershot, Peter Jones CBE.
We Grill Peter:
If you were to cook something for your Dragons’ Den colleagues what would you cook?
Definitely something simple as I don’t get many opportunities to cook at home so the risk of a disaster would be very real and I don’t think I could bear Duncan’s reaction if it all went horribly wrong. I noticed that there was a recipe on Paul’s website for Toad in the Hole which didn’t look too complicated so perhaps I’d try that.
What’s the worst food you have had to sample on Dragons’ Den? (When people pitch for money)
Early on in either series 1 or 2 we had a lady who came on with her recipe for a new breakfast cereal. One of the other Dragons compared it to the seeds at the bottom of a bird cage, you won’t be surprised to know that she didn’t get an offer.
Did you ever think you would become part owner of a butchers in Hampshire?
Never. But that’s the beauty of Dragons’ Den we never know what we will be seeing next and it has meant that I have a portfolio ranging from recycled gift packaging to racing cars and fashion magazines to sausages!
What drew you to investing in Alf Turner?
I always try to assess whether or not the concept I’m reviewing can be scaled up, do I have the resources and experience within my team to add value and does the person have the right mix of passion and pragmatism. Paul and his business ticked all the boxes.
Money no object – which restaurant and why?
I love Ago in LA, but in London it is Scotts restaurant in Mayfair, which is where I love to wind down with friends or colleagues after a hard day with wonderful food. I have been a regular there for many years and it’s like visiting old friends each time I go to eat.
What do you usually order when eating out?
It’s hard to beat a great steak especially if it’s accompanied with a good full bottle of red wine, probably a Burgundy or Pinot Noir.
We Grill Paul:
Which of your sausages would go best with a Christmas dinner?
Our Best of British Traditional Pork Sausage wrapped in streaky bacon is an essential part of any Christmas dinner.
What is your earliest food memory?
Being forced to eat a school dinner of sardines, which was a food hell for me!
What would be your signature dish?
A classic bangers and mash with a rich gravy
– you really can’t beat it.
What made you decide to go on Dragons’ Den?
After trying for two years and knocking down every barrier that can be placed in front of a small producer, I had to think of another way to approach the supermarkets in a way that had not been tried before. Therefore the application was made to the Dragons’ Den and the rest is now history.
You gave away some of your brother’s shares on the show without him being there. What did he think when he watched the programme?
As we are both fans of the programme we anticipated that if any Dragon was interested then the separation of the business would be a problem so we had already discussed the possibility. However it was still a strange phone call to make and break the news to my brother that we had a new business partner, and crucially the one that we wanted in Peter.
What’s your top tip for cooking your sausages?
Always cook sausages slowly and with care. My preferred method is to gently fry them so the skins go a golden brown colour and this ensures that they are thoroughly cooked and just melt when you bite into them.
What sets British sausages apart from their international alternatives?
What can compete with the Great British Banger? It is an icon of the British food industry and is served all over the world as part of the full English Breakfast. No other sausage from any part of the world can compete with that status.