Scotland’s Lady Butcher
(Excerpt from Daily Record published 2009)
SHE’S the only woman in Scotland to have her own online butcher’s shop … and now Ann Davidson has become Scotland’s Steak Pie Champion.
Ann, who makes her pies on the site of her shop, puts her success down to the quality of the meat she always uses and her own secret recipe of top-notch ingredients.
She said: “I’m not going to give our secrets away but let’s just say we use top quality meat and the taste comes down to the right balance of the best ingredients.
“The steak pies are very popular and obviously at this time of year we are inundated with orders. I’m delighted to be Steak Pie Champion; it really is a great honour. ”
Businesswoman and butcher Ann, from Strathaven, Lanarkshire, has been running her own butcher shop in the Perthshire village of Scone for just over two years but she has been in the butcher business for more than 20 years – working with her father boning beef in Glasgow before she even left school.
Ann, who is married to Stephen, leaves her house at 4.30am every morning; arriving at her shop in Scone at 6am and not closing her doors until 6pm six days a week, said: “I had always wanted my own shop, so I’m really living my dream.
“Although building up a business is a lot of hard work, I really enjoy what I do and work hard to bring the best quality of meat to my customers. I love working in the village of Scone.”
“The community is a very friendly one and we do all we can to make sure our customers are happy with the service they get.”
And while being a butcher may be an unusual profession for a woman; Ann just followed in her father’s footsteps.
“I’ve always been in the business as I worked with my father on the farms. I do really enjoy being a butcher and while I know it’s quite a different job for a woman, it’s something I had always wanted to do, ” she said.
“When I found out that we had won the top award, I was absolutely delighted. I had hoped for a silver or gold award but to get the top award and be the Scottish Champion is just amazing.
“That said, I do make sure we have a very high standard of quality when it comes to all of our meat and I use good quality Scotch steak in the pies and 100 per cent genuine seasonings. I did put a lot of effort into preparing the pie for the competition but I had thought that the bigger shops would have cleaned up. This just proves that everyone really has a chance.”
Eighty butchers from across Scotland took part in the competition; putting their pies to be judged by experts at Perth College. The steak pies were then put in regions before the top eight were selected to be “mystery shopped”..
These eight were taken to the sensory analysis team at Food Innovation@Abertay – and Ann’s pies came out on top. Stuart Christie, President of organisers, Scottish Federation of Meat Trades Associations, said that the evaluation was held to highlight one of Scotland’s favourite dishes and to identify butchers whose steak pies are worthy of recognition.
And Douglas Sword of sponsors William Sword bakers said that Wm. Sword Ltd were delighted to continue their association with the awards to celebrate the best of Scottish produce and the best in Scottish craftsmanship and innovation.
He added: “It is very heartening to see the breadth and depth of talent represented by these awards. We are sure it bodes well for the future of an industry which we are proud to be a part of.”
But Ann is taking all this success in her stride. As the orders mount up, and her award-winning pies fly off the shelves, it’s still business as usual for the Scone butcher shop.
She may be the Scottish Traditional Butchers Steak Pie Champion but her customers do, and always will, come first. And if you want the best Steak Pie dinner; you know where to go…