When our eagle eyes spy some fabulous pictures of our huts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, we can’t help but have a nose to see how our huts are coming along once we’ve delivered them.
When we spotted Salt Chef shouting about their super new shepherd hut, we wanted to find out more about the journey they’ve all been on, especially now the hut is definitely part of the family.
This is the super Salt Chef shepherd hut story!
Who are the Salt Chef family?
Rod (Roderick) 51 (Chef), Rachael 40 (ex -English teacher, Mum & company administrator) and children; Eldest; Megan 21 (now lives in Cheltenham studying teacher training), Cian 16 (studying GCSE’s then off to sixth form college in September), Jonah 8 & Arran 5 (avid explorers and primary school students).
Tell us about Salt Chef…..
Salt Chef began in 2012 as a chef consultancy and specialist catering company; since then it’s evolved into an artisan food production company with its brand new baby sister company Hay Charcuterie (website coming soon!) We bought our hut in winter 2016.
Why did you add a shepherd hut to your family?
We decided to get a shepherd’s hut as an office and spare room for guests. Being based in the beautiful Golden Valley near Hay-on-Wye in rural Herefordshire we wanted a functional yet aesthetically pleasing working and living space which complimented our farmhouse home. We’re surrounded by fields with grazing sheep so a shepherd’s hut seemed the obvious choice! Shepherd’s huts appealed mostly to us as they embrace contemporary style without losing their traditional, rustic charm.
What was your Blackdown story?
The hut was bought from Blackdown Shepherd’s Huts as a flat pack and built single handed by a fantastic local builder and friend Jason Palmer (aka Super Jason!). We decorated the interior ourselves. We wanted the interior to reflect the beauty of the exterior surroundings. The windows look out onto rolling, agricultural fields, hills and woodland. Roe deer from the woods regularly jump over the fence into the paddock to graze and play so there’s a bit of a deer theme! We also love Scandinavian-inspired interiors which combine aesthetic and practical use of hard and soft furnishings so we’ve used as many natural materials as possible to create a simple yet homely feel. (Solid Oak, Welsh Slate, Wool, Fleece, Glass and Stone). Most of the furnishings are British-made (including the hut!) so we’re proud of that too.
What do you love about shepherd huts?
As mentioned previously, we love the contemporary style and rustic charm of shepherd’s huts. We also love their versatility; we love the fact that from a relatively simple design, owners can design a unique space to suit their individual needs. We loved looking at the variety of uses and styles of other huts and were very inspired looking at other people’s projects. Blackdown couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful in assisting us with our design and wishes. Our hut has added a beautiful working space from which to run the administration side of the businesses. For me, it also means having a space in which I can focus solely on work and vitally, keep work separate from home!
How do people respond to the hut?
We’ve had some wonderful comments about the hut since it’s been built; all positive of course! One visitor described it as very ‘Hygge’ which was lovely. Most visitors are surprised at how big it is on the inside; one person saying “It’s like a tardis!” One delivery driver said he’d love one as a man cave so I guess mine’s a Woman Cave! Our eldest daughter and her partner stayed in it over Easter weekend. They loved the views, the wood burning stove and how comfortable the bed is. The walls are insulated with wool and even the mattress cover is sheep’s wool which helps to make it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Our younger boys love the fact that we can communicate via walkie talkies to the hut from the house, fields and woodland! They’re not so keen on the fact that the video baby monitor in their room is also in range so I can keep an eye on them if I’m working past their bedtime!
Tell us a little bit more about what you do….
After years of working as a professional chef and opening restaurants, Rod wanted a career that incorporated his passion for food and cooking but with fewer antisocial hours so he could spend more time with his family. Salt Chef began initially as a chef consultancy and specialist catering company. Since then it has evolved into a food production company, showcasing locally produced produce available to restaurants direct and the public via farmer’s markets in and around Herefordshire. Following the completion of two advanced salumi courses in Italy, Rod is now also able to produce the finest cured meat products using locally reared, free-range pigs via our sister company Hay Charcuterie (website coming soon!) We converted a barn to become a commercially operable kitchen in which Rod can work and had the Shepherd’s hut built as an office space and spare room for visitors.
We have flat-coated retrievers which are renowned for their tail-wagging; on completion of the hut build, I’d put a glass of champagne on the coffee table/wooden chest which one of them knocked over (smashing the glass!) with its tail before a toast had even been made! They’re lovely office companions though!