Developing a love of cooking as an Army cadet spurred Craig Tasker to become a chef who launched Clackmannanshire’s first catering firm specialising in hog roasts last June.
Now, the seasoned cook, who is being helped by Business Gateway Clackmannanshire, has announced plans to expand into his own premises as well as open a sit-in and takeaway hog roast eatery by the end of 2019.
Having worked as a chef in both the Army and on oil rigs, the trained dietician, who has also ran a bar in Spain, decided to set up County Catering & Hog Roasts after spotting a gap in the market for a business that roasted pork on a spit.
Investing £12k in two specialist ovens and sourcing Scottish-reared pork to cook, he attended his first event on June 30th, 2017. Since then, he has catered for over 30 celebrations and corporate events and is now looking to become a preferred supplier for a number of local hotels and venues.
Craig, from Alloa, said: “When I started researching hog roasts I found that a lot of the companies are based down south and I thought ‘it can’t be that hard to do’. I got in touch with the manufacturer of the best ovens, undertook training with them and sourced high-quality pork from Easter Greenhill Farm near Falkirk. I hit the ground running and haven’t looked back. I’ve even had to turn down work because I am so busy.
“I’ve big plans for the company, including opening the area’s first hog roast sit-in and takeaway where people can come in, sit down and enjoy delicious pulled pork with their friends and family. Because I also offer traditional catering services and BBQs, I’m working with Business Gateway to find a unit that I can transform into an industrial kitchen where I can do all my prep. That expansion will hopefully allow me to create jobs.
“I have to maintain a good reputation, as one bad review could be the end of my business, so I need to do things correctly and that’s why Business Gateway’s advice is crucial. I’ve had fantastic assistance so far, and am now working with a digital expert through its DigitalBoost programme to enhance my website and Facebook page. His assistance coupled with my adviser’s knowledge will help me make the right decision and arm me with the tools I need to spread the word about what I do.”
Mandy Campbell, Business Gateway, said: “Taking the opportunity to learn how to cook while in the Army cadets set Craig up for a future as a chef whose new business is garnering rave reviews. By working with us, Craig is laying down firm foundation on which to grow his venture and is using our support and connections to ensure his expansion plans are robust. His vision is to have a chain of hog roast fast food sit-in and takeaways as well as an established catering arm offering more traditional menu choices.”
Having spent nine years as an Army chef and another 15 on the rigs, Craig realised that food could make people happy. His aim with his company is to offer catering services that make people smile.
He said: “The feedback I’ve had since launching last year has been amazing. People love the fact the hog roast comes with a range of sauces including haggis and sage, onion stuffing, fresh rolls and wraps. And they love my prices. No matter if you’re organising a wedding or a birthday, a hen party or an anniversary I charge the same and that’s why I’m booked up every weekend until the autumn!”
For more information www.countyhogroasts.co.uk.
To find out how Business Gateway Clackmannanshire can help your business call 01259 208426 or visit www.bgateway.com/clackmannanshire.