Handmade… nothing has changed!
and yet so very much has changed!— from humble aspirations to make and sell the best Scotch eggs we could at our local farmers’ market to a business employing over 100 people delivering millions of eggs a year to some of the best independent foodie business’s in the country. Everything is still made by hand in small batches and although they are now produced in a state of the art production kitchen they are still made the same way to the original recipes that Penny created and developed at the start
Neil & Penny
Penny and Neil Chambers, creative, friendly, motivated couple and the gentle driving force behind this eggs’traordinary business ….
Back in 2002, 18 years ago! Penny was enjoying running a thriving catering business from our home whilst (I) Neil was following a slightly more bohemian path painting murals, trompe l’oeil and faux finishes helping out with the labouring and front of house duties at all kinds of events and functions that Penny was organising.
We found that we worked extremely well together, with very different strengths, natural skills, as well as weaknesses, we gave each other the confidence to tackle just about everything that came our way.
Discovering Farmers’ Markets gave us an opportunity to try something new, something that we could develop at our own pace and something more sustainable for the future, after all, living a commission orientated life is not a stable one.
Visiting our local Farmers’ markets we talked with stall holders and customers and felt very much at home, all we needed was a product….
Artistic ideas like ‘fat’ frames, stencil kits, decorative boxes and selling courses were considered and Penny said that she could make Cakes, Quiches and Scotch eggs in her sleep.. little did we know
Farmers Market beginnings
We approached the (then quite daunting) Teme Valley Market, at the Talbot Inn, Knightwick. A renowned food pub with a huge reputation for championing local, quality food, appearing regularly in the papers and Radio4 and in actual fact one the first 6 ever farmers’ markets to set up in the UK. Mrs Clift kindly talked us through the Farmers’ market rules and regulations kindly inviting us to join them if we met the strict criteria.
Out of all our ideas the humble Scotch egg shone through, Penny already made a few different recipes for a couple of local shops and a butchers in Worcester so we took along a selection of 5 different Scotch eggs to the Teme Valley Market in June 2003 (even then we couldn’t help ourselves making more than one) and were delighted, as well as relieved, to sell all 60! Buoyed up by our initial success we tried both Hereford and Worcester markets with similar success and we started to think we may have something that would work alongside
Ludlow Food festival 2004
Thinking back now there is a lot to be said for naivety, we were told about a food festival held in Ludlow at the beginning of September, only about an hour from home, so we gave them a call to see if we could come along… well, after the lovely lady on the telephone stopped laughing she was able to explain that there was a year long waiting list for this prestigious event and she would happily send an application form for us to go onto the waiting list, “what are you going to be selling?” she asked, ” a range of handmade Scotch eggs” said I ( a range! where did that come from?) and that was that.
About an hour later the telephone rings and it’s Ludlow Food Festival, ” you did say, a range of Scotch eggs, didn’t you?” – “Yes, including a Vegetarian one” I piped in – ” we really like the sound of this and have managed to find a space to squeeze you in”… Hurrah!
The ensuing weeks found us tweaking and creating recipes, inviting friends, neighbours, family, delivery people and the postman to taste and comment as well as of course panicking like hell not knowing what we were letting ourselves in for.
With our minds made up , a range of eggs and a menu list created and printed on our computer we decided to go for broke and between us made 300 Scotch eggs, 100 a day for the event, purchased a garden gazebo and a borrowed a couple of tables from our neighbour Lindsey to create a stall, Neil painted up a couple of promotional boards and we were ready.
Friday morning in the grounds of Ludlow castle amongst a lot of scarily professional looking people and with fingers toes and everything else crossed we are open for business… Wham! sold out by mid-day! 3 days worth in less than a day and people clamouring for more… thank you Ludlow, the great bit was we were not the only ones, Michael and Debbie of the Organic Smokehouse and Simon of Osmin Olives were in exactly the same boat so we were able to keep each other motivated with telephone calls between us throughout the nights
We worked our proverbial socks off over the next two days but we were never going to keep up, but we were inspired, here we were in a top of the range real food festival and we were liked! this was the moment we decided to concentrate on just one course, the handmade scotch egg course, the rest as they say is history
the Chris Evans effect...
The first scotch egg shop ‘in the world’ egg’cetera opened (2010) in beautiful Friar Street in the heart of Worcester…
Taking over from Neils mothers business, Trend, which had been trading there for just over 40 years the ‘hippy-shop’ as it was affectionately called
In the summer of 2018 we were invited to help set up a cafe, nestWorcester, at the newly refurbished Royal Porcelain Works in Worcester an excititng oportunity to share our knowhow and to try out new ideas. Very proudly delivering a thriving concern and exceptional team just 15 months later with the landlords confident to take over the reins as they to contine the development of this amazing site, yards fro the city centre in the shadow of the catherdral
the nest, little verzons farm, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2PZ
Nest Ledbury opened in June 2014, initially an indoor version of our market stall and a home for the administration side of the business as it had out grown the original Eggshed..
nest701, Fordshill Road, Rotherwas, Hereford HR2 6NS
Added to the business in February 2020, nest701 is set up in a rebuilt section of the old victorian Gloucester Railway platform at Warehouse701 formerly Wye Valley Reclamation, the largest decorative salvage and homewares’ centre in the West Midlands.
A beautiful calm and quirky space overlooking 3 acres of architectural salavage and building materials beside 20,000 sq ft of warehouse crammed with reclaimed treasures
Open Tuesday to Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 9am – 4pm