Five minutes with: Jack and Harry Mayhew

The founders of Ember Snacks, makers of British biltong, beef jerky and charcuterie, talk brotherhood, sustainability and how to spend a day off

Food and Drink 11 Dec 2020

Can you explain the concept behind Ember Snacks?
JM: Ember makes meat the way it’s meant to be. Healthier snacks with simple ingredients and no unnecessary nasties. We aim to highlight that meat sourced in the right way is good for our customers and the planet.

HM: Our product is healthy, tasty snacks. Our vision is to produce food in balance with nature, and our mission is to end factory farming and minimise impact on the environment.

Provenance and sustainability are key pillars for your business, what steps are you taking to ensure these are upheld and what advice can you give consumers?
JM: We aim to understand the problem and industry challenges before taking action. Our new range has been developed with meat-sourcing front and centre. Our steak slices use regenerative pasture-centred beef, and our lean salami is from Dingley Dell farm that has an on-farm project to feed a million bees every year.

HM: We are on track to become the first B Corp in meat snacking in Europe. This is an amazing accreditation that covers all touch-points of the business – social, environmental, governance and our customers. Always improving our impact score on B Corp is a major business KPI. This is one of the best indicators for consumers who care about the businesses they buy their products from. In terms of advice for consumers, get to know a few suppliers and brands well and source from brands you can trust.

What is it like working so closely with your brother?
JM: It’s special and awesome. He’s a brother, business partner and recently, best man.

HM: It’s pretty easy working with a best mate and brother – we have a mission we both believe in passionately, and a history of growing up together, so we know how each other works.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career and why?
JM: ‘You are what you do, not what you say you are.’ Although not direct advice from the Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, this quote is meaningful on a weekly basis for me and our business.

HM: Do something you are passionate about and the rest will follow. The major moment for us in getting this in place at Ember was with our mission to end factory farming with ‘meat the way it’s meant to be’.

Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work?
JM: A mentor called Dave O’Neill. A witty Irish friend who shows that kindness, humility and fun all have a place in the world of work.

HM: Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia) represents a lot about the way in which we want Ember to become. He nailed the balance for people to be able to build their work around their lifestyles alongside an amazingly successful product and brand. ‘Building a business for 100 years’ will always stick with me.

What item, apart from your passport, can you not travel without?
JM: My trainers.

HM: My Apple AirPods.

Where is your favourite place to eat in London and why?
JM: At home, opposite my wife-to-be.

HM: Khallouk & Taylor Deli in Pimlico. You need to go to get it.

What do you like to do on a day off?
JM: Anything outdoors. Walking with family, cycling with friends or spoon carving.

HM: I try and stay away from digital stuff on a Sunday if I can. Anywhere in the great outdoors is always welcome.

What are your biggest passions?
JM: Exercise and spoon carving.

HM: Making a contribution to the climate crisis through Ember, playing tennis, endurance bits and family.

What is one positive thing that you have learnt this year that you will carry through into 2021?
JM: Parenthood!

HM: Happiness is about being content with what you have. Not what you don’t have.

If you could choose anyone from today or history, who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?
JM: Guy Singh-Watson, founder of Riverford Organic because he’s an eccentric legend with a kind heart and an inspiring business.

HM: The Queen. I’m totally intrigued to know what she is like in person.

If you could choose one gift to receive for Christmas this year, what would it be?
JM: A frying pan.

HM: A Christmas with no mention of Covid! Wouldn’t that be lovely?