Delishops Presents: Tempus Foods

In this issue, Charlie interrogates Tempus Foods founding partners Tom Whitaker & Dhruv Baker to find out what makes the MasterChef duo tick and to see how they fair against his 9 new supplier checks successful Farm Shop & Deli buyers always do (and 1 they sometimes forget). Let’s see how they got on:

1. Why it’s important.

Charcuterie has been used widely in Italian cooking for generations. It now appears extensively on British tables (at home and in restaurants) as such, it has become a staple product of your Deli counter – Letting your customers know how they might use a product helps to encourage a purchase. Tempus’s air-cured ham, salami, coppa, cured loin and cured aged beef are some of the finest and most innovative charcuterie in the UK right now, amongst stiff competition.

The great all-rounder.

Charcuterie is easy to prepare in the home or restaurant, good for snacks or meals, great sharing food and matches well with wines, cheeses and antipasti. It responds brilliantly to chef creations accenting main meats such as lamb and chicken fillets, or cold with nuts, fresh cheeses or fresh or dried fruits – styles accessible to food lovers at all levels. Plus – it gives good flavour and texture intensity in small neat packages, maintaining margins and portion control in the deli and kitchen.
Tempus’ charcuterie’s light texture and dense flavour have a place in snacks, canapes, starters, salads or lunchtime sharing boards.

Perfect Ingredient.

As professionally trained Chefs, Tom & Dhruv could talk for hours about the different dishes that your customers could create with their products as an ingredient.

Perfect partners with some of your best sellers.

Tracklements products are a ‘must-have’ for most food retailers. Great news, as described in their recent blog posts, Tracklements themselves pointed out some perfect parings with Tempus products.

This partnership of products gives you the ideal opportunity to create cross-selling opportunities, perhaps even joint promotions – either way, this perfect match gives you more bang for your book.

2. People

The people behind the products can be a crucial factor when selecting suppliers, especially with food products going into independent retailers, where quality and credibility are key selling points. You need to know that your suppliers understand your customers, and have the knowledge and capability to deliver on your promise. And, Tempus has this capability in abundance.

Tom Whitaker

MasterChef 2011 finalist

Having trained outside Parma (Italy) with Massimo Spigaroli (famous for his PDO culatello hams) for many years, Tom (and Dhruv) strive to achieve the same the levels of professionalism and heritage, but with a uniquely British interpretation.returning as a guest judge

Dhruv Baker

MasterChef 2010 Winner

After winning MasterChef in 2010, Dhruv pursued his dream of a career in food, firstly by working in some of the UK’s finest restaurants including Le Gavroche, The Kitchin and Helene Darroze at the Connaught. He has also presented on Waitrose TV and is a regular contributor for numerous publications. Dhruv published his first book Spice in 2014 and the same year opened his gastropub The Opened Jolly Gardeners.

3. Social Proof

Evey producer claims that their products are the best, but proof makes selecting a supplier much easier

“We are proud to be a stockist of Tempus Charcuterie, who combine quality with integrity which aligns with our brand ethos. The passion and dedication shown by producers Dhruv & Tom, to deliver a range of British Charcuterie which, in my humble opinion, can rival continental classics, makes this brand one to watch for 2019 and beyond.”

Adrian Boswell Selfridges Buyer

“Voted Champion of Champions Producer in the British Charcuterie Awards 2018, Tempus Foods boasts an impressive, boldly flavoured and thoroughly enjoyable range of charcuterie that made them the deserved winners of our top award.”

Henrietta Green Founder British Charcuterie Live

“I ran my deli for 15 years, and the quality of British Charcuterie has climbed incredibly during that time. Tempus is now one of the best Britain has to offer. I really like their large 3 1/2 inch diameter salamis for practical demand, slicing and pricing reasons. There are not enough British substitutes to the classic 3kg Milano and Napoli, and these are of the highest quality. It is what the customers want.”

Charlie Turnbull Turnbulls Deli & Delishops Founder

“Tempus coax unparalleled depth of flavour and a divinely delicate texture out of first-class ingredients. All you need is a platter of Tempus charcuterie, some decent bread and a bottle of wine for a very happy evening.”

Xanthe Clay Telegraph

Award-winning (and then some!)

After only six months in business, Tom and Dhruv entered their early products into the inaugural British Charcuterie Awards. Their primary objective was to test the market and gain valuable feedback – but they achieved a lot more, winning the much envied ‘producer of the day’ prize. “This was a great boost for us,” says Tom “It’s inspired us to get better and better, and our products have come on in leaps and bounds since then.”

SALSA accreditation

Tempus is SALSA accredited, with stringent self-governing practices more than what is required by their local EHO. Tom and Dhruv insist on the highest kitchen standards as these go hand in hand with achieving the best and most consistent products possible.

4. Product range

Seven products, available in different sizes, give retailers plenty of scope for stock selection

1. King Peter Ham

Unique British prosciutto presented whole and off the bone for machine or hand slicing. Available in: Individually, Retail Pack, Catering Pack Order online

2. Tempus Smoked Coppa

This classic whole muscle cut, rolled and cured using spices adopted by Dhruv and Tom from the Italian style. Available in: Individually, Retail Pack, Catering Pack Order online

3. Tempus Spiced Coppa

A step away from the Italian style, Tom’s Tempus Coppa is smoked and then spiced with Dhruv’s spice cupboard. Available: By weight (for slicing), Retail Pack, Catering Pack Order online

4. Tempus Air Dried Beef

British Bresaola style spiced and seasoned air cured beef. Available: By weight (for slicing), Retail Pack, Catering Pack Order online

5. Tempus Spiced Loin

One of Dhruv’s favourite creations the combination of the light, lean loin and the carefully spiced fat, which presents perfectly on the plate. Available in: Individually, Retail Pack, Catering Pack Order online

6. Tempus Salami

Dhruv and Tom’s most popular salami To be sold whole, or sliced for retail or food service Approximately 360g. Available: By weight (for slicing), Retail Pack, Catering Pack Order online

7. Tempus Fennel and Black Pepper Salami

Made to Dhruv’s recipe, blending British charcuterie with his unique Indian spices. Available in: Individually, Retail Pack, Catering Pack Order online

5. Provenance

When selecting suppliers a good backstory can make all the difference, helping sales staff to engage with the supplier, giving them a talking point with customers which in turn helps your customers make a purchase – And, Tempus’s backstory is one worth talking about.

No compromise

The pleasure Tom and Dhruv have taken in creating products without compromise is almost a first for them. With restaurants (in fact in any kitchen) they have needed to tailor the offer to the competence of the kitchen, margins, the style of the restaurant, and most importantly the time it takes to prepare. Not for Tempus! They have made their choices only to give the flavours and tastes their imagination demands. No Compromise, it’s what makes them happy.

Practice makes perfect

After meeting on MasterChef, Tom & Dhruv spent many years making charcuterie together (while holding down their day jobs). This exploratory period involved trying many heritage breeds of pig, before eventually settling on the ‘Large Black’ a rare breed, from which the pork has the optimal ratio of lean to fat and a beautiful depth of flavour enabling them to create the exceptional charcuterie that would become Tempus Foods.

The name says it all

The name Tempus refers to the Latin for ‘time’ which represents the time taken to cure and to age the meat.

When trained by the best, perfection is the only option

Having trained outside Parma (Italy) with Massimo Spigaroli (famous for his PDO culatello hams) for many years, Tom (and Dhruv) strive to achieve the same the levels of professionalism and heritage, but with a uniquely British interpretation.

6. Production methods

How a product is created has an impact on where you place it in-store, how you present it and how you price it.

No compromise, sustainability and supporting local farmers

Dhruv and Tom genuinely believe in ‘no compromise’, sustainability and supporting local farmers with all Tempus Charcuterie products created exclusively from outdoor reared ‘Large Black’ pigs slowly grown in the spacious surroundings of two family-run farms in Norfolk. Tom and Dhruv work closely with the farmers to encourage natural behaviour and ensure that each pig has a rich and varied diet helping to give King Peter its complex flavours.

No foreign exchange fluctuations

With the support for local farmers, comes more practical benefits to retailers, no foreign exchange fluctuations, no import issues, no supply chain concerns – and as Tempus products provide a wholly comparable (if not better) substitute for European charcuterie, this could be a real winner for independent retailers (don’t mention Brexit).

Everything but the Squeal

Tempus practice Whole Animal Butchery: their products use up the whole carcass, as they say, “Everything but the Squeal”, with a zero waste policy. When Tom and Dhruv ran restaurants there was always a commercial compromise somewhere – now they don’t have to. Tempus is their finest creation purely for the love of food.

Purpose built 21st-century cellar

Part of Tempus’s unique offer is their purpose-built 21st-century cellar. Tom and Dhruv have developed their own unique bio-flora to enhance the maturation of each salami, ham and coppa as they age to perfection. This has been a critical challenge and will continue to improve.

Traditional methods and equipment replicate Italy’s Po valley

Tom & Dhruv have invested a lot of time and energy seeking out traditional methods and apparatus to reproduce the techniques in Italy’s Po valley. While this requires experienced chefs and rare equipment (that can be difficult to maintain) the team believe that the extra effort is well worth it to get the perfect grind, the textures and the blends for the best outcomes.

Created by professional chefs only – 6 team members, all chefs

All products are developed from scratch in their state of the art kitchen by Founding partners Tom Whitaker and Dhruv Baker together with their team – All professionally trained Chefs ensuring that the Tempus ethos of focusing in the getting the best and most exciting flavours onto the plate is maintained.

7. Pricing

Understanding your purchase options to ensure that you get the best available price is good for the bottom line.

Deli margins

Tempus anticipate 35-45% gross margin for their whole or pre-packed products, and 50% gross margin for products requiring slicing at the counter. London locations routinely improve on this.

Kitchen Margins

Tempus is run by chefs for chefs – they know that unless it makes money for you, all the taste in the world is not enough. Tempus catering pack prices are targeted to give you a 70% gross margin. Below is their estimate of how it would look on your menu (charcuterie only), for example in a charcuterie starter.

Slice weight
Slices per
pack (Est)
£ Per
Slices per
Menu price
(inc. vat)*
King Peter Ham£34.650.007710.494£ 7.76 
Spiced Coppa£23.930.006830.296£ 6.89 
Smoked Coppa£23.930.006830.296£ 6.89 
Spiced Loin£23.930.006830.296£ 6.89 
Air Dried Beef£24.750.006830.306£ 7.13 

*The above does not account for any other ingredients you match to the charcuterie on the plate.

Volume discounts available

The team are still making their way, and every offer considered for large orders.

No minimum order

There is no minimum order, although there is a delivery charge for orders below £80 for mainland UK.

Dhruv is committed to encouraging people to taste his range so that your customers will demand more. He is so confident; he is happy to send out one small salami to get you to believe in their award-winning charcuterie as much as they do.

Offers & promotions

Delishops has nudged the Tempus team to offer launch promotions on all their whole salamis and charcuterie for slicing of up to 10%.


Tempus delivery to Mainland UK, Northern Ireland, Highlands Islands, Guernsey & Jersey, Isle of Man, Scilly Isles, Isle of Wight. All regions offer free shipping over a minimum threshold. Different shipping rates apply for different areas for smaller orders.

8. Points of difference

Differentiating your retail helps you make a stronger impression among prospective customers — and attract more sales. However, you need to take a holistic approach to make sure the entire brand experience differentiates your business and turns new customers into forever fans. One of the ways you can achieve this is by selecting stock that stand-out from the ordinary- and Tempus has a few of these:

The MasterChef name – and you get 2 for the price of 1

Let’s face it; there aren’t many other food producers that can claim to have not one but two MasterChef finalists as their founders (if any). So, as a selling point this stands out, the MasterChef brand is widely recognised and has consumer appeal, within your marketing, online and in-store – giving Tempus products a clear edge over other producers.

100% British and wholly comparable with European products

Many customers and chefs demand British substitutes from imported products.
Charcuterie has been used widely in Italian cooking for generations – It now appears extensively on British Menus both at home, and in restaurants, as such, it has become a staple product in your Deli counter. However, as a quality retailer, your primary choice when filling this space has had to be from imported products. Until now! Tempus is the ideal British substitute for common European salumi.

Low food miles

OK, linked to the fact that the products are 100% British, but worth a specific mention, as the proximity of the farms supplying Tempus definitely ticks the box for Low Food-Miles. Moreover, as the trend towards local continues to grow (often a prerequisite to your license as an independent retailer) – this is a great USP, for a deli counter product that’s traditionally travelled halfway across Europe.

Multi-Award winning

Always a winner amongst consumers looking for those badges to give them a steer on which product option to choose. So as proven, from the very beginning, the team at Tempus know how to create award-winning products – and I for one am confidently predicting a growing arsenal of accolades in the months, and years to come.

9. POS & Merchandising

Retail packaging available

Tempus products are available in vacuum-packed retail packs, which extend shelf life and cut waste. They make it easier to purchase in volume, do not require slicing machinery and achieve a minimum margin.


On their way! Watch out for posts coming soon of Tom and Dhruv’s MasterChef recipes for the home or commercial kitchen.

Tastings & samples

Ask for tasting allowances when you order.

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