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From working in the port of Southampton to being the messiah of ham in the United Kingdom: the incredible story of José Sol

2023-03-04T10:35:34.729Z


The Madrid entrepreneur is one of the great ambassadors of the Iberian pig and his presence is common in events as 'British' as ​​the Ascot races


On March 5, 2013, the Manchester United board decided to bet on a daring and convincing Spaniard who offered to cut quality Iberian ham in the VIP box at Old Trafford stadium.

What better way, he made them see, to welcome the visiting team, Real Madrid.

With goals from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo, the victory went to the whites, but also to José Sol (Madrid, 50 years old), who has become the club's official supplier and cutter ever since.

He has been called the “ham messiah” in Great Britain, and few people have done as much as he did to spread the excellence of ham from Iberian pigs to the English public.

Just a few months after setting foot in British territory as a representative of a ham company from Soria, with the mission of opening markets, the financial crisis collapsed the Spanish economy.

José, his wife Nana —his partner and ally of his all these years— and his two children stayed with one hand in front and the other behind, but also with the irresistible intuition that they had arrived in a country that invited them to eat the world

"It was very hard.

Talking about ham 13 years ago was very difficult.

In the UK

prosciutto

and Parma ham were known

.

I was the first to

promote exclusively

Iberian ham here, when the

boom

we are experiencing now did not exist, much less”, recalls José.

He had landed in Southampton, and held on to jobs at the city's port while he masterminded his business venture, and trademarked Spanish Ham Masters

.

The hackneyed saying that "good cloth is sold in the chest" has deceived many Spaniards who, as soon as they arrived in England, are astonished that the island has not yet unconditionally surrendered to Iberian ham, and is content with milder, sweeter Italian alternatives.

José Sol understood that it was not enough to vacuum pack a few slices and sneak them into a supermarket.

Just as the documentary

The Truffle Hunters

seduced the

world with those lonely Piedmont grandparents and their dogs, knowing the secret places in the forest where the coveted white Alba truffle is found, the London master ham maker knew that his product needed a story, an art exhibition and a staging.

The opportunity arose when a powerful British lawyer from the financial City allowed himself to be convinced by Sol to incorporate a ham cutter at his house-warming event.

With three months to spare, the businessman, who was still an amateur with the ham knife, returned to Spain to take all the necessary courses.

He returned to London as a professional cutter.

“I realize that it is a

show

, that people love it, that they want to stand by my side to take pictures”, he explains.

And he also understands that he must select very select hams for each occasion, from small companies, with a family component and a history that makes them unique.

Like caviar, white truffle or French champagne, Iberian ham must be at the pinnacle of excellence.

“We laugh a lot at the British, because their gastronomy was very poor, but they are enormously respectful of the product, more than ourselves.

And they are passionate about the history of that product,” he says.

Private events, cutting courses, tastings with wines or spirits.

José Sol is a classic in acts as British as the Royal Ascot races or the Chelsea flower festival, but before that he cut for Hombres G in his dressing room, before his concert in London, or introduced ham to the

Royal Albert Hall for the performance of David Bisbal.

Princes William and Harry have glued to their table to savor the freshly cut ham, and the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was also fascinated by the product.

Although perhaps the most striking story was that of the party in which José served Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino.

The film director kept asking him questions, as if he already imagined the cutter in a

Kill Bill 3

with his ham knife.

The ham messiah does not neglect the British market, but has already taken his exhibitions and cutting courses to the United States, Russia, South Korea and Australia.

By 2023, it has been proposed to jump to the conquest of China.

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Source: elparis

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