Three Questions:The Casing Boutique director, Nicholas van der Wel
The Casing Boutique is the Australian outpost of a family owned animal intestines company established in New Zealand in 1999. From here, the restaurant and food industry as well as the home cook foodie purchase some of the best cleaned sausage skins in the world.
How did it all start? Injured and facing a year of surgery and rehab, rugby player and recent commerce graduate Nicholas van der Wel took the opportunity to have a hard look at his future. It was around the time of the GFC, his partner was working in Sydney and Nicholas was beginning to have his doubts about a career in the crumbling financial world.
Always enthusiastic about the food industry, Nicholas used his year of re-habilitation to help his father's business Pacific Casings Limited New Zealand, launch online through the creation of a website that was packed with information and images about the product. This co-incided with the beginning of an era of transparency; of restaurants providing diners information about where their produce was coming from. Chefs were starting to really look seriously into the finer quality ingredients, and it spoke to the ethos of what Nicholas was planning.
When Nicholas left the world of finance, he joined his partner in Sydney, and decided to make a go of launching the family skins business with his own particular plan.
Searching out chefs who cared about the product as much as he did, Nicholas got his initial breaks from chef Nic Wong at the popular Apollo and Cho Cho San restaurants, and on the central coast with Saratoga Quality Meats owner, Rob Kay. Drawing up a compelling business plan, the bank came through with the loan for his space, and architect partner Adele McNab was recruited to transform the Marrickville building.
Today, The Casing Boutique supplies to top restaurants around the country. More recently, yet another outpost has opened in the UK, with van der Wel sister heading up that distribution and management.
When I saw him recently, I asked Nicholas how things were going in the industry. It sounds like sausages are definitely a comfort food during the lockdown, and the Casing Boutique is busier than ever.
I asked Nick our Three Questions:
1.Secret naughty food obsession?
I’m not sure it’s entirely a secret anymore….but anything that contains chocolate which includes but is not certainly not limited to, Haigh’s Crunchie Chocolate Block, Nutie’s Rocky Road, or a Speak Easy Dark Chocolate Souffle on a cold evening. I was allergic to chocolate up until my early teens so I’m making up for lost time!
2.Best thing you ate most recently?
A Porteno at Home dinner the weekend before my partner gave birth during the Covid lockdown period. The thought of the Beef Ragout Lasagne, Charcoal Chicken and Mojo Verde still makes me salivate while writing this.
3.Never fail pantry ingredients?
A Cajun seasoning mix. When I need flavour and I’m lacking ideas this little gem always delivers.
The Casing Boutique
18/49 Carrington Road
Marrickville, Sydney 2204
Ph: +61 1800606170