Matthew’s Preserved was born out of my love of making chutneys and jams. This is the feel good story that most people would want me to say and expect those listening to understand.
For me it didn’t come about like this. I was an Environmental and Waste Manager and had been for seven years when my world collapsed around me. My mental health went to an all time low, causing my work life to falter, my relationships to waver and in May 2018, I had to walk away from it all.
Life is hard when you don’t know what to do with it. Life is harder when everything you have stood for suddenly means nothing. I was completely washed up, with no direction or determination to get out of the hole which was enveloping around me.
My mental health issues were not a new thing, having suffered from depression, anxiety, low self esteem and a little OCD thrown into the mix for most of my life, I thought I had combated them by ploughing head on into my career. Staving off the emotions by burning the candle at both ends. Very active on one side and career minded on the other. It shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise that both wicks were extinguished at the same time. 2018 would be the year that everything came to a head and I didn’t have anymore tricks up my sleeve to combat it.
Devoid of ideas, with every ounce of energy taken away, I was left a shell of a man throughout the summer and into the autumn months. So how did I get from there to here? With the love and support of those around me. I never had any intention to sell my preserves.
It was an idea that my partner Lisa (now wife) came up with to try and give me some direction. This was then championed by my sisters and mum but something inside of me said no and I resisted, clearly not ready.
My preserves were the one thing in that year of despair that I still managed to do. It gave me something to do on those endless days sitting at home. It also allowed me start creating and it’s when I first penned my chutney creations having previously just thrown ingredients in. The Spicy Pineapple Chutney recipe was created which gave me something I was proud of when before there was just self loathing and hate.
It wasn’t until early October 2018 when I was sitting in the Jobcentre signing on, that I saw a poster of Levi Roots behind the administrator, championing the New Enterprise Allowance. Remembering what was said about selling my preserves, I thought “Sod it, let me have a go at this then, I have nothing to lose”, and Matthew’s Preserves was born!