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What Makes Great Sauces – Behind the Scenes

Rick Sheepshanks (Founder & MD) is a man with several heartfelt missions: Family, Staff, Customers, Great Sauces, and Rescue Animals. Stokes’ sauces are created in the grounds of Rendlesham Hall near Woodbridge, rural Suffolk. This is a little peek ‘Behind the Scenes’. Enjoy.


Rendlesham Hall


The original hall changed faces a number of times, first built in 1780 and rebuilt after a fire in 1830. It became a sanatorium in 1921 and a much-needed refuge for British soldiers recovering from injuries in Europe.

Now, just one wall looks over The Old Stables, home to inspiration, passion – and great sauces.

The Best of the Best


Sauces, Mayonnaise, Relishes, Chutney and Preserves are all developed by us to oue own unique recipes and made here, on site, at The Old Stables, Rendlesham Hall, Suffolk.

The mission to create FOOD MADE BETTER came from Rick’s love of simple, honest food – but good food that tastes great (often with a little help) and makes the whole family smile.

For Rick “the best available sauces just weren’t quite good enough”, so he and select group of fellow taste afficionados set about making what he naturally considers to be ‘the best’.

Made with Love & British Pride


“If ‘traditional methods’ weren’t good enough, we had to challenge convention, put a twist on the classics, step beyond the ‘mere ordinary’ to create ‘extraordinary’ “, he said.

By developing precious home-grown recipes; sourcing the finest ingredients (no compromise); and supporting kitchen teams with technology and technique, Stokes feel they have achieved that crucial difference.

Each staff member shares the same passion for quality, they care for the sauces they make. Skills are gained through an intensive process of training and mentoring. It takes great experience to know just when the red onions have caramelised to the perfect intensity for Stokes Red Onion Marmalade.

Knowing eyes watch the blackcurrants simmer until just the right moment to become Stokes Extra Blackcurrant Jam.

There is clearly a great pride throughout, and why not.

Talk to the Animals


It is impossible not to smile as you arrive, to be heralded by a chorus of rare breed sheep, cattle and peacocks. Hens and chicks of all colours, shapes and size scurry about the place.

Curious goats run to the fence so see what’s going on, free from all worries, though rather confused by the antics of their rare breed forklift neighbours.

Rick again: “We care about our people and, unusually, our animals and the planet we share.

The walled gardens behind the Old Stables are home to a growing menagerie of pigs, sheep, peacocks, hens, geese; rheas and emus, cats and dogs; Bennett’s wallabies, cattle and goats all happily sharing their peaceful new lives having been rescued to the sanctuary of Rendlesham.

… It’s a great place to make great sauces too.”

Our Planet is Precious


As well as Quality & Taste, Stokes Sauces are worthy advocates of ‘Responsibility’, both social and environmental responsibility. With zero carbon, zero to waste, renewable energy, and EV business vehicle policies they have already won net carbon awards.

“It’s not about awards,” challenges Rick, “it’s about the environment. We only get one chance and our planet is a precious gift we have no right to squander.”

Stokes Sauces carry A Grade BRC Food Safety Certificate, which is a credit to our quality control and part of the reason you will be assured of consistent quality and service each time we process, check and deliver your order.

From the humble chip to chef’s signature seafood platter, Stokes fine-tunes the finish with a refined dollop of excellence.

A final word from Rick – a visionary statement:

We continue to build a dedicated team, people focused with enjoyment and pride, creating the best-tasting sauces, bringing smiles to the faces, of the consumer communities such quality attracts.”


Thank you.