British meat will hopefully take pride of place on more
plates following the British Meat Chefs Summit.
Tessa Gates reports
CHEFS, we need your help. Beef is back to where it was before BSE but we are struggling with lamb and pork and need to stimulate sales, Meat and Livestock Commission chairman Peter Barr told the 450 chefs and caterers gathered in London for the British Meat Chefs Summit.
"On the Continent chefs and the catering industry are bemoaning the fact that they cant get British lamb, which is probably the best in the world. It is cheap at home – take advantage of it," he urged.
It gets more important each year to persuade chefs and caterers to use British meat. Eating outside of the home accounts for 31p of every £1 spent on food and this is forecast to rise to 50p of each £1 in the next two decades.
"UK trends tend to follow those of the US more closely than those in the rest of Europe and the spend there is 55 cents in the dollar," said MLC marketing director Richard Lowe.
"The gap between everyday and gourmet eating is closing," he continued. Balance and moderation are in; fat-free is out, The move is to positive (inclusive) eating rather than negative (avoidance). Stars like Jennifer Anniston and Madonna are singing the praises of protein-rich foods.
"Freshness is the most important trend of the next decade."
* Country of origin
People want to know where their meat comes from and surveys show 60-70% would like to see the country of origin stated on everything from sandwiches to menus. Yet a survey of catering managers showed that less than half knew the country of origin of the meat they were supplied with, possibly because they had no say in buying it.
Export bans have left us with 30% more lamb to sell and 20,000 tonnes of pork – mostly forequarter meat. To encourage the use of cheaper cuts of lamb and pork, MLCs Dick Van Leeuwen showed innovative cutting techniques for forequarter of pork and lamb shoulder. Then three top chefs – Anton Edelmann of the Savoy, Michael Caines, holder of two Michelin stars at Gidleigh Park, Devon, and Gordon Ramsay, who has his own restaurants – produced wonderful dishes fit for the most refined of palates from cheaper cuts. But they could not resist adding one or two dearer cuts, too.
Edelmann stuffed pigs trotters with smoked hock and served them with pigs cheek, pork loin, pea puree and olive oil mashed potato containing chopped black pudding, apple and chives. His lamb dish was neck, braised for four hours at 120C served with couscous containing almonds and lambs kidney served with grilled vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes.
* Well hung pork
Caines roasted best end of lamb with a kidney, celeriac, carrot and courgette farce (stuffing) and cooked brochettes of pork which had been marinated in honey and spices. He likes pork to be hung for at least seven days.
Ramsay braised marinated belly of pork for four to five hours, rolled, rested, sliced and coated it in spiced flour and fried it to serve with langoustines brushed with lobster coral set on a light veloute of horseradish. His shoulder of lamb was made into a confit in goose fat, pressed and left overnight then cut into squares. These were fried until crisp, glazed with lamb jus and served topped with spinach and a few slices of best end of lamb served with pomme puree and vegetables.
For the many young caterers in the audience, it was a lesson in how to cook budget cuts with top class flair.
Kindest cut: Dick Van Leeuwen showed ways to present shoulders of lamb and pork.
Anton Edelmann (above left) assisted by Rhodri Williams.