12 July 1999
TV fish chef wins meat award

By FWi staff

ONE of the countrys most highly sought after catering prizes, which was sponsored this year by British Meat, has been won – by a fish restaurant.

Catering and Hotelkeeper magazines 1999 Chef Award was given to TV celebrity chef Rick Stein, proprietor of the Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall.

Mr Stein is author of the best-selling recipe book Taste of the Sea, believed by many to have sparked Britains increasingly passionate love affair with seafood.

Judges said that Mr Stein, who is a self-taught expert on fish, stood out from other cooks as a “shining example of the craft of a chef” and “a true chefs chef”.

But the presentation of a British Meat sponsored award to a chef so closely associated with seafood is likely to dismay many hard-pressed livestock farmers.

Sales of traditional beef might be back to pre-BSE levels but even the National Beef Association admits that overall long-term consumption is declining.

Instead, consumers are buying more white meats such as poultry and fish – neither of which fall within British Meats remit to promote pork, lamb and beef.

A spokesman for the Meat and Livestock Commission, which is the parent-body of British Meat, said there were no regrets about sponsoring the event.

“Rick Stein does own a fish restaurant but is known for a wide range of cooking as he will be demonstrating over the next year when he helps us promote British pork,” he said.

The organisations sponsorship of the award, which was made at a lavish dinner at Londons Grosvenor House Hotel, is said to be worth around £20,000.

About 900 eminent members of the catering industry at the award ceremony were served filet mignon of pork produced by Bowes of Norfolk to Freedom Foods standards.