Top celebrity chef Marco Pierre White has been signed up by Bernard Matthews Farms to raise the image of turkey with consumers.

His brief is to “move turkey further up the UK’s culinary agenda”, and the famous chef will act as its ambassador, working with the Norfolk company to champion turkey as a great-tasting and versatile meat, said a company spokesman.

The move will also help redeem the image of Bernard Matthews since its Turkey Twizzlers came under attack by another well-known chef, Jamie Oliver, during his campaign to improve school meals.

Mr White will be setting out to encourage people to move away from what the company refers to as the “turkey is just for Christmas” psyche and inspire consumers to cook with turkey all year round.

Later in the year he will be developing a new range of turkey products for the company.

Mr White said he was “honoured and privileged” to be working with Bernard Matthews, “to promote this great bird and put turkey back on menus across the UK. It really is an iconic British brand, based on one great man’s vision more than five decades ago.

“Ever since I was a young boy I’ve been an admirer of turkey and particularly Bernard Matthews, because he is without question one of the great farmers of the last five decades.

“Turkey is the nation’s favourite roast on the most important family day of the year, so why not all year round? Turkey has more flavour, more texture than chicken, but for many the only association with turkey is Christmas or Easter, which is down to tradition and nostalgia,” claimed Mr White.

“Consumers traditionally roast turkey but there are many other ways to prepare this majestically delicious bird. Through our joint collaboration, we wish to show the great British public how perfect the great bird is for today’s modern lifestyles – as it is versatile, healthy and affordable.”

Jeff Halliwell, Bernard Matthews Farms’ managing director, added:

“We are delighted to be working with a chef of Marco Pierre White’s calibre to help promote Bernard Matthews Farms and British turkey.

“Marco has an enthusiastic passion for food and he will be a great advocate for this great meat. This collaboration is part of our plan to grow the business for the future.

“We are investing in many new initiatives and innovative products that will help drive turkey consumption in the UK, which is only half that of countries like France or Italy – where turkey is a staple protein and integral part of everyday diets.”