‘Farm to Plate’ day proves to be a real eye opener for chefs

09/06/2009 - 00:00
Quality, provenance, animal welfare and price; these are all important criteria for chefs when it comes to putting meat on the menu.

So too for farmers that supply the foodservice market, which is why catering butcher Owen Taylor brought the two together to develop a greater understanding between each end of the supply chain. The special 'farm to plate' day, held in Morley, Derbyshire, drew over 50 guests, including head chefs and proprietors of hotels, pubs and restaurants from the region. They visited one of Owen Taylor's select farmers before attending a butchery master class hosted by EBLEX. Richard Taylor, third generation butcher and managing director of Owen Taylor said: "Chefs demand quality, consistency and, particularly in the current climate, value. The aim of the day was to show what it takes to produce quality meat and how we can all work together for mutual benefit. After all, good quality meat has to be reared correctly, properly matured and expertly prepared." James Chamberlain of Glebe Farm, Shardlow, a supplier of Quality Standard beef and lamb to Owen Taylor agreed. His cattle reach maximum growth thanks to the right feeding system and level of care. James told the chefs: "Lifestyle is everything; the animals are kept naturally and handled calmly, ensuring they are as stress free as possible. This careful regime produces consistently tender and flavoursome meat. "It is crucial chefs understand these factors can result in different cooking and eating qualities and that is why it is important to source meat from an assured supply chain." This point was re-iterated by EBLEX in a series of presentations that followed. Its Quality Standard scheme is the only one of its kind to address eating quality and each stage of the chain is fully audited to ensure the beef and lamb is succulent, tender and of a consistent quality every time. With the current economic climate in mind, EBLEX's master butcher Dick van Leeuwen also demonstrated a range of innovative, quality steak cuts to help chefs contain costs, maximise opportunities and maintain customer satisfaction. This was of great benefit, as one local chef said: "Quality is vital but there is a limit to what we can charge so getting added value from alternative cuts is a good way to maximise profits and keep customers happy." Others guests praised the informative day. Terry Pownall, owner of the Little John Inn in Hathersage said: "We learnt a hell of a lot! It was a real eye opener for me and something I'd send all my staff to if I could." Head chef Lee Wright added: "It was a great day and certainly useful to meet the farmer. Consistency is everything and you can't afford to make assumptions when it comes to meat quality." Leroy Allen from Nottingham-based The Woollaton said: "It was an extremely valuable exercise, particularly learning about the history and welfare of the animals. We promote provenance on our menus wherever possible and believe it showcases our commitment to sourcing local, quality produce as well as giving customers the information they want to know." Richard Taylor was delighted with the day's success. "It was the first 'farm to plate' day we've held and the feedback has been hugely encouraging, so much so that we may look at holding another event next year," he said. "It's not just about building confidence in the chain, we've also encouraged greater communication in terms of ensuring our chefs are getting the right products to suit their needs and those of their customers."

Copyright 2019 Public Sector Catering
Dewberry Redpoint Limited is a company Registered in England and Wales No : 03129594 Registered Office:
Riverbridge House, Anchor Boulevard, Crossways Business Park, Dartford, DA2 6SL VAT registered, number 305 8752 95.

Design & Development by Eton Digital