A trip to meet some of the people behind the Scotch Lamb industry has left one of Europe’s top chefs hugely impressed with the quality of the product and the natural, welfare-friendly manner in which it is produced.
During a visit to Scotland, Marco Poldervaart, the Dutch chef who will be competing in the finals of Bocuse d’Or, the world’s culinary championships, said he was amazed at how natural the environment is in which the lambs are reared.
Scotch Lamb is one of the main ingredients the world’s top chefs will be working with at the Bocuse d’Or finals in Lyon next week. With Scottish seafood also on the menu the event offers a fabulous platform for top quality Scottish produce during Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink.
The Dutch finalist’s fact-finding and inspirational visit to Scotland included a trip to Fife where he spent time with sheep producer George Milne who runs 220 North Country Cheviot ewes and 40 Beltex cross ewes at Kinaldy, near St Andrews.
The 39 year old Dutch finalist, who is head chef at De Gastronoom, also had a butchery demonstration from David Smith of Hendersons of Glenrothes and a cooking session using Bocuse d’Or ingredients with Geoff Smeddle, chef and owner of The Peat Inn, near St Andrews.
“This was my first visit to Scotland and it was great to see lambs in their natural environment. It was amazing to see just how much space these lambs have – very different to the situation in the Netherlands.
“We are practising a great deal at the moment with Scotch Lamb which is really top quality with an excellent, pure taste,” said Mr Poldervaart.
George Milne, National Sheep Association Development Officer, described Bocuse d’Or as a “fantastic opportunity for the Scottish sheep industry”.
“Export markets are extremely important to our industry and this opportunity to showcase the world-class quality of Scotch Lamb will doubtless help to open up new markets for us,” said Mr Milne.
Laurent Vernet, Quality Meat Scotland’s Head of Marketing, outlined the importance of the competition in raising the profile of Scotch Lamb on the global stage.
Bridge of Allan-based Scotbeef will be supplying the Scotch Lamb for the event with the majority of the lambs being sourced from Andrew Morton of Lochend Farm Denny and John More of Townhead Farm, Arnprior.
“Scotch Beef is recognised throughout the world as a top quality product and Bocuse d Or 2011 gives us a unique platform to showcase Scotch Lamb to a world-wide audience,” said Laurent Vernet, Head of Marketing, Quality Meat Scotland.
“The coveted Protected Geographical Indication status of Scotch Lamb already opens the door to the world of top restaurants for us, but enabling all these chefs to cook with our products is a great opportunity to highlight the contribution every part of our industry in makes to producing our world class lamb.”