A group of nine Scottish chefs got the opportunity to discover how quality Scotch Lamb PGI is produced, from farm to fork.
The journey, organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Savour St Andrews, is part of a range of activities taking place in the run up to St Andrew’s Day which will celebrate the very best of local and Scottish produce.
The chefs, from in and around Fife, including students from Fife College, met at the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, St Andrews, then travelled to nearby Balmonth Farm near Anstruther to learn more about the natural production of Scotch Lamb PGI.
Host farmers Carole and Ian Brunton provided a farm tour, sharing their knowledge and experience of sheep farming at Balmonth for more than 60 years. They highlighted the dedication, care and stockmanship skills behind the production of Scotch Lamb PGI as well as the importance of quality assurance and the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) status.
“We are tremendously proud to produce the highest quality Scotch Lamb PGI which is renowned across the globe for its quality and flavour. To carry the Scotch Lamb PGI logo, the animal must have been reared in Scotland for the whole of its life and to very highest standards,” said Mrs Brunton.
“It was a pleasure to have the chefs visit Balmonth Farm. I hope our tour has given them some insight into the production of Scotch Lamb and will give them further insight into the challenges of the farming industry.
“I’m sure that with their new understanding of the industry, they will take even more pride in preparing and serving Scotch Lamb to their customers and have a fuller appreciation of the farm to fork journey.”
The chefs also travelled to Balgove Larder, near St Andrews to take part in a butchery skills demonstration.
Head Butcher at Balgove Larder, James Lothian, demonstrated the art of breaking down a Scotch Lamb, reared at Balgove’s home farm, Strathtyrum Farm.
“We are delighted to have been invited by QMS to provide a butchery demonstration for the chefs so they could get some hands-on experience of preparing different cuts of beef,” said Mr Lothian.
“It’s been a great day and getting onto a farm and learning about the natural production and processing of Scotch Lamb is something that every chef should experience.”
As part of the experience, the chefs enjoyed a four course Scotch Lamb dinner at the Old Course Hotel, a member of Quality Meat Scotland’s Scotch Butchers Club, where they met Executive Chef Martin Hollis.
The group of chefs enjoyed an amuse bouche of spiced Scotch Lamb burger, fries and raita followed by a starter of confit lamb shoulder cottage pie and a main course of Scotch Lamb loin, braised lamb neck, stuffed braised cabbage and truffled pommes Anna. The meal was rounded off with dessert of hot chocolate fondant and Fife raspberry sorbet.
Ruth McClean, Corporate Communications Manager at QMS, said: “The chef’s learning journey has been a fantastic opportunity for chefs in the Fife area to get out of the kitchen and onto the farm, giving them a stronger understanding and appreciation of the care and attention involved in Scotch Lamb production from farm to fork.
“Scotch Lamb PGI is delicious, simple to cook and perfect for a hearty meal at this cold time of year, making it the ideal choice for St Andrew’s Day celebrations around the country.”
Savour St Andrews’ Co-ordinator Viv Collie: “Over the past few years the events have provided a fabulous opportunity for chefs, and for professional cookery students about to embark on a career in hospitality.
“Income from the St Andrew’s Day Dinner, where the main course this year will be Scotch Lamb, will again be used to provide bursaries for students at Fife College and the SRUC Elmwood Campus in Cupar.”
For more information, inspiration and delicious Scotch Lamb PGI recipes visit www.ScotchKitchen.com or visit us on Facebook and Twitter @ScotchKitchen.