Around 50 Scottish chefs have this month taken part in a series of workshops run by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) to encourage them to re-discover unusual steak cuts.
The workshops, which were open to members of the Scotch Beef Club, were held in Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, Perth and Inverurie. Among the range of topics covered were the importance of asking for the correct product specification to ensure chefs get exactly what they want. The value of building a strong relationship with their butcher was also highlighted, to help chefs make the most of the Scotch beef they are purchasing.
Master butcher Viv Harvey demonstrated a range of alternative cuts from Featherblade, which is a forequarter cut traditionally used for braising, to D Rump, a large cut from the top of the leg and rump comprised of at least five muscles, of varying tenderness.
Mr Harvey showed how these cuts, with knowledge and skill, can make delicious steaks provided the right butchery and preparation techniques are used. The chefs then had the opportunity to take part in the hands-on practical session to try out the new skills they had been shown.
Margaret Stewart, Marketing Manager with QMS, said the dual aim of the series of workshops had been to reinforce the message about what makes Scotch Beef special and to encourage chefs to think more about the meat products they choose.
“By using innovative techniques, such as the skills Viv has been demonstrating to the chefs this week, it is possible to make the most of every single cut that comes from a carcase.
“It is important to remember that every part of a carcase, which qualifies to be sold as Scotch Beef, shares the same quality assurance. This covers the animal from birth to slaughter and the animal must also have been born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland.”
The chefs were able to see cattle being sold through the auction ring at Thainstone market today (April 25th) which, said Mrs Stewart, gave them a keen sense of how the different types of cattle is reflected in the beef produced.
“This helped to being sharply into focus the many links in the supply chain and the scope to influence the quality of the beef before it reaches the restaurant table,” added Mrs Stewart.
QMS has also launched a new Scotch Beef steak guide which pictures prime cuts of meat and details the texture, flavour and characteristics of each steak. The guide will be distributed to every Scotch Beef Club member in the coming weeks.
Caption: Master butcher, Viv Harvey, demonstrated a range of skills to Aberdeenshire-based chefs who gathered at Thainstone Agricultural Centre for the final workshop in the programme.