17th September 2010

Top French chef wowed by Scotch Lamb

One of the world’s top chefs has congratulated Scottish sheep farmers for the hard work and commitment which goes into the production of Scotch Lamb.

During a visit to Aberdeenshire, Jerome Jaegle, the French chef who will represent his country in the world culinary championships known as Bocuse D’or, said he was very impressed with what he saw.

Scotland’s produce will be centre stage at the prestigious event, named after the father of nouvelle cuisine, Paul Bocuse, following the selection of Scotch Lamb and Scottish monkfish, crab and langoustine as the official ingredients for the competition.

Mr Jaegle, head chef at the Michelin-starred Tetdoir restaurant in Lyon, will represent his home country against 23 other culinary masters at the biennial Bocuse D’or competition in January.

As part of a his tour of the north east Mr Jaegle visited Wellhead farm, Huntly and met John Gordon who runs around 800 breeding ewes – primarily Scotch Mule and Greyface.

“It would be nice to be a lamb in Scotland!,” said Mr Jaegle after a tour of the farm and opportunity to view a very different, more extensive production process to that he had seen in France.

“The farmers here are working very hard to ensure their meat is of a high quality and they are producing lambs in a way which is about their wellbeing,” said Mr Jaegle.

He also visited HM Sheridan butchers at Ballater and Inverurie-based meat processor, Scotch Premier and langoustine processor, Braehead SFO at Fraserburgh.

Taking part in the competition has been a lifetime ambition for the chef, who has dreamed of being a finalist since he was four years old and attended as a spectator from age 16.

He’s now taking the inspiration gained from his first ever visit to Scotland tour back to a special replica kitchen which has been created for him and is a millimetre by millimetre exact copy of the one he will be presented with in the competition in January. He has given up his job and, together with his two assistants, will concentrate on training day in day out until the competition starts.

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.

“To have the Scottish industry supplying the meat for such an esteemed event is a great opportunity to give some of the world’s top chefs experience of the quality and taste of Scotch Lamb.

“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.”

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