A group of nine chefs from Fife have enjoyed a fascinating day discovering what sets Scotch Lamb PGI apart and how it gets from field to fork.
The special learning journey, a joint initiative between Savour St Andrews and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), kicked off a raft of St Andrew’s Day festivities to celebrate the very best of Scotland’s larder.
The chefs met at the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, St Andrews then travelled to Kinaldy Farm, near St Andrews to learn more about Scotch Lamb PGI.
Host farmer George Milne, Development Officer of NSA Scotland, shared his experiences of farming in the area with the foodie fanatics. He highlighted the dedication, care and stockmanship skills behind the production of top quality Scotch Lamb PGI as well as the importance of quality assurance and the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) status.
“We are extremely proud of the Scotch Lamb PGI we produce. To carry the Scotch Lamb PGI logo, lamb must have been reared in Scotland to very high standards,” said Mr Milne.
“It was great to meet the chefs, give them some insight into production and inspire them about lamb and what a fantastic versatile product it is. I hope that with their new understanding of all that is behind Scotch Lamb, they will take even more pride in preparing and serving it to their customers,” he said.
The chefs also travelled to Fife College Leven Campus to take part in a butchery demonstration. Master butcher Stewart McClymont, from the Smiddy Butchery, Blair Drummond, demonstrated the art of breaking down a saddle of Scotch Lamb PGI.
The group then got a chance to butcher their own French trimmed rack of lamb and rolled lamb loin.
“I’m a huge Scotch Lamb fan and it was great to give the chefs a chance to get some hands-on experience of preparing different cuts of lamb which look top quality visually but are also packed with flavour for their customers,” said Stewart McClymont.
As part of the experience the chefs enjoyed a three course Scotch Lamb lunch at the Old Course Hotel, a member of Quality Meat Scotland’s Scotch Butchers Club, where they met executive chef Martin Hollis.
Martin created a lunch menu to showcase the versatility of the meat and highlight how to be adventurous with cheaper cuts.
The group of chefs enjoyed a starter of Epigram of Lamb Belly, black pudding and a deep fried poached egg hollandaise. This was followed by a “Trio of Lamb” main course which consisted of pave of Scotch Lamb herb, skewer of lamb offal pease pudding, braised lamb neck herb, crushed potatoes, parsley veloute, grilled leeks and honeyed parsnips.
Later in the month Martin will be joined by a host of top-ranking Scottish chefs for the Savour St Andrews dinner (30th November 2017). This will see around 120 discerning guests from across the country attend the five-star Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa and enjoy the main course of Scotch Lamb PGI.
Ciara Etherson, Marketing Executive, QMS said: “The chef’s journey has been fantastic opportunity to help chefs understand the care and attention involved in Scotch Lamb production from field to fork. Scotch Lamb PGI is delicious, simple to cook and very much in season at this time of year making it the ideal choice for St Andrew’s Day celebrations around the country.”
Savour St Andrews co-ordinator Viv Collie said that the learning journey had been organised as part of events leading up to St Andrew’s Day.
The feedback we had was excellent, and there really is an appetite in the hospitality business for this type of combination of a farm visit with hands-on practical experience in the kitchen.
“Many thanks to QMS, Fife College, George Milne, Martin Hollis and the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa for making it all possible.”
QMS is the public body responsible for promoting the PGI labelled Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb brands in the UK and abroad and also promoting Scottish pork products under the Specially Selected Pork logo.
Images by Alan Richardson show various stages in the learning journey