Farmers follow their lambs to Auckland
Blair Thwaites (Barewood), Stu & Debbie Pankhurst (Glenone), Andrew Bendall (Lochar Downs) and Tim Burdon (Mt Burke) joined 13 leading chefs for a TE MANA LAMB lunch at Culprit restaurant in Auckland in late November.
“There’s already a culture of TE MANA LAMB farmers welcoming chefs on-farm – we wanted to turn the tables and experience TE MANA LAMB at their place,” Omega Lamb Project Manager Mike Tate said.
Blair Thwaites said there’s a lot that farmers can learn from chefs, and vice-versa.
“The chefs have a real appetite and passion for what we’re producing, and a big discussion point was increasing the range of TE MANA LAMB dishes, including lamb cheeks and offal.”
Andrew Bendall said he was struck by the quality of the relationships, the chefs’ passion and their creativity.
“Chefs of this quality aren’t easy to please and are often under the pump – their respect for Lyndon (TE MANA LAMB’s Lyndon Cleveland) was plain to see, as was their passion for TE MANA LAMB.
“You got an immediate sense we’re all on the same team and have a shared 24/7 approach to life.”
Andrew said he was also intrigued by how the chefs used TE MANA LAMB’s higher melting point to best effect.
“Whenever I see roast potatoes in duck fat at a restaurant I put my hand up. They used TE MANA LAMB in much the same way – it was fascinating to see them taking the best of Nana’s cooking into the future.”
Mike Tate said the chefs are also particularly interested in the role of chicory and in product consistency. “They understand you ‘are what you eat’ and want to dive deep into the technical aspects of the lambs’ nutrition.”