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Bringing forgotten quarter to the fore

London restaurateurs were reintroduced to the sometimes forgotten forequarter in a bid to show them that top quality beef can be a good value part of any menu.

Quality Meat Scotland hosted the event for Scotch Beef Club patron HRH The Princess Royal and club members from throughout the south-east at the historic Butchers Hall in London. It was aimed at showing how use of better value and overlooked cuts will ensure that you can continue to put top quality Scotch Beef on the best restaurant menus.

Acclaimed Scottish butcher Jonathan Honeyman, gave an overview of the importance of working with the natural muscle structure of meat to ensure consistency, and cuts that are high in flavour and tenderness.

To whet  the appetite of the guests, U K Chef of the Year  Simon Hulstone from the Michelin starred The Elephant in Torquay, cooked a lunch recreating the dishes he prepared for the culinary Grand Prix Bocuse D’or earlier this year.

Margaret Stewart, who manages the Scotch Beef Club said: “This seminar is about saving some of these fantastic cuts from the mincer and showing that using these techniques is a great way of surprising and delighting their customers.

“Better use of the forequarter is good news for everyone in the meat production chain. For farmers and butchers it means better use of the whole carcase, enabling them to sell the whole animal, ensuring more even distribution of value and less reliance on the fillet and sirloin.

“For restaurateurs, it enables them to have top quality fully assured Scotch Beef on their menus, and offer their diners incredibly tasty, imaginative dishes that are great on taste and not too heavy on costs.”

The cuts used in the demo were the shin, specifically from the forequarter, rather than the hind, featherblade and leg of mutton cut.

Jonathan also demonstrated the differences between traditional methods of butchery and new techniques aimed at producing smaller, more easily managed portions which can deliver consistency due to the complete removal the nerves and connective tissue that make meat tough.

Margaret said: “The chefs will also be shown new ways of using trim from prime cuts such as the rib roast and old fashioned favourites like bone marrow.

“Serving rib eye on the bone as rib eye cutlets, can add interest to the ever popular cut, and meat from between the bones, the intercostal muscles, can be used as part of tasty combination dishes.

“Terminology too can make a difference, in certain circumstances customers may be swayed by more romantic French names.  Pavé certainly sounds better than its literal translation – paving stone or door step!

“Regardless of the name, we were aiming to show that all these cuts can be used in high class dishes, not just mince and sausages. Every part of Scotch Beef is reared and prepared to the same high standards, and we’d love to see more of the forequarter on the menu, not in the mincer.”