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Apr 20, 2023

British Beef Week with the UK's top chefs

Buying British beef; good for the planet, our farmers, and your taste buds. HG Walter talk to the UK's top chefs, about why British Beef is second to none.

Read it in 4 minutes

British Chefs | HG Walter Ltd

Buying British beef; good for the planet, our farmers, and your taste buds… but why is eating the produce from our own country so darn good? Since our founder, Peter Heanen, started this business 50 years ago, he has been on a mission to ensure that his customers have access to the most premium meat and 90% of the time, that just so happens to be British. First off, we have the grass; lush green, well-watered (that’ll be that long-bemoaned classic British weather), and fast-growing, our grass is second to none, and when chomped on by native breed cattle, that pasture goodness translates to the yellow fat covering and weaves of marbling that we pride ourselves on at HG Walter.

British rolled beef ribeye

Next, there is the good that local buying does for our farmers, which barely needs the explanation that supporting small farmers and local businesses of the UK has a seriously positive effect on our economy. Considering the fiscal turbulence brought on by the Covids and the Brexits of the last few years, it seems nonsensical that we should look elsewhere for our meat. Add the fact that the UK’s standards for animal welfare are some of the highest in the world,  and you marry economic growth with ethical reasoning.

In addition, we consider the environmental impact of buying British over exports. Supporting local farmers and those who are farming in the right way allows us to shorten our supply chain and significantly reduce food miles – distance from farm to abattoir, distance from farmer to farm and distance from abattoir to HG Walter all play crucial roles in lessening our carbon footprint. Our suppliers, in particular, have looked in recent years at local grains supplements for cattle feed for when the winter months batter our grasses. Locally milled oats and barley are a favourite and some of our farms even work with local distilleries to utilise their by-product.

Church Farm, Norfolk

To get an insight into what buying, cooking and eating British beef really means, we spoke to a few legendary chefs of the British cooking scene and some leading the next generation. See what they had to say below.

 

Oli Williamson, Ex-head chef at the Fat Duck and winner of The Roux Scholarship 2021

Oli Williamson, Ex-head chef at the Fat Duck and winner of The Roux Scholarship 2021 

Why British?

"Well, the beef we’ve had from you and the Irish beef in particular, is the best I’ve ever tasted, but it’s also about reducing food miles. If we can do that AND get a great product, we’re ticking all the boxes really. It’s also been amazing, talking with the guys at HG Walter recently and learning about how farmers are actually putting carbon back into the soil".

Favourite cut of meat, to cook at a restaurant and to cook at home?

"It has to be ribeye. That outer fat and marbling through the eye makes it just so good. We buy the whole rib at the Fat Duck and utilise the fat, bones, trim and intercostals, really celebrating the whole cut and using up the parts. At home, I’m afraid it’s got to be a ribeye on the bone, reverse seared on the BBQ and served with Bearnaise – you can’t beat it. Bavette and chips is also a close contender".

 

Neill Borthwick, Chef/proprietor at the French House, Soho

Neil Borthwick

Why British Beef?

"It’s got to be British beef – 100%. Watching documentaries and reading books that show the horrors of farming done the wrong way, Neil has realised the importance of buying locally, grass-fed beef that isn’t reliant on imported grains. ‘Working with HG Walter, you can see the quality of the products and how the butchers know exactly what they are doing… it makes my life so much easier – the quality is second to none".

Favourite cut of meat, to cook at a restaurant and to cook at home?

"It’s a tough one but I have to say ox cheek. They are absolutely delicious when braised in red wine, where they become sticky and gelatinous… I also always try to have a steak tartare on the menu – when it’s done well, it’s a great dish".

 

Jeremy Lee, Chef/proprietor of Quo Vadis

Jeremy Lee by Alexander Baxter

 Why British Beef?

"Gosh, more like why not!? Beef has always been one of the prides of the great British larder. We should be so proud of the extraordinary wealth of breeds that thrive in our great British Isles. Our amazing pastures give such a great quality that should be celebrated. It’s a wonder!"

Favourite cut of meat, to cook at a restaurant and to cook at home?

"Lordy, so many! I tend to prefer the so-called lesser cuts, so ox cheek, oxtail, calves’ liver, and then onglet, rump and shoulder cuts. And then if I’m having a roast… a rolled sirloin – good god. Cold roast beef in the summer, beautiful beef and kidney pies in the winter…"

 

Hearing it in the chefs' own words, it's apparent that the national pride we feel over our produce is in abundance. Long may British beef reign.

British Chefs | HG Walter Ltd