Gate to Plate tour with Beef + Lamb ambassador chefs
Posted on Wednesday, 21 December 2022
We recently welcomed Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chefs to Christchurch to take them on the journey our beef and lamb takes from the gate to plate. It was an experience that enriched their knowledge of the process that goes into creating the finest produce that chefs love to use to curate their menus.
The first stop was Winchmore Farm situated on the Canterbury Plains, which is a 220ha fully irrigated livestock finishing farm whose primary focus is the supply of 100% grass-fed antibiotic-free beef and lamb for the international and domestic market.
Managers Hayden and Luke gave the chefs an overview of the farming practices they use including feeding, management of animal health and sustainability.
The chefs were impressed with the size and scale of the farming operation and seeing the care the farmers put into their animals, from the different types of feed and rotation of paddocks, through to the day-to-day effort they put in. It resonated well and showed just how important growing a quality product is to them.
MacLean Fraser has been a chef for over 18 years and said “we are all part of a connected story with chefs being the final part before the guests get to enjoy the beef and lamb, so meeting the farmers and learning their part of the story is important. To learn about the care and attention the beef and lamb receive to keep them in optimal health was interesting and reassuring that the end result is quality product for us to use on our menus.”
That same care and attention was also evident at the next port of call, ANZCO Foods Canterbury sheep and beef processing plant in Ashburton. Being ANZCO’s largest plant in the country, it’s meticulously run with a team of dedicated staff. It was fantastic to see the precision and care each animal receives right through the processing chain.
Andrew May has been a chef for over 20 years and is co-owner and operator of Amayjen The Restaurant in Manawatū. He says, “we see the animals in the paddock and then the box of product turns up at our restaurant, so we don’t normally see the middle process. Seeing the skill of the workers and how quickly and safely they worked was amazing. It was reassuring to see the animals being treated with respect and how there was no wastage with a use for every part of the animal.”
The plant tour was also a chance to get up close to inspect the marbling and quality of the meat which is so important to chefs who like the reassurance that they will be cooking with quality products.
Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chefs inspecting products at the ANZCO Foods Canterbury beef and sheep processing plant in Ashburton. Photo courtesy of ANZCO Foods.
All the chefs agreed that what they are looking for is product that is tender and flavoursome with good marbling. To know that product has been humanely and ethically treated from the paddock and through the processing plant was reassuring.
That quality was evident the following day when each chef sharpened their knives and set about cooking a signature dish demonstrating their skill and creativity in the kitchen. The cuts the chefs cooked with were lamb rump, lamb shoulder, beef rump and beef fillet. Each chef demonstrated different techniques using accompaniments that enhanced the flavour and quality of the beef and lamb they were working with.
With a lot of focus now on the ‘gate to plate’ journey within our food industry and knowing New Zealand farmers have some of the best practices in the world, it was an invaluable experience to be out in the paddock chatting to the farmers in real time. The addition of the plant visit was informative and an added experience which most chefs don’t get the chance to see. The overall experience provided by ANZCO Foods added to the pride that the Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chefs have for cooking with New Zealand beef and lamb.
We captured the chef's journey from gate to plate which can be viewed here: ANZCO Foods Gate to Plate Journey with Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chefs.