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Danny Lidgate imparts advice as the gloves go on...
Forty keen cooks joined us over
the course of the day to be tutored by fifth-generation butcher extraordinaire
Danny Lidgate, head of the famousLidgate’sbutchers of Holland Park. What this
man doesn’t know about cutting up meat is really not worth knowing. Danny
kicked things off by dividing an enormous rump of beef into its constituent
parts, explaining all about muscle fibres, sinews and why fat is so very, very
good. He explained wet-ageing vs dry-ageing (dry wins hands-down), and
grain-fed vs grass-fed (it’s got to be grass-fed for us).
Next on the butcher’s block was a half-carcass of lamb that Danny
jointed with exacting skill. After a brief Q&A session, in which the boys
in the audience displayed a somewhat morbid fascination with the workings of an
abattoir (who knew that some lucky cattle go to meet their maker to the strains
of a string quartet?!), attendees were let loose on their own leg of lamb,
which Danny taught them to butterfly.
The boys were rather pleased with their very sharp knives!
Seeing how people reacted to the
satisfaction that comes from using a sharp knife to expertly cut a joint of
meat made me sad that this sort of thing isn’t taught in schools – but I was
really pleased to see so much enthusiasm and willingness to learn. One of the
comments I heard most often was how great it was to be able to have some
knowledge to go into a butcher’s with. I think the reason why many people
favour pre-packed meat is that they’re intimidated by having to ask a butcher
for a specific cut or preparation – they’re afraid they’ll get it wrong. After
just a morning’s tutoring, the students I spoke to were much more confident,
and looking forward to using their new skills.
After a few cooking tips from me aboutways to cook their beautiful legs of lamb,
our guests left full of plans for enjoying the fruits of their labours – and
all for £25. Comparing that to, say, £150 for a morning’s tuition at one of
London’s top butchers, I think we might be onto something special. Keep
checkingdelicious.magazine for similar events in future
– we have ideas afoot…