Leaving none to waste: the Goodwood Estate launches its first sustainable restaurant
In an article published earlier this year by The Guardian, readers were shocked to learn that UK householders scrap 34,000 tonnes of beef every year. We all know this is unacceptable, gluttonous habits with no means to an end whatsoever - so how are restaurants, if at all, tackling this growing problem. One group of men who determine and oversee the process of meat production from start to finish, have come together to try and change our perceptions of eating meat and significantly reduce the amount of it that's wasted in their kitchens.
This Thursday, the Goodwood Estate in Chichester, West Sussex will see its doors open to its latest culinary creation, a restaurant named 'Farmer, Butcher, Chef'. The restaurant's name indeed reflects the seamless process from farm to fork.
Farmer Tim with some of his Sussex-Red cows overlooking the Goodwood Racecourse
As well as boasting its own Hotel, Racecourse, Golf Course and Spa, Goodwood also take their food very seriously. Their green and luscious fields are home to healthy and happy cows, pigs and sheep scattered across the highlands of West Sussex. Their animals can roam about freely on their 'Home Farm' before being reared, put down and prepared for consumption in both their own restaurant and to some of the most prestigious hotels such as London's Ritz and newly opened Sky Garden.
Executive Chef Darron Bunn serving up a selection of mains from the menu
This award-winning trio made up of Farmer Tim Hassell (centre image), Butcher John Hearn, and Executive Chef Darron Bunn, have a stringent and unique relationship towards their work earning the restaurant its very own 'Green Mark', the first one to be awarded from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts for its sustainable food philosophy seal. At 'Farmer, Butcher, Chef', premium cuts of meat such as ribeye, rump or fillet steak are not really their thing; in fact they try as much as possible to broaden their offering of cuts based on similarity of taste, texture, flavour and bite.
The majority vote: the thinly sliced, breaded ox tongue
Instead, their thing is about getting the best yield of meat with what's viably possible.
The secret ingredient to their work, is based upon their specialised anatomical knowledge of their produce - this way, they can try and get as much out of their animals and leave as little to waste as possible. Their farms are organic and they also produce their own dairy such as cheese, milk and harvest crops for vegetables too. And delight in this tidbit of knowledge for a moment: the restaurant's guests will have travelled farther to get there then their food...
Appreciating the shoulder with chanterelle mushrooms and crayfish
On speaking about his work-life, Farmer Tim tells us that: 'We are doing what everyone portrays that they want to do - this is the first estate I've worked with that does it all'. In the last decade, growing concerns of meat wastage and animal cruelty for consumption has been spearheaded by a rapidly increasing movement of passionate vegetarians and vegans. Whether their reasons for converting are more health-related or environmentally fuelled, the remaining omnivores, placed in the frame of judgement but who still enjoy meat, have developed a need for transparency. This, I believe is what you get at 'Farmer, Butcher, Chef'.
The three men adopt an approach that is flexible and experimental rather than following recipes; kg by kg, ml by ml. Executive Chef Darron tells us that their ethos based on discovering what works and doesn't work 'separates a chef from a cook - and here, we're creating chefs.' But I was curious, as always with terms thrown around such as 'no waste' and 'sustainable'. The team try to use as much of the carcass as possible; but where do they draw a line?
A magical 'puffed-up' version of pork crackling with a wafer-like texture and slight smoky hints
One of their personal favourites is crispy pig-tails crumbed and deep-fried as snacks in the bar. Much like Japanese cooking, bones are kept for broths and stock and the thinly sliced and breaded ox-tongue (left) has been a massive hit. But they're not serving up tripe or throwing in a sheep's head just yet. I'd personally love to see some offal on their menu or a serving board that gets you out of your comfort zone, because really, here would be one of the few places I'd like to give it a go.
Between them in the restaurant's kitchen there's 180 years of experience and they've now started a 'Chef's Trainee Academy' in order to educate other young and passionate cooks. You don't have to be a guest at the hotel to eat at 'Farmer, Butcher, Chef'; they strongly welcome members of the public to eat with them and try a taste of their signature 'Butcher's Board'. This is a step in the right direction I'd say and although they're extremely lucky to have the Goodwood Estate to provide them with these specialist facilities on site, I believe we can all go that bit further to try and get as much out of our produce as possible; whether you're a butcher, cook, chef or someone who simply enjoys cooking at home.
To find out more about 'Farmer, Butcher Chef'
Telephone: 01243 755070
Address: Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0QB