Wales is lucky to have some of the world’s finest meat on the doorstep, according to top Welsh chef Luke Thomas.
Luke, famed for becoming Britain’s youngest head chef when he was just 18, believes that consumers in Wales need to take advantage of the fantastic Welsh meat produced by local farmers.
For St David’s Day, Porc.Wales spoke to Luke to find out why he thinks Welsh meat is so special.
“For me, the quality of Welsh meat stands out massively,” says Luke. “From my humble Welsh roots, I grew up eating Welsh Lamb at Easter and it was more of a treat than an Easter egg for me, the flavour is truly unbelievable. But while Wales is renowned for its lamb and beef, it’s also producing some fantastic pork too. You can taste the difference - it's special, the flavours stand out and it’s a quality product that is highly sought after.
“People living in Wales are lucky to have what I consider is some of the world’s finest meat on their doorstep – and need to take advantage of it – not only for the taste but to support local producers too.”
The Porc.Wales website was launched by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) to boost the innovative and growing Welsh pork industry and link consumers directly to local suppliers. The Welsh pork industry is typified by farms with smaller herds and traditional breeds. Welsh pig farmers also raise a variety of lesser known and rare breeds in Wales; from the Mangalista to the Oxford Sandy & Black along with our very own native Welsh pedigree – helping to produce great tasting, quality pork.
North Wales born Luke, now has four restaurant ventures including Luke’s Dining Room in Berkshire, Luke’s Eating House & Gin Rickey’s in Chester and Retro Feasts in both Mayfair and Dubai.
“The sourcing of produce is very much a huge part of being a chef but it’s becoming as equally important for consumers too,” Luke continued. “They’re increasingly looking to know where their meat comes from and ensure its well reared and cared for.
“Knowing the origin of your meat helps you understand its journey, allowing it to become traceable and ensure that it’s good quality. I don’t think mass produced pork from overseas can compare to locally sourced produce in Wales – both in terms of its flavour and in terms of the sustainability of reducing food miles and supporting local producers. I understand how in the modern world people struggle with time and mainly go to supermarkets but making a little extra effort to support the local farmers who are doing a fantastic job and keeping a real true part of Welsh history going is worth supporting – and you’ll be rewarded by taste.”
St David’s Day is a time we can celebrate being Welsh and what better way than to try a delicious new recipe while supporting local farmers. Luke’s favourite pork joints to cook with are shoulder and pork belly but this St David’s Day, Luke recommends slow roasting a shoulder of pork for a beautiful dish to share with family and friends.
“Take the whole shoulder and slow roast it with peppers, onions, rosemary and paprika,” describes Luke. “And you can add other spices to it depending on what flavours you like. After hours of slow cooking, shred the meat and finish with lemon and sour cream; delicious.”