Our Work

British Turkey inspires Young Chefs

18 Mar, 2015

While turkey is a mainstay at Christmas it rarely makes an appearance on menus for the rest of the year.

British Turkey inspires Young ChefsBut if retailers are working creatively with turkey and figures show consumption is on the up then surely there is an opportunity for the catering sector to make more of this healthy meat.

Our research showed that caterers share the same misconception as consumers thinking turkey is dry and therefore difficult to cook. Consumers only expect to see turkey on the menu for Christmas or perhaps on offer in a carvery for the Sunday roast.

For FML the challenge was to change caterers perception of turkey meat and demonstrate why it should have a regular place on the menu. What better way to start than with the chefs of the future. So FML created the British Turkey Student Challenge and trialled it ahead of a national launch.

Working closely with a London college the competition criteria was agreed with the main aim of student engagement and participation.

What we did

British Turkey inspires Young ChefsCatering students were given an induction by a British turkey farmer into the history, husbandry and a review of the different breeds. There are over 40 different turkeys in the sector today. This was followed by an inspired chef’s demonstration utilising the dark and light meats. Several turkey recipes were presented giving catering students an insight into the versatility and great taste of turkey when it’s cooked correctly.

Suitably fired up, the students were then challenged to develop a starter using turkey thigh meat and a main course using turkey breast meat. The 10 shortlisted finalists went head to head in a cook-off to choose two students to cook at one of London’s top restaurants, The Globe.

The Prize

The winning dishes were the focal point of the menu at the annual British Turkey Awards dinner in September 2011 held at The Globe. The Awards are the most prestigious event in the turkey calendar and the time when producers, retailers, caterers and industry business partners come together. No pressure then for the two winners!

The winning chefs joined forces with The Globe chefs and took on the responsibility for prepping, cooking and serving the awards dinner in banqueting style for 250 covers. This was no mean feat. Following an outstanding meal the young chefs collected their award, presented by Anton du Beke to a standing ovation.

With the trial-run successfully completed the competition is set to roll out nationally in 2012. And as the students move into the workplace they do so with the knowledge that there is a place on the daily menu for deliciously succulent British turkey.

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